Our Home’s walls have been soaking up the sun this week and the concrete has been reaching the strength needed to allow us to safely place dirt all around the outside of our basement. This is called backfilling and we are once again fortunate to have this great sandy earth to use. We will brace the long sections of the wall on the inside to prevent the wall from pushing in and cracking. We are always careful when backfilling but it is a much more difficult task with “heavy” wet clay soils than with our sand. The pictures today show the gray concrete walls with their brick pattern inside and out just after the forms have been removed.
These are those same walls with a black bituminous (read “tar”) coating applied all over and the granular gravel (pea stone) covering the plastic drain tile that surrounds the whole wall.
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This protects the drains from coming in direct contract with heavy clay soil and clogging. Again, not that big of a deal for us because our granular soil will let surface water easily flow to the drain tile. From there it will be drawn under the wall through openings the footing crew provided called bleeders. Our plumber will find all the bleeders on the inside, attach pipe to them and direct any flow to the sump pump well. When enough water fills this well, the float attached to the pump will rise, the pump will turn on and water will pumped up and out of Our Home. In this neighborhood it must go to an underground connection and flow to the storm drains beneath the road. It will eventually end up in a wetland, river and lake! Anyhow, without these drain tile, water would pool against the outside of the wall and cause so much hydrostatic pressure that the wall would leak through a crack or rod hole or, in severe cases, collapse inward and part of the house on top of it. And you thought a dry basement was a “given”? The pictures above also show some flat concrete that extends to the edge of the excavation.
These are pieces of footing that will have cement blocks placed on the to provide support for the garage and lanai footings that will be trenched about 42″ deep, much shallower than the wall footings. These are called “lead walls” and they will be installed before the building inspector allows us to backfill. When we go back next week to trench the footings for the garage and lanai we will go right on top of these lead walls. That square hole in the wall will be our “egress window”.
It will have a “well”, a half circle made from steel or plastic that will allow daylight in our basement and provide a means os escape in an emergency. While all this has been going on we have hired our carpenter, plumber, electrician and HVAC contractor. We are waiting for our stone and brick samples to arrive so we can build a mock up of our walls and roof to make a final determination of those materials and colors. We are also talking to stone masons, fireplace installers, roofing suppliers painters, etc. it is a busy time indeed. If you have questions or comments including why we did something differently than you may have thought, please ask us and we will do our best to respond. On technical issues we will even try to bring our skilled trades into the conversation.