Friday, July 20, 2007

Floored again.

So here it is, our brand new floor!

It's hard in the pictures to see how smooth and finished feeling it is but trust me it's smooth and finished feeling.

It makes me very happy that we're at this stage. It means that the drain lines are finished, the bulk of the plumbing is finished, the bulk of the heating system is finished, the wall locations are all set, the posts are positioned and above all it feels clean clean clean!

It's just regular concrete but it has lots of color variation. I like that.

This is the texture. It's really smooth.

Sarah and I are going to celebrate by taking a few days off at the farm. Yay.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Okay so let's recap. We'd just filled the trenches and found ourselves roughly back to square one.

Square one was nice as things had gotten pretty messy in here for a while. Living in the building felt far away and making things clean again was a big help.

There was a lot more work to do though before we could start building walls.  In fact the past two weeks have been the busiest two weeks of the whole project so far.

We successfully made a floor

Like the roof, the floor required a layer caking of materials.

Layer one: Vapor Barrier.

Layer two: Insulation. This had to be carefully screwed down to provide a stable substrate for the forthcoming concrete. Dozens of 5/32" concrete drill bits and over four hundred concrete screws were used. A lot of work but worth it because it allowed us to do this:

Yes those are radiant heating tubes, yes our floor will be warm in the winter, yes you should be jealous. It was a lot of figuring but the actual laying of the pipes was easier than I was expecting. It still took two people three days to lay the over 1600 feet of pipe.  It sits on 6"x6" welded wire remesh to reinforce the forthcoming concrete and to give us something to ziptie the tubes to.

The tubes all come together temporarily at this here manifold.  Chris had lots of plumbing parts in his basement and he helped me figure out how to pressurize the pipes.

We pumped in 80 psi of air and this handy gauge would tell us if it lost pressure, which would mean that there was a leak somewhere.  We left the system inflated throughout the forthcoming concrete pour to let us know if something went horribly wrong.  The tubes are pretty tough but there would also be a lot of people walking around on them and some pretty heavy stuff being dragged across them.  Scary.

Let's analyze the making of a heated concrete floor for a sec.

As you can see there's a lot to figure out.  My brain was tired from thinking, my eyes were tired from google/book research and my body was tired from working long days to get us ready for the forthcoming concrete.

This is the concrete pouring process:

The cute children (Elijah, Reuben and Kalilah) watch the cement truck (from Anchor Concrete) as it dumps the concrete into the..

.. concrete pump (Bob's Concrete Pumping) which forces it into the..

..hoses which were very heavy and required two people to move (sometimes I was one of the people (Thanks Karen for letting me use your green authentic British wellies)).

The concrete was moved around and brought up to the approximate level by us (Drew, Chris and Jonathan).

And then these guys took over.  Sam (big guy in front) has a Harley and likes to talk about it. He's very nice.  He leveled the edges.  Mike (behind with the ever present cigarette) is a quiet genius who can make concrete do whatever he wants it to.  He did everything else.

The three full trucks of concrete (27 cubic yards, 49.6 metric tons) was all laid in four hours and Mike spent the next six hours troweling, waiting, troweling, waiting, etc. until he turned the oatmeal like mess into a hard and lovely smooth finish. The process still seems like magic to me and I'm very glad Mike was there to make it happen.    I'll post the finished results tomorrow.  

Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

No more trenches dirty looks.

Okay everybody come on back with me to the trenches.

After we put those drain pipes in we covered them up with dirt and put our potable water pipes down. They are made out of PEX (cross-linked-polyethylene) AKA "poor man's copper" (which also happens to be better than copper in almost every way). Blue is for cold and red is for hot.

Water to the bathroom.

Then those pipes got covered with gravel.

Then we cut some footers for the loft and for the forthcoming decorative i-beam.

Here's a nice summary picture of the PEX, some gravel and some footers.

We filled it all with concrete which brings us back to...

... SQAUARE ONE!!! *

* with drains, plumbing and footers