Foundation (everything under floor level)



We broke ground on the foundation March 5, 2008. 
It was my job to hold the stick and let the digger know when we were deep enough.   The stick has a receiver that interacts with a laser level.  It would beep at you to tell you if you were low, high, or just right.
All done now....a big flat hole!   We had them add just a skiff of 3/4 minus to the bottom of the cutout to help control the mud.  It worked great!  We have been working out there in the rain and snow and never had a problem with mud.
The next step was to build some forms for the foundation.  I've seen pictures of forms before...even seem some in person.  So I figured, how hard could it be to build some forms.  Well, let me tell you, those concrete guys earn their money!  There is a certain amount of precision that is required.  And then there is the labor....lots of lumber, plywood, and rebar. I'm glad we can say we did the foundation work for our house, but it would probably recommend hiring this out next time.
March 27, 2008....Snow!
4/16/2008.  All looked good.  I just added some braces to keep everything straight before the concrete showed up.  We used a boom pump to get the concrete from the trucks into the forms.  We did what is called a mono pour, where the footings and stem walls are poured at the same time.  Our stem walls are only 2' tall so it was the easiest way to go.  It took about 24 yards of concrete to fill everything up.  I did have a few friends, who know what they are doing, come over and help on the day of the pour.  It only took about 2 hours to pump in the concrete....then just sit back and watch it dry.  ;-)

One thing I didn't estimate well on was how many J bolts we needed. I was off by about 25 bolts!  This wasn't a problem, just a pain to drill and add them later.  Most of the bolts that were missing were around the deck and really aren't required anyways...but it sure would have been nice to add them in when the concrete was still wet!

Now that the concrete is set up nicely the kids and I decided to take the truck to Home Depot to pick up a little pipe!  850 feet to be exact.  And I'll bet only about 30' of this goes inside the house.  The rest is for the footing drains, downspout drains, low point drain, electrical conduit to bring power to the house, and some conduit to send power back to the yard after our current house is removed.  You would think being all plastic that this would be a light load....actually it was quite heavy!  Should have stopped on the scales on the way home to find out exactly how heavy.
May 26,2008.  Today we built the pony walls and did the final prep for the floor joists.  The tops of the pony walls need to be level with the top of the mud sills.  I've heard you could pull a string line really tight and then just measure down from the string line to get the height of each stud.  (Oh yea, each stud is a different length because the pony wall footing wasn't exactly get what you pay for when it comes to concrete work!)  Instead of the string line we opted to use the water level.  This device is great!  It cost all of $9 in tubing and I can use it to level the entire house.  Below are some pictures from today's activities.
Water level- measuring end.

My 4' level has a ruler on one side...the side with the tubing.

On the other side I used an offset stick to raise the ruler to the correct height to just read off the height of for each stud.  The offset stick compensates for the level of the water in the bucket and the height of the mud sill.  It worked good.  I did part of one wall and Kim did rest of that wall and the other wall.  Kim has a better eye for measuring as her wall turned out perfectly flat when we were wall might need some shimming when the floor joist show up.

The bucket end of the water level