Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Walls are poured and ready to set!

The forms for the West half of the house - there's about 124 linear feet of wall here!
Today we visited Ideal Precast in Durham as they were pouring the last half of the walls.  The first set of walls was loaded on the trucks for transport to the site.  Our total panel count will be 25 including some smaller stub-walls and a beam over the large bank of windows in the family room.
This are the panels for the large window for the family room.  That wooden frame is the window opening. one panel below the window, one beam above, and a panel on either side.  This is a 12' wide, 7'6" tall window with a door (seen where the worker is standing). 
This is a "plain" panel for the west end of the house.  The slots in the foam become the ribs of concrete with rebar for strength.  The top layer of foam (outside) is largely recycled content while the bottom layer (closest to the living space) is virgin foam.  This set of walls required a full truckload of virgin foam!

These are the panels poured last week - one in the air being lifted to the flatbed  You may not see it here but there is actually a slight flex in the panels - they weigh about 12,000 pounds each.  The added 'beams' for panels with windows makes up for the openings to the weight is the same.

Second panel being loaded onto the truck - foam spacers used between the panels. These panels are guaranteed to 5000 psi - but we suspect they would test out much higher due to the quality control and painstaking work done by the crews.

This is the first panel already poured. The concrete block on the end brace the metal forms (with a release agent sprayed on them).  The channels you see in the lower right are other forms not being used for this pour.  The base being used is one monolithic concrete pad for a  sturdy, level surface.

The hopper being used to pour concrete into the forms.  You can see the top side is the outside of the panels and that first panel only has the bull-float finish on it at this point.  

Concrete is mixed at the end of the forms - it takes just about 90 seconds to mix enough (1 1/2 cu yards) for the hopper) and then it's moved to the proper panel and poured.  It's amazing how accurately they can aim the concrete and hit very narrow channels!  These guys are real pros!

A later wall section in the process of being finished - an air-powered vibrating scree is used to set the initial finish, a bull float and hand trowels are used to put the second finish on it.  When the concrete is just at the right moment of curing the broom finish is applied.

Grey shirt worker is hand troweling the edges around the window, red and light blue workers are working the power scree, white shirt is holding the bull float.  We left at this point which as the first 46' of walls poured.  78 feet more to pour and brush finish.

Tomorrow we hope to set the walls - today we found that some of the dig had collapsed due to heavy rains so some work was done to repair that and dig a ditch to divert the potential rains tonight and tomorrow.

This is the site as the crews are working to repair the collapse of the wall and prep for the all-set tomorrow.  yes, that's water in the strip footing (as Kevin said "your new lap pool is in!") but so far this soil has drained pretty wall. There is a ring of pipe under the gravel that drains to the south - this section was a bit lower due to preparing for the strip foundation to support the load bearing walls.

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