We passed another landmark: the stem wall for the house has been poured. The pour didn’t go badly, but it could have been better. We ran out of concrete and had to order another cubic yard (the minimum order) at a significant monetary penalty. I should have taken the advice of the Graves Concrete sales rep to order 11 cubic yards instead of 10.5. I suspect the 10.5 would have been OK except the stem wall forms bulged at the top about a half an inch. The walls held, but one segment nearly blew out (picture below). One neat thing that we did: we sprayed recycled vegetable oil on the inside of the forms to facilitate their removal. The whole place smelled like a carnival. We got the grease from our neighbor Darryl who runs Evergreen Motors, a grease car conversion business (thanks Darryl). The standard practice is to use a petroleum based product. Another big thanks to John D. and John S. Also a special thank you to Craig C.
Spartan floating the garage footer, while the concrete truck begins to pour the stemwall.
Pouring concrete into house stem wall
Craig, and John S. directed the concrete in while John D. used the vibrator to help the concrete to settle. I Followed them up with the float--leveling the concrete to the nails that indicated the height of the pour. In order to accurately put the nails at the same height all around I used a laser level placed in the stem wall cavity. The laser level has earned a place on my favorite tools list.
Pier for load point. Hopefully we will be able to use one of the oak posts we milled to act as the interior post.
Top of stem wall the day after. We inserted J-bolts into the top every 4' so we can anchor the house to the foundation.This particular side doesn't look very straight because it is the side with the bulging stem wall form segment.
The garage footer ended up with three different heights to accomodate the ledge. This is the largest of the steps.
This is the section of the stem wall that nearly blew out. It was inherently weaker because we it was made of two horizontal pieces of plywood.
After doing some calculations I realized that the sewer pipe exited the ground too high up. I'll have to go back and re-excavate the sewer pipe and move it down to meet the stub in the stemwall.
There hasn't been any issues with people going onto the property, but we decided it would be good insurance to put up keep off signs. The signs look really intimidating, so I decided to lighten the mood.