Somewhere to Park

We have been filling the holes around the foundation back in with dirt. One thing to make sure you have to do in this process is compressing the dirt and or puddling it with water. We did a bit of both. Lots of water and a jumping jack to ensure this is done correctly. This will keep voids from showing up later and causing cracking and settling.

We decided to have someone come in and do the flat work for the garages and mechanical room in the basement. These guys were awesome!! From pouring to finishing they were fast, efficient and the result was incredible. It was a blast to see these guys from start to finish, to say the least they were a well oiled machine.

Enjoy the video below.

Build Upon a Rock Mass- Part 3 Nudura ICF Foundation Install

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.

Image result for case backhoe

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.

Image result for nudura

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.

That’s Heavy Man!!!

Activities have been set to overdrive. We are really moving along now that we have the foundation and dirt work completed. Due to restraints on space and restricted size of trucks that can access the site we are breaking our lumber deliveries into stages. We are framing the basements, installing beams and heading on up. We installed 2 Laminated beams over the lower garage and 4 metal I-beams in the basement and Garage. Amazing how a skid steer can make that a very simple task.

Now that we are framing it has really gotten us back in an excited time of the build, as things each day are accomplished and tangible. I will have posts of progress as we move along.


Frost Line

To ensure that our water line does not freeze we have to bury it as deep as possible. We ended up making it down about 6′ which should be adequate. To add a little extra protection we installed 2″ rigid insulation.

Other things to think about when it comes to your well is size and location. Our well is only about 15 feet from the foundation so it wasn’t too far to go for the water line. We installed a 1″ Line in PEX tubing. We are also going to use pex in the home.

Price Check on Aisle 5 – Save Money

What? I know random right. But when it comes to building a home, price checking is a much needed task. At times it can be tedious, mind numbing and time consuming, but it can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on what your are purchasing.

Here is a for instance. We put our frame pack out to the local hardware store to get us a price. They told us they are competitive with the other bigger chains and would take care of us. We got there quote and it seemed to fairly good at first glance. We then took it and put it out to a couple of other hardware stores. Surprise, Surprise!! They came back 30-40% less than the original prices we had received from the first yard. This was a bit frustrating to say the least. We found out from a friend who is a local contractor that certain things are better priced and purchased from the different lumber companies. We found this to be true. We even were able to call around to a few Companies for I-Beams and save $2,400 right off that cost and that included delivery.

So I guess my advice is to find a couple local contractors and get there advice. They have been through this type of thing and know the ins and outs. They can be a huge help in avoiding mistakes.

Specifications- Another tip is know your plan specifications. Questions such as what lumber is specified for framing (hem fir or Douglas fir), what size of nails are required (What is a 12d nail), what is the nail pattern, etc.? In talking to another contractor, he had used the wrong lumber and it caused a huge problem with framing when the inspector came to check his work. Delays, money and headache that could be avoided.

Delivery- Wondering what you should and shouldn’t worry about counting? Well, the answer is count everything, twice. No matter how well intentioned the loader is, the fact is mistakes will happen regularly. So count and check everything. I am making the habit of also taking pictures of everything so that I have a visual record of what was sent. This happened with our first framing pack for the basement. We were shorted 56- 2″x4″x12′ studs, 10 rolls of sill seal, tape, screws. This was a quick +$450 that could have been lost. By contacting the yard they fixed the issue and we have that money to use elsewhere.

Build Upon a Rock Mass- Part 4 Pouring Foundation Walls

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 5 hours to fill with concrete and complete.


8 Friends helping was great- From directing the 9 Concrete trucks (Yup 9) to pouring and finishing, having more help is always a good thing.

9 Trucks- 87 yards of concrete and 5 hours later we were done.  It was sunny when we started and rainy when we finished.  The entire project went really well and we only had a partial blow on one of our cold joints due to it being a bit watery at the end of the truck.  But it is done and now a permanent part of the mountain.  Wow what a relief.

Build Upon a Rock Mass- Part 2 Pouring Concrete Footer

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.

Build Upon a 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.