After years of waiting, worrying and wondering if we would EVER get our building permit, we are proud to announce that we have finally broken ground!
WAHOO! YIPPEE! HOORAY!
The first step in building our new home is to form massive concrete footings for the foundation of the very heavy concrete walls. We are using the Reynoso Brothers as our concrete contractor because we have been extremely happy with the work they have done on our building site so far. Last year they prepared the building site quickly and efficiently, on time and at a reasonable cost, so it was a no brainer to have them back.
The heavy equipment they brought seemed to be overkill at first, but then when I saw the size of the trenches they were digging, I understood. The footings will be massive!
The tractors made digging through our clay dirt seem like a knife through butter. Well… almost. Until they hit a huge rock right at the back corner of where our patio will be. Luckily, it was a soft rock (sedimentary?) and the excavator was able to actually scrape most of the rock away.
Once the trenches were dug for the footings, they began defining the upper edges with some 2 x 6’s. They used a laser on a tripod to get everything perfect, and the picture on the left shows what they were able to accomplish after just one day of work!
Then the rebar was installed. Holy cannoli… 3 tons of rebar!
No joke. Really. Three tons!
With all the concrete and metal that is going into this house, I truly believe it will last
F. O. R. E. V. E. R.
Once all the footings were dug and most of the rebar installed, it was time to set the rough plumbing. For minimal intrusion into the Faswall itself, we decided to set the plumbing for the kitchen sink, the toilet in the 1/2 bath and the urinal in the master bathroom under the slab.
“Urinal?” you say? Why yes! No more fretting about poor aiming and no more seat up/down wars! Can you tell I’m a mother of four boys (including my husband). 😉
Juan from ACE Plumbing and his crew did most of the work in one day, which was impressive. Except…
The toilet was put in the wrong spot, and so was the freestanding bathtub. You see, building a house with ICF is a lot different than building a stick-built house. In our ICF home, the blocks themselves are exactly 2 feet long, with 1/2 blocks being 1 foot long (well, duh).
Anyway, because of that, when designing an ICF house, windows and doors are placed exactly on whole feet and not partial feet. So, when the two foot wide bathroom window will start 14 feet from the corner of the house, with the toilet centered right underneath, the toilet needs to be centered on 15 feet. Get it?
Well, only having built stick houses before, they figured they would center the toilet on the wall, and the window could be built centered over the toilet. That’s the normal thing to do. But we needed to have just the opposite. They needed to center the toilet under where the window will be!
So, when we explained this to Juan, he had his crew up that very afternoon to fix the problem! Yay!
One thing dear hubby and I have been doing is testing and checking, checking and testing everything! That’s how we knew the toilet wasn’t right. We put the Faswall block exactly where it will be placed on the footing, then measured twice from corner to corner, and toilet to corner, then bathtub to corner, etc. I know that sounds a bit nit-picky, but the truth is that WE are acting as our own contractor and in the end WE are the only ones responsible. So, it’s better to check and make adjustments now, before any concrete is poured!
So, now you ask… what’s next?
Inspection! Yup. Our first inspection. We are a bit nervous, though I don’t know why. The two contractors we have had on site so far are experts in their field and are fully licensed, so we shouldn’t have any problems. (Famous last words?)
In the meantime, I have been moving my green plastic chair around in the house, pretending I am looking out this window or that window, getting a feel of what it will look like, and dreaming…..
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