Thursday, August 25, 2005

I Called, They Came, We Poured

The building inspector came on Tuesday, and she was intrigued by the QuadLock ICFs. Still not that many people using them around here, I guess. They make a ton of sense in places like Florida (hurricanes, termites, hot weather) and Canada (some parts with really cold winters), but are a great way to build anywhere, I think. A few questions, some looking around, and inspection #1 passed!

I called around to find a concrete supplier and pumper. Usually they're separate companies and the concrete company will refer you to a pumper. I asked about lead time, expecting a couple of days. One place said a week. Crikey! I called another place, and asked their lead time. "Right now, or in general?" "Right now." "Thursday's the earliest I've got." Um...OK! They also do pumping. So I had 10 yards scheduled for between 12 and 1 today.

I scrambled to call people to help, because the companies provide concrete, and someone to run the pump, but they don't provide the people needed to move the hose, settle / rod the concrete, screed the top, etc. Naun was busy -- he's found work (yay!) doing painting. A couple of neighbors had offered to help, but one had plans already. I called my pastor who'd offered to help, too, and fortunately he was available and willing to shuffle his schedule to make it.

Fast forward to this morning, then hit the pause button. The pump and operator showed up at 10am to set up; apparently there was a big gap after his last job, so they just sent him here early. It took him all of 20 minutes or so to set up. Pastor Jim showed up about 11am, and then the three of us waited. And waited. Our neighbor Cynthia came to help, and we waited some more. Around 12:30 or so, Cynthia went home to get some lunch, and I made some for Jim and I. And we waited some more. I think it was close to 2 o'clock when the concrete truck came lumbering up the hill.

The pour started off with a bang. I was careful not to kink the hose, and felt a few initial pulses, and started getting concrete. A lot of concrete. The company alots 4 minutes per cubic yard (that's 27 cubic feet for the math impaired) of concrete for unloading, which means concrete goes through the 3 or 4 inch hose really fast. Which means you don't want the hose to kink lest pressure build up. But something I hadn't experienced before were plugs. Even with the water and pressure, it's possible for the hose to plug briefly. But at the rate the concrete is coming, even a brief plug means a lot of concrete builds up, and when it comes out, it comes out hard. The side of the house and my face got a concrete bath, and Jim took over while I washed up.

The rest of the pour went pretty smoothly, though Jimmy the pump operator got his own plug and a wallop on the leg by the hose. Ouch. And we had a couple of small blowouts, but a 2x4 to brace and a bit of rebar as a stake stopped the larger one.

Jim did a beautiful job screeding and smoothing the top of the wall, Cynthia and her neighbor's son Brent rodded to get rid of air pockets, and in very short order it was all done but the cleanup. Many, many thanks to you for your help, especially Jim.

Now we have a foundation, and it's starting to look like part of a house instead of fancy hole in the ground. Wahoo!

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