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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 2/6/2010

As I've noted a couple of times before, it's astonishing to see what a difference a nice flat surface can make when it comes to making progress.

Colleen and I ran up today to download weather data and so I could get a firsthand look at the progress that I'd only seen pictures of. Amazing. The primary walls are nearly complete, and the crew is busy putting in the endcap walls over the apartment and at the edge near the deck. Final window bucking is being installed and (I presume) the windows for the upstairs will either be ordered or have been ordered. (Of course they won't be installed until after the pour is done--if you install them before the pour, you run an excellent chance of blowing them out if concrete should shift.)

Those end-cap walls deserve some discussion. All of the walls are 8" Buildblock ICFs, which (when you add in the Styrofoam) makes for a 13" thick wall. For these end-cap walls, we had to go with a thinner form, primarily due to weight--there's nothing under those walls that would easily support all of the weight (I wanted to avoid having any load-bearing walls inside the house) and so to match the weight with the LiteDeck, Engineer John specified that these walls needed to be 4" forms rather than their larger cousin. These are going to be just fine--slightly less thermal mass since there's less concrete, but they still have the heavy Styrofoam making their overall width 9". Both are front areas that aren't "lived in" per se, so I don't think there will be any issues there--in fact, I doubt anybody will know unless I tell them.

Builder Dale had to spend some time with the crew going over how to tie the 4" forms into the 8" forms, though. While some companies make adapter pieces for this type of circumstance, most don't, and so you have to kinda "splice" a joint to overlap the 4" form into the 8" form. Once it's all done, it's foamed in, and then rebar is put down into each joint to tie the forms together once the concrete is poured. The only real difference between the two sections is that the joins along the deck are "inside" joins (the 4" wall T's into the 8" wall) while the one on the apartment end are "outside" joins (the 8" wall transitions to the 4" wall at corner). Of the two, the outside joins are the hardest to get right, in part because they're not as accessible--you have to get up on a ladder to foam up the outside properly, and it's easy to miss something and get a blowout. With the inside joins, you can stand on either side of the "T" and foam away.

Lots of good pictures follow. We have weather moving in early next week, so the crew may not be able to get back to work until Tuesday or so... we'll see.

This is so exciting!

Steven in Colorado Springs


The deck. Note the couple of ICF partial forms over on the end; Colleen and I are beginning to explore how to form the crenelations.
Standing in the crossover area looking towards the library. Lots of forms stacked up here; but they should be close to using them all up soon.
Looking from the library towards the guest bedrooms at the north end. Starting to really look like a house, isn't it?
Standing in the library looking more or less towards the stairwell (which you can't see). To the right is the drop-off into the living room.
A better shot looking at the living room drop-off. There will be a nice banister here, of course.
Looking down from the second floor into the living room, (mostly) ignoring Colleen's "don't fall off" clucking...
Kinda looking over the stairwell (bottom foreground) towards the guest bedrooms.
The stairwell! Or where it's gonna be, anyway. Note the thickness of the floor--I sure like the LiteDeck, even if it *is* horribly expensive.
Another shot looking across the media room to the guest bedrooms. Fewer blocks stacked up here, since most of them are on the walls now.
Nice shot of a 4" form stacked atop an 8" form (center left). The entire back wall (with those small windows) is 4"; the join is at the corner with the plywood shoring.
Closeup of the two kinds of forms. BuildBlock did good here; they're basically identical, except for the width.
Looking across the garage to the apartment. That dirt is frozen hard as a rock, by the way--ICFs do as good a job of keeping heat OUT as they do with keeping heat IN, so not much has melted in here.
Good shot of most of the apartment.
Outside view of the apartment end from the well. Note the small staggered windows; these will be glass-block windows to bring light into each guest bathroom. The chimney for the apartment fireplace will run up the wall directly between them.

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