Friday, July 30, 2010

Stonework Revealed

Since I last posted an update on the house, we have finished the earth bermed portion of the north wall and moved on to something more exciting - actual stonework. This picture is Jenn and her Dad working together on the bermed wall.

This is what it looked like after all the slipforms were removed. A hefty concrete wall. The little white circles towards the bottom of the wall are PVC sleeves we put into the wall to house things like electrical and propane lines into the house.

The inside of the bermed wall has 2 inches of insulation, the rest of the house will have six. In order to make the six inch panels, we glued three two inch panels together. We inserted the galvanized wire through them the same as we had done before. These wires tie the foam to the wall and leave a loop on the inside in order to tie on lath when the house is closed in.

When building a masonry wall, you need to pre-plan your openings quite carefully. We went with standard sized doors and windows. In order to make a hole for said openings you need to box it out. In order to make window and door boxes that would span our 18 inch walls, we tacked 1x2 pieces on the outside of 2x12 lumber. A 2x12 is actually 1 1/2 inches by 11 1/4 inches. 1x2 measures 3/4 of an inch deep making our depth a true 12 inches. That plus our six inches of foam made the 18 inches of wall.

This picture was taken while we were setting the forms. You can see the homemade insulation panels.

This is the door box in place.

We started laying up stones using the knowledge we had gained from books. The bad part of slipforming is that you can't see the work you have done until you have another level done on top of it. We used sand at the front of the forms to keep the concrete from running all the way to the front and staining all our hard work. This is Jenn applying the sand.

I'll post a more detailed account of the process later. I get into such a flurry that I often forget to take pictures. The picture below shows the window box.

This is what the stonework looks like when you take the forms off.

This is what a section of it looks like washed. We were very happy with our first attempt at slipform stone masonry. There were very few spots where the concrete had dared creep out farther than I would have liked. When all is said and done, we will do what is called "pointing". Basically, it is like grouting between the stones to leave a more finished look. We still plan to leave the stones extending beyond the mortar, but the joints will look more uniform.
I'll try not to go so long before I do another update, but building stone wall leaves me a bit tired.


  1. Wow! You guys are rockstars. Only the Barnhardts have that kind of determination. Good luck onyour journey.

  2. i'm on collecting free stone,for my home which i expect to finish it after may be 2 year,
    good luck,and dont forget to bring out a fun out of it

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