Sunday, October 28, 2012

ALL forms are up.

Yep, they sure are.  Took us less than a week at working a couple hours at night and all day Saturday and Sunday.  They went up really easy for the most part.  I was honestly surprised at how well everything fell into place with being square and straight.  I knew I could do it, but I expected more issues than this....I am sure they will come eventually. 

We had a great weekend to work.  Almost no wind, and the sun was out most all day on Saturday and Sunday.  One thing that made me happy was seeing the sun out.  The entire south elevation was being hit by sun most of the day as it went across the sky.  I look forward to when its all enclosed this winter without any heat.  The sun should manage to keep it well above freezing even when temps are near 0.

The engineer uses a jump wall (basically a concrete beam) to span the gap between the garage forms and the house forms.  This allows us to not have to step the footings down.  Pretty typical in this area.  I had to cut large openings through the steel corner and insert rebar through the corners to allow concrete to flow from the garage stem walls into the house walls and tie it all together.  It took a little time, but everything lined up nicely and worked well.

Looking east at the garage.  I need to make the garage door drop cut in the foam, about 1'.  The grade will need to be built up and slope all the way up.  It will use a lot of fill, but good thing there is a lot of it sitting around the house.  I will not have to pay to have it moved off site at least. 

We left these 2 panels out until we pour the wall to allow easy access into the basement.  It will take us less then 5 mins to get these in there, so well worth not having to climb through the windows.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Basement Forms up

making progress.  The Hobbs ICF forms are going up very quick.  The pictures I am posting are slightly outdated.  We managed to get the basement forms completed today and the garage squared and snapped out.  Tomorrow we will finish the garage forms and hopefully start setting ledgers in the basement.  Then we will start getting the final bracing in place and plumbing everything. 

The hardest part of the Hobbs forms is setting the strong backs to hold everything together tight, and this isn't even very hard.  The corners and window bucks are slightly time consuming, but I think after some more practice that will pick up too.  We can certainly get the panels up fast however once all of the prep work is done.

We did have a mishap on Thursday.  Strong windows blew the north wall partly down, and almost the entire west wall blew down.  Shannon, my dad and I worked in the strong winds and cold late into the night Thursday getting it back up and braced much better.  We could not leave it how it was obviously.  So that cost me a night.

This is the scene at night.  Lights are set up so we can work till 9 or so.

Since this picture, we have finished that entire south face. 

Will get up the garage forms in the morning.  They should go up really quick.  I need to build a jump wall to tie the garage wall to the house.  That will take some time however.

Here is the remaining foam for the upper level as well as the sub slab foam for below the basement.  2" of Formular 250 XPS will go below the basement slab, on top of 6 mill poly vapor barrier.  7" of rock was placed inside the house and around the Form a Drain.  This is a recipe for a nice warm, dry basement. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


We had 2 semi trucks deliver the foam today.  Shan and I unloaded it by hand, but it was not that difficult.  The blocks are obviously quite light, but it just took a little time. 

 These are the preformed corner panels.  They are a typical 2" thick foam to allow for greater amounts of concrete for a strong corner.  The foam gets added to steel panels in a previous picture.

These are the "contour" forms.  They put about an r32 worth of foam into the forms.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Forms are in, Hobbs ICF "studs" Delivered

The Form-a-Drain forms are been installed and everything is lining up nicely.  Since these photos, they have been fully staked and leveled.  They are approximately +/- 1/8" or better at this point. 
Now we are working on trying to get the garage footer forms done.  Rain is delaying us from working.  It doesn't rain all summer, then all of the sudden we have a hole in the ground and it rains, a lot, on the weekend of course.  Figures.

They are pretty straight.  Can not complain too much about that.

 The slots on the inside form collect sub slab water to keep things dry on the inside.  The upper slots collect radon and will vent it out the house.

 The Hobbs vertical form ICF studs were delivered Friday morning.  I met the semi with a fork lift around 7:15.  The driver, no joke at all, looked exactly like Johnny Depp. I all most asked him if I could take a picture, but decided not too.  Figured he got it all the time.  Super nice guy though.  I unloaded the first pallet with the lift, but realizing this guy is in the trucking business, he would probably be faster at it from working on loading docks.  So I had him do the rest.  They weighed between 1200-1700 pounds.

The studs and foam forms (which get delivered on Tuesday) are precut to the exact length (height) of the walls.  The basement walls are 9' 7 to account for the floor structure and the upper wall vary from 8', 9' and 11'. 

Close up of the studs.  The flanges are 2 1/2" wide for a lot of attachment surface.  The foam panels goes in between the flanges.  The rebar snaps into each one of these forms.  Lots of rebar!

These are their corner panels.  They are an inner and outer layer of steel.  They hold the corners perfectly square and very strong. 

Friday, October 5, 2012


Today we officially started something.  The water and sewer were brought from the curb to their location and backfilled.  Part of the site is dug, and most of it has the black dirt removed.  The hole should be finished on Monday.  I guess we will not be working this weekend...oh well, its supposed to be mid 40s and low 50s....


Water and sewer brought in from the curb.  The sewer took a while to find, the pipe was really deep.  It was about 14' down.  This poor white pipe as a long and dirty life ahead of it...

This view is looking south east. 

This view and the one below are from "basement level".  There is about 5' of fall from one side to the other which means less dirt to take out (and truck out of here) but also means better day lit windows for basement bedrooms.

This is the Form-A-Drain forms and a pile of rebar that was delivered.  The forms (made by Certainteed) serve several purposes.  First, they are used to form the footings.  Next they have 2 chambers inside them as you can see.  The lower chamber collects ground water on both the exterior of the wall and inside the basement, takes it to the sump pump and gets it out of here. The upper chamber will be connected to a vent pipe to passively vent radon out as well.  The cost of these forms when compared to 2x6 lumber and 4" drain tile is minimal.  Roughly $150 more.  The forms are perfectly straight, easy to connect and install, and do not need stripped.  The $150 is made up in no time, not to mention the superior design over traditional drainage systems.

The pile of rebar is about half of what we need for the house. There are 100 20' bars sitting there. About 30 of them are for the footers, the rest are for the basement ICF forms. More will be delivered for the main level ICF forms.

view looking south west.  Our house will stand out quite a bit in this area with the design, but I think we will be accepted eventually....

view looking north west

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Figured I should post up the final plans here too.  Shifted them around slightly, mainly due to the front stairs.  Thought we liked an open stair case and the large window heading down, but after much thought we decided the amount of noise transferred from the basement will most likely be overly...annoying. 
However on the flip side, by reducing the glass in that window, it dropped my solar glass to floor ratio from a high 13% down to a better 9% since there is low thermal mass on the interior. 


Below is the section through the clerestory.  The framing of the roof allows for a thermally broken design on the lower roof.  On the higher roof I am using 14" I joists to limit the amount of thermal bridging while still allowing roughly an r60 dense packed insulation within the space.  Spray foam is used to seal the edges to complete the unvented design.  The glulam spanning the clerestory shall remain exposed and stained.  I am quite excited about this detail actually.

Monday, October 1, 2012

All Staked out

Progress to report...sort of.  After some sitting around waiting on the appraiser, we finally closed the home construction loan last week and are proceeding with the build. Building permit is pulled.  It is staked out on the lot, and Sean "the Digger" (do not know his last name) is supposed to show up on Wednesday or Thursday of this week to get the hole dug.  Plumbing rough in will follow.

We will then start late this week and weekend getting the Form-a-Drain forms in the ground for the footings, with some rebar.  ICF forms are ordered from Hobbs and should arrive in a few weeks. 

I am bringing on an energy consulting firm and a HERS rater for the project.  They are required for the several certifications we will need to do to obtain some of the large rebates due to the design.  They will review the plans and do a pre-construction energy assessment compared to a "model home" (or a standard code min. built home in the area) to produce the HERS score and find out how much more efficient it should really be.  For people's reference, a standard code min. home in our zone 6 would be 2x6 exterior framing with osb sheathing, house wrap, and fiberglass batt insulation.  However with new 2012 IECC coming out, this type of construction will not cut it much longer. 

They will also complete a few blower door tests during the project.  They will complete a blower door test after the shell is up, roof is on, and we feel we are "air tight", but before insulation.  There will also be a final test completed after insulation. 

We are finally getting there.  Our weekends are officially dead, I think.