Friday, November 18, 2011

progress report: we are pretty awesome

it has been a while since i have updated you on our progress.  björn and i have been very busy in the last week and i am excited to share all of our progress with you.  after driving back from the boulder area last wednesday we got right to work.  our concrete slab, seen here, was looking great.  one week after pouring, the concrete is cured enough for us to work on.  we removed all of the concrete blankets and plastic last friday and did our best to clean off the slab.  

the next step was to build our stem walls.  in the old days one would hire a contractor to build and pour your stem walls.  he would come with a truck filled with wood to build a form for the stem walls.  this would take a few days to construct and brace and when they were finished pouring the concrete and letting it cure he would take off the forms and you would have a concrete wall.  well, that seemed like a lot of work for björn and i so we researched other options.  what did we find?... ICF's!  otherwise known as Insulated Concrete Forms-- and that is just what they are.  made of 2.5" styrofoam "walls" braced with plastic these giant legos fit together to create the forms for the stem walls.  they can be stacked pretty high, however we only needed two layers for our 32" crawl space. 

we were so happy to find Build Block out of Colorado Springs and distributed by Block Busters in Cortez, CO.  they are a great product and we had a lot of success using them. once we built our stem wall perimeter we added rebar and then poured concrete, it was that easy!  the foam remains on so you have an insulated crawl space, pretty great if you ask me.

as you can see the blocks were extremely heavy!

most of the blocks were left full lengths but we cut some blocks to fit our design.

a straight block and björn working with a corner block

the black plastic fins helped to brace the 2.5" of foam and also acted as rebar ties
we added two pieces of #5 rebar along the entire perimeter.  this gives some extra strength to the concrete.

we also added a few chases through the
stem walls with pvc pipe, this one is for the sewer line.

our finished wall assembly with some additional bracing- ready for the pour tomorrow!
our friend Nichols concrete pumping was on the job again!

rob filling the walls with concrete

björn and jack using a vibrator to vibrate the concrete into the walls

all the walls are filled

working the vibrator!

as the concrete set up we added anchor bolts which will be essential in the next step of the building
adding the floor system!

we are so stoked at our progress thus far.  in a little over two months we had built a rock wall, dug a big hole, had it compacted, cut and bent rebar, poured a slab and built and poured stem walls!  im just sayin...we are pretty awesome!


  1. You ARE pretty awesome! I'm impressed, Whit!

  2. Thanks Sally- we are having a lot of fun and everything is going really smoothly!



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