The Big Addition: Excavation

(and more demolition, and even a little construction...)



Week 4 starts off with a very busy day: the beginning of excavation. Trenches were made for the grade beams and footings for the structure. Drilling began on the four piers (each 15 feet deep) which will support the grade beam and steel structure above. A small rebar factory was set up in the driveway - yup it looks like we're building a freeway overpass! Under the house, forms went in for the retaining wall, and near the bedroom, a large part of the deck was removed and trenching began for the footings to support the bedroom extension. Whew! That's a Monday. There must have been 16 people working on site.

Tuesday and Wedensday saw steady progress on piers, forms, and the cages for the piers and grade beams. The crew continued work on excavating the footings for the tree house, and did a considerable amount of demolition in the master suite, removing the entire floor of the bedroom and much of the wall surface. A total of about 75 yds of dirt has been excavated from the site so far. Thankfully, I've got neighbors who need dirt; otherwise, we'd need to truck this quite some distance.

We had a big huddle Wednesday morning with the GC and our structural engineer. The subject was a trench footing which is called for under the house which crosses under the A/C unit - which all of us would prefer not to move. We threw around a number of ideas on how to redirect this footing, and it looks like we have a solution which calls for something a bit smaller. That footing will be the basis for a pre-fabbed metal structural wall which will extend all the way to the roof. This will be tricky as it goes in the wall behind the washer and dryer - eh, it's only sheetrock. But there will be some re-routing of pipes and electric required in that wall. We have pictures of what is in that wall from the guest room remodel, so that's helpful.

By the end of the week, all but one of the footings were dug and filled with rebar. Where the footings tie into the existing foundation, the rebar is connected with epoxy. The last footing to dig will be the one under the house near the A/C. Much of this complexity is to combat earth movement. Once again, welcome to earthquake country.

A mini-excavator works great in  tight... Hand shoveling cleans up the edges.... Making fast work on the footing... Work starts on a pier cage... Another angle of a cage... Desktop rebar bender... Later, all 4  pier cages are done... This is a footing cage.... Basic perimeter is nearly complete.... A clever way to start the centerline... Last of the trenching... On with the drilling!... Now we're filling up our nice trenches.... Close up of the bit.... Shakin' it. It's the only way to remove... Meanwhile, around back, much of the rear... Trenching, by hand, of the footings for... This is backbreaking work. We did this... What a difference. These trenches are... Also an all-day project, the area under... A long, busy Monday with major progress.... Forms for the garage start to go in.... Stairs up to the main floor will run... Around back, hammering out the footing... Meanwhile, under the house, the forms... The first pier cage is moved into... Now vertical...... Helloooo down there!... By the end of the day Tuesday 7/10, all... End of the day - our supply of dirt is... Sunrise on Thursday. The forms made a... One of the grade beam cages is in place.... Another look at the grade beam cage.... Wednesday was apparently a big day... Wait until you see what we're going to... On Thursday, the bathroom floor was... The bedroom walls have all been... Out back, the footings for the tree... The lower tie-back footing. It steps... Looking east from the back deck,... Under the house, the walls of the stair... The site at the end of week 4!...

Where's Waldo?

We'll get to the title in a minute. Demolition of the master suite continues big time. The upstairs is now exposed to the elements. The 16 inch platform that the master suite was built on has been removed, as was the original roof (on which the bedroom was built by the previous owners). Plumbing to the upstairs was disconnected, and preparations are underway to add structural members. Outside, the conduit for the future solar panels was tunneled inside and behind the forms for the retaining wall. The crew continued to open up the bedroom side. The plan is to move straight into framing in this corner as soon as concrete is poured.

Of course, that all depends on the concrete guys, who have temporarily disappeared, so the title is really: Where's Whitlow? They're waiting for some parts, or they might be working on another major job. They don't have much left to do, but until they are done, no forms inspection, and no concrete... When Whitlow did show up (Friday), it was only to pick up their tractor. They could not find the tie-downs to secure it to the trailed; we found them. Then, it wouldn't start - dead battery and no cables. We provided cables. Then, the trailer had a flat tire. That's a tricky one. Using the compressor at the fire station, they were ready to go. Hopefully our assistance will be repaid with a full court press starting Monday...

Our upstairs exterior walls are now... The old air conditioning chase is still... All of the plumbing has been removed... Our new open air living space. Beth... Beth models the new bedroom space at the... Looking east from debris-land. This view... Looking down towards the garage. The...

The Last Trench

Amazing that we've been at it 5 complete weeks. We're back to big progress. Monday saw forms set around the bedroom support. (Yeah, we have this thing about triangles.) Several pictures here of the engineered wall templates we've been anxiously awaiting. They popped up like mushrooms all around the site: in the garage forms, bedroom support, under the house... The laundry room wall will also get one eventually. The second floor is gradually disappearing; all of the faulty work of the previous owners has been removed. The crew built some concrete forms and installed tie-down bolts for the sill. Wait until you see the tie downs for the steel moment frame...

There is one more trench to dig under the house. This is being bumped up since the pour is still several days out. That is the last footing and form for the foundation. Re-framing of the new bathroom roof will probably start Wednesday. Taking bets on whether it's re-roofed before the foundation is poured.

And that was a good bet. When we got home Wednesday evening around 6:30, the crew was still there. They had a busy day digging the last trench... and of course, as expected, re-roofing the bathroom! On Friday, Whitlow returned to finish the moment frame bolts and cut in a few doorways in the foundation. Structural engineer Josh will inspect the rebar Monday, the county will inspect Tuesday, and the plan is to pour Wednesday, August 1!

Most of the forms are done for the... Close-up of the corner.... Templates for the engineered walls above... Close-up of one of the frames on top of... Under the house, more engineered frames.... What's this? We're not remodeling the... The upstairs continues to get smaller.... Tuesday, the skylight is moved aside and... Roof plywood is removed. Since they... Finally, the roof structure is removed.... View from the west.... The tunnel to the still-active closet is... Outside, tie downs for the sill are... Tie downs for the retaining wall, too.... The last form (almost)... The completed form for the contraption... The last trench is the most difficult to... The last trench viewed from outside... As expected, the crew got the... You can see the framing for the... Details. This will make it a breeze to... An odd view.... On Friday, the Whitlow crew works on the... The first (east) moment frame assembly... A closeup of a  moment frame assembly.... Closeup of one of the moment frame... The view from the roof. The foundation... Foundation plus the view on a hot summer...