Homestead Construction #3 – Progress on the Foundation

After a busy week of working on the foundation, it is nice to sit back and look at some pictures.

Once the house pad was excavated down to a roughly level pad, some base rock (clean 4″ minus) was put down, spead out to roughly flat and then compacted with a vibrating roller. After 10 loads and a lot of compaction, 130 tons of rock made a nice base for a stable foundation. The deeper areas that we carved out of the hillside got down to a good mix of aggregate (pink shale) and clay subsoil. The more shallow areas were still mostly clay subsoil, so the base rock should allow for a stable platform and good drainage.

Here you can see the base rock all rolled out and the first material for the assembling the footings for the forms.

We’ve got a 2 man crew helping us out with setting up the forms and installing the 3/4″ minus gravel that will go under the concrete slab. This next photo shows the forms about halfway up and 4 of the total of 8 loads of gravel being shifted around with the Bobcat:

Once the gravel is moved into position and roughly smoothed out, a gas-powered tamper is used to pack it down in layers a couple of inches thick.
After 8 loads (~100 tons) of gravel is smoothed, wet down and tamped, we are ready for the last of the forms to be put up:

Once the last of the forms were up (after fixing a small miscalculation on the length of the east-west walls… the final plans call for a 64’8″ wall rather than a 65′ like I had thought; this should let us avoid having to cut very many of the 8x8x16 blocks in the walls), we didn’t waste any time getting the underground plumbing in.

Almost all of the plumbing work is in the southwest quadrant of the house. The 2″ water inlet for the house comes in the north side of the house and comes up between the bathroom and shower walls. From there it is distributed to the laundry sink, washer, solar water heater and kitchen sink. The hot water systems takes the cold water supply and has a line for running to the solar hot water heater (will be outside the house), then back to an insulated pre-heater tank inside the house and finally to an on-demand gas heater (southwest wall of the house).

The waste lines head out under the south wall of the house. A 3″ inch line from the toilet joins up with the line from the kitchen sink at the south wall. The shower floor drain, washer drain and laundry sink lines combine into a 2″ line that runs under the south wall and then joins the 3″ line outside the foundation wall. This way, once we have our graywater system in place, we can divert the waste water from laundry sink, washer and shower with the turn of a valve.

Additional plumbing includes a floor drain towards the northeast section of the house for the battery room, and an air intake in the middle of the house that will supply air for the woodstove.

We finished up the week ready for our first inspection tomorrow!


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