More cellar photos

Got a chance between storms ... http://s991.photobucket.com/user/Snag_one/library/House%20build/kitchen so I laid some more block . Coming along , just not as quickly as hoped .
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Looking good.
What kind of storms you having?
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CRNG wrote:

Thank you . Light rain off and on here today , more this afternoon , then light rain all day tomorrow .
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On 11/25/15 8:54 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

Somewhere along the line, politicians discovered it's more fun to tell people how to live than it is to fix potholes.                     - @patsajak
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wrote:

You seem to be moving along but you do see why I would just hire a block crew for that many block. They would bang that out on a day. It is a good learning experience for you if you are not in that big a hurry.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The wife is in a bigger hurry than I am ... and I'm always up for adding another skill to my set . I think the light block is probably easier , but I'm gettin' the hang of it . The key is in the mud ... I just got home from town with a 5 gallon pail of asphalt emulsion to coat the below grade walls , plan is to lay some 30 lb felt over the stuff for added protection . I don't really expect any water problems , but why take the chance ?
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wrote:

That is what drives me to hire a block crew. When it was just my shed, she was willing to watch me plod along but when it came to the home addition, she wanted to see the project move right along so she called her guys. Masonry and concrete are the things I usually hire out anyway. It is very labor intensive and mistakes are "forever". I am willing to do the rest myself although I usually farm out the drywall these days too. I can do it, I just hate it. I like the plumbing, electrical and framing. I have a gun so the (shingle) roofing is not that tough either. For me, the electrical is the most rewarding because I get exactly what I want and I know exactly what I have. I really like smurf tube.
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Terry Coombs wrote: ...

looking good! i'd use the thickest mil plastic instead of felt paper.
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songbird wrote:

Excellent idea ! I've been needing an excuse to buy a roll of 6 mil . The plan is to overlap the slab by about 4 inches , and come to about a foot above grade . The ground will be contoured to direct water away from the cellar walls , and this area is a very heavy clay and I don't really expect there to be a water problem . Additionally , The downhill end will have a door , and the ground will be contoured to drain any standing water from the door area .
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On 11/27/2015 3:20 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

You've not said (or, perhaps I don't recall?) where you are located.
Regardless, I assume you've some expert advice as to the actual *nature* of that clay in the soil? E.g., in Colorado, bentonite is common and building in/on it is tricky -- if you want the edifice to remain standing, *intact*! (an improperly excavated site in Colorado can result in basement walls being forcefully *crushed* from the expansive soil; or, the entire house "heaving" as if from frost).
In your case, you don't have a contractor to "make you whole" after the fact!
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On 11/27/2015 3:46 PM, Don Y wrote:

From <http://coloradogeologicalsurvey.org/geologic-hazards/swelling-soils/definition/ : "The clay mineral responsible generally for swelling is montmorillonite, often called “bentonite”. A sample of pure montmorillonite may swell up to 15 times its original volume. However, most natural soils contain considerably less than 100 percent montmorillonite, and few swell to more than 1 ½ times their original volume (a 50 percent volume increase) (Jones and Holtz, 1973). A small load may decrease the actual swell to less than 1 ¼ times the original volume (a 25 percent volume increase). However, as 25 percent increase can be extremely destructive because volume increases of 3 percent or more are generally considered by engineers to be potentially damaging and require specially designed foundations.
and:
"Each year, shrinking or swelling inflict at least $2.3 billion in damages to houses, buildings, roads, and pipelines – more than twice the damage from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes…Over 250,000 new homes are built on expansive soils each year. 60 percent will experience only minor damage during their useful lives, but 10 percent will experience significant damage-some beyond repair…one person in 10 is affected by floods; but one in five by expansive soils.
and:
"Although several visual methods for identification of potentially swelling clays exist, only a competent, professional soil engineer and engineering geologist should be relied upon to identify this potential hazard. Some warning signs for swell might include: a) soft, puff, “popcorn” appearance of the surface soil when dry; b) surface soil that is very sticky when wet; c) open cracks (desiccation polygons) in dry surface soils; d) lack of vegetation due to heavy clay soils; e) soils that are very plastic and weak when wet, but are “rock-hard” when dry.
<shrug> Just FYI...
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Don Y wrote:

This is a red clay , and if the sidewalls of the pit are any indication I won't have a problem with swelling . There is "bedrock" - actually sandstone in layers about 6-12" thick - within a few inches of the bottom of the slab , so it ain't going anywhere . Have you looked at the photos at the link I provided ? Those "pebbles" in some of the pics are representative of the underlying ground structure , and you can see what cracking from drying there is in a couple of the photos . But just in case , there's two pieces of #3 rebar in the perimeter of the slab (centered vertically in the footer/slab) and a piece of #3 in the joints between the 3rd/4th and will be between the 6th/7th courses of block .
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On 11/27/2015 6:11 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:
[expansive clay soils]

I'd not be qualified to tell you what sort of clay it is or what it's material characteristics might be -- in a photo *nor* in person! :>
I'm just relaying the information I picked up when living in Colo and the dangers of that sort of soil. IIRC, you had to have core samples taken on any lot before building to ensure this wouldn't be a problem. Just like heating water in a sealed volume creates explosive pressures, expanding clay in the soil can collapse a foundation!
Not the sort of thing you want to discover after the construction is done! :-/
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Don Y wrote:

I think if it was a problem there would be a lot fewer storm cellars around here ... Most of those are built the way mine is , only partially below grade .
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On 11/30/2015 6:03 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

That's specious reasoning. My home in Colorado (and most of my neighbors) had full basements; yet this is a very real problem, there. No idea what the geology in your neck of the woods is like...
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Don Y wrote:

Lots and lots of rocks . A 4"-6" layer of topsoil , then a layer of mostly silt , rocks/gravel , and clay . Deeper is mostly slabs of rock with thin layers of clay between . There are a lot of rock formations that are relatively thin layers similar to shale but it's more like sandstone . A sizable percentage of "Arkansas field stone" comes from this area . If you've looked at my photobucket pics of the stone work behind my wood stove , every one of those rocks was picked up from my land . Why is this so important to you ? I've done a lot of research on this and am confident that I've designed in sufficient reinforcement - vertical #3 rebar every 4 feet , horizontal rebar atop the 3rd and 5th courses and a solid concrete top with rebar - especially considering that the cellar is overall less than halfway below grade level . I'm more concerned with water intrusion than I am about hydraulic pressure crushing the walls .
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On 11/30/2015 9:12 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

It's *not* important to me! I am merely conveying observations from previous experiences I've had in the hope that some of it MAY be of interest to YOU -- it's not MY construction project that is involved! :>
If you'd never lived someplace where flooding was common, you'd probably never CONSIDER flooding in selecting a house, lot grading, basement protections, etc. As such, you'd possibly make a bad decision out of ignorance.
Not many people are aware of how damaging expansive soils can be. I've no idea if you've had a geologist -- or hydrologist -- on the property. I've no idea if you've even pulled *permits* for the job! So, I have no idea if anyone other than *you* has looked at the actual plan and plot and commented on the potential problems/requirements you might face!
As I said in my initial post on this issue: "In your case, you don't have a contractor to 'make you whole' after the fact!" I.e., if something goes wrong, there's no one you can SUE to recover your losses; any mistakes are yours, entirely, to "eat".
If YOU are convinced that there is no risk from the composition of the soil, then great! If YOU are convinced there is no risk from earthquake, then great! If YOU are convinced there is no risk from subterranean termites, then great! etc.
If you are aware of all the POTENTIAL risks and have assured YOURSELF that they are nonexistent, more power to you!
OTOH, if you were UNAWARE of a particular risk, you'd probably be really bummed to discover it down the road -- after the job was done! :>
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On Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 8:53:49 AM UTC-5, Terry Coombs wrote:

Could you drop off those "pebbles from the pit" at my house? SWMBO will tell you where she wants them. Thanks!
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