Build Upon a Rock Mass – Foundation Part 1

So the footer is in and the next step is foundation.  I do have to say I am grateful for my youth for many reasons.  One is I spent hours playing with Legos and Video Games and with this project they have come in handy.  I will explain.

Related imageImage result for tetris

Video Games–  The controls on a back hoe are joy sticks, that are much like a controller for video games. Making digging the septic system, leach field, excavation of foundation walls that much easier.  We spent about 60 days in the excavator moving dirt, so being able to use it with ease made it much more enjoyable to get done. Plus its always fun working with big equipment.

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Legos- The product we are using is called Nudura.  They are ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) that provides many positive things in a simple package.  They are 2″ thick styrofoam on both sides with plastic splines that hold them together, these splines enable to to screw drywall right to the wall.  The foam insulation provides a thermal break on the exterior with additional insulation inside, creating a more efficient wall.

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I also just thought how Tetris has helped with the Nudura, fitting things in the right spot.

Nudura was the supplier for our insulated concrete forms.  Dad attended one of the classes that helped answer many question before we started.  This whole project took 2 guys 2 weeks to complete.  Including leveling, rebar installation and bracing to prepare for concrete.  This was a great option as it completed the foundation and insulation at the same time.  It also stays in place so there are no forms to remove. If you have any questions contact John Tenney of Tenney ICF 719-330-4987 or and he will help you through the process.

The following video shows 5 weeks of work on the foundation wall framing in about 5 minutes.


Build Upon a Rock Mass Part 2 Footer Install

So now that we have the ICF (insulated concrete forms) in place it is time to make them permanent.  What has taken us weeks to prepare for only took a couple hours to fill with concrete and complete.  For the footer we used what is called FAST Foot.  It consists of 2×4 framing with a fabric stapled on the inside that the concrete is poured


6 Friends helping-  4 Concrete trucks  to pouring and finishing

4 Trucks- 40 yards of concrete and 5 hours later it was complete. It was a great accomplishment and Wow what a relief.




Built Upon the Rock Mass Part 1 Footer Framing

Building upon the rock mass. In the end it creates a home that will stay in place no matter what is thrown at it. In our case this has involved renting equipment to move dirt, hiring a company to blast granite below grade level and lots and lots of time with a rake and shovel. In the end it will ensure our home does not move much, if at all. Which is a very good thing!

We have been framing the footers, which will be 24″ wide and 8″ thick. They will have 3 rows of rebar throughout. Where they cannot be buried deeper than 4′ to be below the frost depth, they will be anchored into granite with 1/2″ rebar 12″ into the granite and epoxy anchors installed. I will have pictures and video up as we go through the next few weeks.

Well, Well, Well

Water is basically the most important thing we need as humans to live. It even makes up 75% of our body chemistry. We can survive without eating food for around 30 days, but without water its a dirt nap after only about 3 days, depending on the conditions. So when you are building a home away from the city this becomes priority number 1. In the city you can pay to tap into the infrastructure for water and sewer and pay a monthly fee depending on how much you use. Easy enough right? When away the from the city it becomes more quite a bit more difficult. You have to create your own way of disposing of waste (Septic system) and obtaining water (spring water, trucking in water and storing it or a well). Our “best” options was a well. The reason I enclosed best with “” is because wells I have learned are a fickle beast. You would think well drillers would have a way of increasing their odds to make sure you get water. But it really is a guessing game even for them and they do not provide any guarantees.

So we return to our title “Well, Well, Well”. You have to say it slowly to get the irritation factor that is needed. Explanation below.

Well #1- We purchased the property and it had a well that existed but was not permitted and there was no information provided. Upon doing a lot of investigation we found out it was installed in the 1970s. It had static water level at 100′ below the surface and it was around 450′ feet of total depth. We took a chance, had it repermited, installed a casing (4″ sch40 pipe) and a pump. Upon testing it was only giving off around .05 gallons of water per minute 72 gallons per day. Not enough!!!

Well #2- This was drilled to 1200′ (The Empire State Building is 1540′ tall just to give you a reference.) The result? About the same amount as the original well. At this point we were very bummed out. But we chose to carry on.

Well #3- This was placed about 100′ away from where our second well was at due to the positioning of our leach field. This well was drilled to 750′ and we found water. Woohoo!!! +1 gpm 1,440 gallons per day. This will supply our home with enough water to keep us all squeaky clean and well hydrated.

So to complete our little fiasco it unfortunately cost us double what our budget was for our well. This will require us to be a bit more frugal in other areas but we wont have to worry about trucking in water and dealing with that hassle.

So a little tip, when you open up your tap or flush a toilet, remember how easy it was and appreciate it for what it is.

Septic Tank / Leach Field is Complete

Sorry I haven’t posted recently. We have been working on the house but also keeping our business running and accomplishing many other tasks at the same time.

We have found that building your own home can bring to lots of different emotions. Emotional highs and excitement over completing a task, frustration because something needs to change or was in need of adjustment. A lot of what we have be doing so far has been completely new to us and on a daily basis we can find ourselves feeling both the highs and the lows. It is a good thing to prepare yourself for when you are building. My dad says construction is a big game of fixing the next problem and it is so very true. Many things can be carefully thought out and planned for. But there will always be many things the come out of no where and you have to be able to “Simply adjust” as grandma always said.

Last week we were able to complete our leach field and septic system. It was awesome! It took about a month and a half amongst, blowing out rock in the basement, installing the power lines and finishing our driveway. But just as soon as we finished it, Dad and I laughed because now it is only a couple of days afterwards and it is just done. We don’t think about it, it is done and we are on to new challenges. (The foundation). So below is a video of our system getting installed form beginning to almost the end.

Ruffles Have Ridges and So do Mountains

Building on or close to the Ridgeline of the mountain. This was something we did not anticipate completely, but we were in compliance with it anyway. So you may be wondering what is Seth talking about and why am I hungry.

In our planning we didn’t know about the fact that you cannot build 25′ or higher above the ridge line of a mountain. The ridge line would be considered the point where the moisture runs off both sides of the mountain and down both sides. Kind of like the Continental Divide. The county sent out great guy who took multiple measurements and elevations via GPS and gave us an ok on our site location. This was fortunate for us because we have much of the site excavated. The reason they require to build below the ridge line is to keep the views beautiful and without large house sticking up in the forest. So this we agree is a great requirement.

Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is power. But a lack of knowledge would make you what? Of that I am not really sure. But any way we are trying to get our electrical poles installed and have run into some obstacles, namely more granite. So because of this two of our four pole holes are rock holes. This means they cost more because they have to drill through rock. On one of them they also have to install an anchor into the rock, extra cost. But once they are complete they should never go anywhere. So what went from a 2-3 day job turned into about 10 days.

On The Move

Buying and selling can be a stressful thing. The best advise I can give you is, “Be prepared and be flexible!” And make sure you have a realtor you can trust. We recommend Corey Martin of Keller Williams Martin Home Group. He is awesome!

In the process of building our new home we have had to sell our existing homes. The Colorado market is fairly crazy when it comes to the type of house that we are in, which is a 1st time home buyer/small family home. Because of this we had our house put on the market Friday evening, Saturday from 1-4 we did an open house, there were 10 showings scheduled, 3-4 more on Sunday and 7 offers in by Sunday at noon. This was great because we knew we would be able to sell our home but we had to decide who was going to be the smoothest process for us to finish the selling process.

Ultimately we found one of the seven and went with our decision. Now we have closed and both parties in the end were very happy. Now we are living with some great friends for a bit while the winter continues on. We hope in the spring to be in a trailer on the property.

Another tip in selling your home is make sure your realtor has professional pictures taken to show off your home. They make a huge difference as you can see in the video below. When pricing, don’t be greedy. Find a price you will be happy with and that is good for the neighborhood and anything over that is a great bonus.

A quick note about moving. First, our friends and family are awesome. Some helped the days before in packing and we had lots to help the day of with moving and putting things in storage. The biggest advice I can give is make sure you are packed about 90% before everyone shows up, it makes things go a lot quicker and your help is a lot happier. Also, don’t forget to feed those who so lovingly offered themselves. They need fuel and deserve it as well.

Thanks to all that have helped this time and in the past.


So this week has been lots of catch up on the leach field and a little of digging the crawl space. Not much to say at this point we are continuing work and some things will slow down until we get our plans back from the structural engineer and get them in to the county for approval.