It’s time to dance! At least we have the floor for it now!

Floors are being installed. 3/4″ tongue and groove plywood sheeting. Funny thing is, it actually measures 23/32″ for whatever reason, but they charge you for the full 3/4″. Anyway, staggering the sheeting makes it stronger by forming a diaphragm to complete the floors. We have found local code to ensure proper nailing schedules to make the floors as sturdy as possible. We also made sure to glue it to the TJIs to make sure we avoid squeaks and movement in the future.

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.

“The floor is slanted”

You might remember the recurring joke on the show “Mad About You”. They had a section in the kitchen that he (Paul Reiser) said had “a slope to it” and he would slide down it. As he demonstrated the slope that he swore was there his wife (Helen Hunt) said its not there you are imaging it. So in a comedy sitcom we laughed multiple times at this scenario. In your own house its a big no no.

We have taken time from the time of laying the footer to the installation of the TJIs in the following video, to ensure that it is level and plumbing through out the entire home. Sorry this video is a little bit longer but encompasses some framing and TJI installation. TJI (Trus Joist I Joist)


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.