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
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 ?
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
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.
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 .
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 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.
"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.
"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”
<shrug> Just FYI...
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 .
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! :-/
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 .
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
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