Friday, December 28, 2007

Foundation, Day 20

Things are moving right along..

This is the current state of the back door. The forms have been removed from the concrete, and you can see the spacer for the drainage sticking through. And the Bituthene waterproofing is in place below the ground line.

You can also see how much above the "ground line" the ground actually is.. currently everything below the sill plate is underground, but there will be some excavation in back to bring it down to where it needs to be. The lot is MUCH higher in the back of the house than in the front, where we'd been taking our measurements, so there was some drama about the need for a real retaining wall.. That'll be a post for another day.

<-- This is a slightly different view of the same area, just to the right of the back door, under the back stairs. You can see the MiraDrain water permeable fabric, which will help keep the crud out of the drain lines and the sump pump. It goes down below the clean crushed gravel, the first batch of which was delivered Thursday. There's much, much more to be backfilled in, but they're doing it one section at a time to minimize the chances of the dirt collapsing into the pits.

<--You can see a little collapsing anyway, on the side of the house.

But that's now all filled in with gravel, as you can see here as Dan goes over the retaining wall ideas with foreman Jeff

On Friday, the plumber was here working on the new sewer lateral (a requirement when property changes hands in Alameda, we would've had to do this even if we hadn't done any renovations). The guys had cleaned up the wonky, leaky temporary line, so he had a much nicer time than he might've. He was nice enough to give us a 15 minute warning on cutting it open, so there were no icky surprises.

And here's the framing for our guest bedroom. They're framing the 2 structural walls here, and putting in the post and beam in the front as part of this job. We'll build the non-bearing walls and do all the finish work after we've run plumbing and all our wires.

Friday, December 21, 2007

and she's down!

Day 14 and our house has a foundation!

This is Dean who was, in fact, a nice guy.. but I think Shadow there was running the show.

Everyone showed up nice and early, did some last checks, and pumped the water and scooped the mud up out of the forms while the concrete mixer truck backed up at about 1mph for a block.

Then they hooked everything up and started pumping it in!

This is the fleet of trucks on our street. That's the second concrete truck rolling in at 9am! There was a LOT of concrete was brought in here today.

They hand formed it up to the sill and smoothed it out.

<-- This area is still being formed

While the driveway walls are niiice and smooooth. Look how pretty! -->

We have 10.25' between the walls so getting the bikes out with a car parked there should be no problem!

And look how nicely the ends slope down toward the sidewalk. This way there won't be anything to trip on because it's totally level with the sidewalk for about a foot, then starts sloping up as a retaining wall.

We snuck downstairs tonight and made it official.. It's really our house!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

One more day till our house has feet

The rain is supposed to be over until the end of next week, so our little lean-to tent has gone away. Over on the East side of the house you can see that everything is pretty much ready to be filled with concrete.

The inspector was by yesterday, and he liked everything he saw. He needs to come again before the pour to inspect the plumbing and the final forms, but it seems like we're good to go for getting a foundation tomorrow!

Here's a nice illustration of how fast these guys are working. This is where the gas line comes into the house. On the left is after day 11, on the right is the next day. Once the outside piece of plywood goes up it's hard to see the rebar inside

And here's the footing for the post which will hold up the beam which will hold up the whole middle of the house. On the left is after day 11, on the right is the next day with the post in place

And a better view into the footing. The slab will be poured over the top, so we won't even know it's there.

These are the sleeves for the plumbing lines into our new bathroom. The plumber had more to do today, which is one of the reasons the pour was delayed.

From this angle outside you can see most of the final structure of the forms, and all the bracing so the concrete can't push out.

This is our growing river, also known as the foundation for our load-bearing wall in the back of the house.

And finally, a view from the back. There's quite a lot going on down there.

Hopefully everything goes well tomorrow and we'll have something for the house to sit on!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow can stop these guys

This is where we are at after only 10 working days!

This week has been full of rain, and it hasn't slowed the crew down one bit! Though the bottom of the footing trenches are getting kinda muddy...

<-- This is the form for the foundation wall on the West side of the house.

Notice that the foundation wall will be flush with the inside side of the joists. The grey sheet is the waterproofing membrane which lines the trench below ground level. You also can see the rebar which reinforces the concrete (it's right there in the name: reinforcing bar.. rebar.. get it?), and the anchor bolts which tie the house into the foundation.

That's the last picture taken before the rain hit..

This is what our back door looks like now. The waterfall off the corner is nice.

This will be the bearing wall in the back part of the house. The front workshop area will have a super-beefy post and beam to span the house and keep it nice and open.

The 2x6s here aren't the joists, they're just there to hold the sill plate up until the footing is poured. The foundation will be poured up to the bottom of these bottom plates then the slab will be poured giving us one level unbroken floor.

There's a nice river running through these trenches, but they'll bring a sump on Thursday to pump it out before pouring the concrete.

The front of the house is a slightly different obstacle course every day. The sidewalk is broken up for access to the sewer, and the intact part is of course taken up by the porta-potty. The nice 96 year old lady has been walking in the street on her way to visit her daughter.. I'd really like for her to be able to use the sidewalk again soon.

You may notice that one of the garage doors is missing.. it apparently came apart from the vibrations.

We haven't heard anything about the inspection yet, so I hope no news is good news. We'll find out in the morning..
We hope that everything goes as planned and they can pour the foundation walls this Thursday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

the wait is finally over: first problem

What You Don't Want To See When Preparing To Pour A Driveway

A couple of things came up yesterday as the driveway was being dug down... because we lowered the level of the garage, the driveway has to slope down about 2 feet from the street-this extra depth uncovered a few surprises...

<-- Here you can see both the problems. At the bottom left is the main sewer lateral cutting diagonally through the driveway. The trenches are at the final depth, and the pipe was barely below the surface. The yellow hose on the right is the main gas line into the house, also very close to the surface and nowhere near where anyone thought it was: right in the middle of a footing.

In this picture you can see why we were surprised to find the gas line in the middle of the driveway ->>

The red circle at the upper left is the line into the gas meter.

The blue circle is apparently the original gas line, right where we expected to find it, but capped off and not connected to anything.

Yellow on the right is the active gas line, about a foot into the driveway.

George the GC (in the Raiders jacket-go Raiders!!!) came over and we spent some time measuring and talking about the problems.

The sewer line will definitely need to be moved, but that was less of a surprise. It'll run along the side of driveway under the water main (Apparently the sewer line can be as close as a foot away from the water line), but then it needs to make about a 60 degree bend (this seems like a likely clog point) to meet up with the city line.

Also, because of the new lower floor level and the fall requirement the fixtures in the bathroom will be higher than the floor.. we're just trying to determine how high.

Here's Hector (the head of the crew) measuring the height of the stack and where it connects to the city line, which is the absolute lowest it could be connected.

The gas line is a different issue.. from what everyone tells us it's very unlikely we'll be able to move it. All we need is a few inches to get it out of the driveway, but that would likely add weeks and a few thousand dollars to the project.

We are going to have to alter the retaining wall on the side of the driveway to skirt the gas line. This is going to squeeze the width of the driveway somewhat. To determine what the absolute minimum the driveway width can be, we pulled up my bike next to the car and got to measuring ourselves.. all we need is to be able to have a car parked in the driveway with enough room left over to get a motorcycle into and out of the garage. Dan's bike is a little wider than mine, but we think if the narrowest part of the driveway is 10' (and the car is parked as far to one side as we can manage) we should be ok.

I've got piles of pictures of the footing forms and framing thus far, I'll get that up tomorrow.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

These guys WORK

Work started right on schedule this morning at 9:00. I haven't actually gone down yet today (can't seem to bring myself to move more than 6" away from a space heater or the 2 cats sleeping on my legs..), but will get a good photo-roundup of today's progress to post tomorrow.

Plenty of progress in the last 2 days though!

Here's the side of the house as it looked Thursday morning.

The giant pile of dirt is gone, and the new joists and sill are in place on this side.

The pile of plywood visible inside isn't holding anything up, it's about to become the form for the concrete. Plus, it makes a handy step as it's a pretty big drop to get down there now! We haven't spent as much time down there this week, since the water heater pilot has thankfully stayed on.

Still plenty of dirt being pulled out. We expected them to bring a bobcat down there, but with all the cribbing they said it wouldn't be worthwhile, so it's all being dug by hand and loaded in the truck in wheelbarrows.

Lots of supplies showing up, too. Here's the Handy Rebar truck dropping off.. well, handy rebar! I think it's extra handy because it's pre-tied.

There's a pile of handy concrete spacers

and a pile of Paraseal waterproofing membrane.

Here's a shot of our slightly jenky, but no longer leaking or stopped up with a shoprag main sewage line. (the new joists and sill plate are visible here too)

Most of the drain lines are in a pile out back, which is fine for now since we only have 1 bathroom and the kitchen sink.

This is the temporary drain line for the kitchen sink that you can see tied in on the left of the main line.

The center area down there doesn't look too different, as most of the work is focused around the perimeter. Which you can see here, in the same view of the side taken Friday morning.

Most of the plywood form is in place, as are the supports.

The rebar cage all along the East side is in place, and the anchor bolts and tie-downs look to be in place all the way around the perimeter as of Friday morning. They're spaced even closer than what the engineer spec'd, so once there's a foundation there, this house is not coming off of it!

Until then though, it's a pretty wild ride. In the evenings, either of us walking through the house causes some pretty good swaying.. and being in here while the work is actually happening is like one earthquake after another.

I think it's about time I head out and grab the paper and some pictures, which I'll post tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

it's beginning to smell a lot like..


Let me start off by warning you.. we're dorks, we know this

..but when you've got an outhouse on your front lawn, and the neighborhood starts twinkling with xmas lights.. well, you've just gotta do what you gotta do..

.. and we had to decorate the porta-potty!!

We got all bundled up, spiked some hot chocolate with something to keep us warm, and headed outside.

Dan took care of tinseling the sign

While I strung lights and hung the wreath (eucalyptus, so it smells nice!)

Then we hung a Santa's Workshop sign and stuck candy canes all over the place!

Happy Holidays

the Neumanskys!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

This Remodel Brought To You BY...

Monster Energy Drink!
I don't like to think that we are overly picky but....
I think I know how these guys are getting the job done so fast. They're all hopped up on Monster Energy drink.
Look here's one hanging out with his buddy empty soda cup.
And here's one...
This one's hiding in the cribing.
This ones hanging out on some other cribing with its buddys coke one and coke two.
This one's taking a bow.

These two are getting crushed by the junk pile!! Poor things, won't someone save them?
Here's a long shot of the dig-out so far. If you look carefully you can see Mr. Monster and his buddy Coke lounging about on some cribbing.
I was so shocked at just how deep the hole was that they dug that I had to measure it. Its just about 9' which is how high we wanted the ceilings on the bottom story.
Here's Irene grabbing the 'good bricks' and hiding them so she can use them on the driveway and maybe on some garden paths and what-not.

But seriously, the job is coming along faster than I could of imagined. The house movers are coming this Wednesday to level the house and the plan is to be pouring the foundation walls the following wednesday!! Yahoo!!!! Good news too, its not supposed to rain for a couple of weeks!!