With the excavation complete, it was time to get started building. We had originally intended to put the house on a low stem-wall foundation with a 2 foot crawl space underneath the house and a separate garage/studio/workshop building, but the land didn’t lend itself to that configuration. So, we decided to put the house on a daylight basement, instead, with the studio/workshop in the basement and the possibility of a garage at a later date (maybe).
Due to the slope of the land, we had to build retaining walls on the north and east sides to hold back the hillside. To prevent lateral movement of the retaining walls, our engineer designed big footers, 56″ wide and 8″ high.
The foundation crew got started right away (the rain didn’t slow them down), laying out the forms for the footers and placing the rebar.
Once the forms and rebar were all in place, a cement pump-truck showed up to pour the footers. It was a pretty amazing process. The pump truck was parked on the street above the lot and the operator, Marlin, controlled everything remotely with a joystick control pad strapped around his waist. That’s Marlin on the far left in this photo:
Marlin controled the rotation and elevation of the truck’s boom, as well as the flow of the cement, while Steve, the foundation subcontractor, guided the pour into the forms as his crew leveled and finished the concrete behind him.
The final step was placing anchored, vertical rebar throughout the footer with protective caps on top. Here’s Dale checking out the finished product:
The vertical rebar in the footers was then spliced onto longer rebars that support the retaining walls.
After creating the lattice of retaining wall rebar and stacking the forms around the foundation, Steve’s crew got to work assembling the forms for the walls.
The retaining walls are 10″ thick; this foundation will be here long after I’m gone.
With the forms in place, the pump truck showed up again to fill the retaining wall forms. We used an additive in the concrete that makes the walls and footers waterproof (the guy in the foreground is operating the pump truck while Steve guides the pour).
The next day the forms were pulled off. Ten days from start to finish.
Here’s a little panorama time-lapse of the process:
We’re framing the south and west walls of the basement, but before we do that, we have to install the foundation drains, floor insulation, radiant heat tubing and the concrete-slab floor. But we’ll say goodbye to Steve and his crew; their work is done.