Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our First Concrete Pour!

After we dug out the hole for the masonry heater footing, the next step was to insulate it and tie the rebar together. Code required us to use half inch rebar tied together six inches on center. Tying the rebar together took me a lot longer than I thought it would. It was suggested that this would be our new mantra, "well that took longer than I thought it would." The suggester was correct.

Next we had to set the form for the heater at the right level and cut the insulation to fit. The conglomeration of wood surrounding the form was my way of giving us a place to set stakes since the hole got a little wider than it needed to be.

Jenn is eagerly awaiting the use of the new mixer.

We started filling it in, one wheel barrow at a time.

Until it was full! I should leave this next part out, but I think people would know better. I calculated 41 80 pound bags of ready mix. Of course it took 44 and I had to run to the store at the end of the pour. I'll learn my lesson, eventually. By the by, we are considering marketing a new work out DVD. It's called P-lift-80-pound-bags-of-concrete-90X. Your legs and back will scream for mercy after just one session.

After the hole was full, we screeded it and I troweled it smooth.

The forecasters were predicting a storm so we tarped it heavily. It did storm ... hard. But, to my surprise the tarp held in place.

Here's the final product. The smudge is a clump of dirt that I should have removed before taking the picture. I call it focal art.

Now that we had one pour out of the way, it was time to prep for the big pour. I rented a laser transit in order to set the footing forms to the right level. That thing was slick, much easier than the old scope style. Geez, my chicken legs are really pasty! Who took that picture?!

To keep them at the right level, we drove stakes we made out of 2x4s. Thanks are owed to my Dad (for many parts of the project) for making the 24 vampire slayers with the miter saw. I am continually impressed with how much work my Dad and my Wife put into the project even though I can be a relentless task master. Relentless task master is a euphemism for what they usually call me.

Up next, the big pour!


  1. WOW!! I am so amazed at this whole project! (and yes, you do have pasty chicken legs.)

  2. Jared,
    I've been following since I saw a link to your post on Tom Elpel's site several months ago. My question is what made you decide to put the insulation on the inside of the wall? Here in the Appalachian mountains I have a concern about condensation forming, and I'm thinking it would be between the slipformed wall and the insulation (bad). Have I missed something? Very nice work; thanks for the story in pictures, Bodi

  3. Bodi,
    I don't think you have necessarily missed anything. This summer was a very humid one where I live and we did experience some condensation, but it was only on the earth bermed wall. I made the mistake of putting insulation on both sides of that wall, which was effectivley like putting a vapor barrier on both sides. Bad idea. The remedy was simply to take the insulation off on the inside. The principles of condensation can be confusing (at least to me). What helps me to remember is thinking of a cold can of coke on a hot day. Condensation forms when warm (probably humid) air comes in contact with a cold surface. The can 'sweats'. Basically inside the house on a warm day - you are inside the can. The problem for my bermed wall was I turned the can inside out since the earth's temperature (bermed portion underground) was cooler than inside of the house. And the inside insulation wasn't letting the moisture evaporate away.

    During our winters the air gets very dry. Many homes run humidifiers to bring the inside air back to normal. I hope this helps you a little. I should mention that I am very unfamiliar with your climate, having never been there before.

    Oh, one more thing. You might do some research on putting the insulation on the inside of a slipformed wall (basically, insulation sandwiched between two stone walls). That is something that I read about in Tom's book but never have done.