Things start to both take shape and slow down when the concrete work starts. I watched these guys work. Let me tell you, this is hard physical labor of the hurry-up-and-wait kind. Working with Labine and Sons has been a pleasure; they have done a great job. As experts should, they spoke their minds when they had concerns and working with Steve Patten and our General Contractor, Jim Barry of Brown and Barry Carpentry, they improved the finished foundation as it was being built.
One major concrete change that started with Steve and the excavating was dropping the footings down an additional foot in depth to keep the ground slope outside the walk out basement floor a reasonable grade. A second change was the addition of an extra foot in height to an already tall 9′ concrete wall to get the house further above grade on the backside to help water flow around it. The resulting 10′ tall concrete basement wall stuck into a steep bank is not something you do every day so it required some thought and a few modifications. The footings were beefed up, rebar size and amount was increased and a 2″ shelf was built into the interior foundation top to support the floor joists and drop the basement ceiling height back to 9′.
With the footings and walls poured it was on to sealing the concrete, Steve convinced me to have the tar sprayed on the concrete as it provides a more uniform coating when compared with brushing it on. Steve and Gary then moved on to installing the perimeter drainage system and insulation. I was surprised to see them installing interior perimeter drainage and was reminded by Gary Patten that water coming up from the ground is as big an issue as water flowing into the ground when it comes to wet basements. Next they filled the basement floor area and back-filled the exterior drainage with crushed stone.
Then it was on to excavating for the garage footings, because the site is so small and steep this work had to be done in a 2nd stage. When I left the site today the garage footings had been poured and the frost wall forms were up. Plan is to insulate the basement floor Wednesday and pour more concrete Thursday. Like I said in the beginning, things are taking shape, but winter is coming quickly and concrete work takes time…..