Monday, June 18, 2007

Late In The Evening

Over the weekend we formed and poured the lower walls for the pump house. The tallest part of these walls are 3'-6" and then we will frame the rest of the structure on top of this. The walls are 3 5/8" thick so that the concrete and the wood frame will all be one thickness. Not that that really matters but it helps cut down on the amount of Quickrete I had to buy and mix etc. and it is sufficient to hold. We used concrete for the bottom half to be able to backfill against it and offer some thermal protection to the pump and tank without running a heater. Also, if we had wanted to do the whole thing wood-framed that would have required A LOT of excavation and the dirt in this area is very hard. As you can see if this photo, we went ahead and made the door frame out of PT 4x4's and set it in concrete. This way it served to help form the front walls and tie into the concrete.
Allen made up the rebar mats for the walls while I cut the plyform etc. We did not pour any footings and will pour a little dirt/mortar floor later. Due to the thinness of the walls and the hardness of the dirt I think this will be OK. Normally, I would always pour some kind of footing but, as we say on the big jobs, we ain't building no piano. The 2 holes in the ground are for the door frame.

This is a detail of the of the forms; I didn't think this was a very good shot but maybe it's clear enough to see what we did. The forms are basically 3/4" plyform (not regular plywood although that would be fine) with 2x4's nailed on the edges to stiffen. Plyform is plywood (usually fir) that has been treated with an oily release agent. It has a good smooth surface kinda like BC and is great for sheathing later because it resists moisture. We did not use snap ties because, as far as I know, they don't make 4" ties but these walls were not hardly big enough for them anyway. The little, wooden block in the photo acted as a snap tie in that it kept the forms a certain distance apart and, being PT also, will be left in the walls to screw the wood framing down to. We ran galvanized screws halfway into the sides of the blocks to help them bond into the concrete. There are also 2- 3" PVC sleeves down in there to form a passageway for the water pipe and electrical conduit to run through the walls.

This is just me floating off the top of the walls trying to get them pretty much on grade and fairly smooth so the bottom plate of the wood framing will sit nice. The interior forms we set at grade but for ease we just let the outer forms run wild on about half of it. We couldn't do a lot of digging or disturbing ground without it falling into the wall forms.

We started mixing and pouring about 3:00 p.m. and finished around 7:00. We used 28, 80 lb. bags, so we poured 2,240 lbs of concrete ( doesn't include the water) with a 5 -gallon bucket. We took turns mixing but we were wore slap out by evening to say the least. If you are wondering why didn't I just order concrete, well, I'll tell you. Even all that wouldn't have made quite a yard of concrete. All the batch plants up here charge a 3-4 yard minimum and with concrete going up to $91.00/yard min. it was much cheaper this way. Plus, we would have had a major time getting a truck up in the woods where this thing is, if it would have been possible at all. Now, we could have laid 8" block and it would have been cheaper (maybe not much) and easier ( sorta) but we just prefer poured concrete. Maybe we are gluttons for punishment. Oh, BTW, the local building supply once again beat Lowe's and Home Depot on prices. They were about 50 cents cheaper per bag on the Quikcrete than the big box stores. How is that possible? Hhhmm. Something stinks in Denmark.


pablo said...

This is so cool. I guess the "spring" is now buried by your work. Does that understand the situation correctly?

Still, I would use glass block to make the walls. Sure would be cooler than wood frame.

edifice rex said...

Actually, no, Pablo. I guess I did not explain this well. If you notice in the 4th photo down (where I am finishing the concrete) you can see that the water line trench continues on to a little clearing. That clearing just down the hill is where the spring actually is. We came up the hill as far as the pump could handle in order to keep from running over 300 feet of electrical wire to the pump. Perhaps one day the pump will be solar powered but for now it's pretty expensive to run conduit and wire or just burial cable.
Yes, glass block would be very cool but I have the plyform that I am going to build the walls out of and those glass block can be quite pricey. I had thought of maybe putting some type of unusual window in the pump house. As a bit of a challenge to myself (and since I'm laid off now) I am going to try and build the remainder of the pump house from completely salvaged materials. I'm suppossed to be doing that on the main house too!