Once the wall forms were up, it actually started to look like the beginnings of a plywood-sheathed structure. The sad part was that, despite the immense amount of work it took just to setup the forms, everything you saw was to be removed in its entirety the day after the concrete was poured. But in the end, that’s when the excitement began. It’s like Christmas morning and you’re about to unwrap the biggest plywood-wrapped present you’ve ever seen!
Progress Timelapse (Day 13 to 16)
Pretty much the same settings as the last post, varying between 10-second and 30-second intervals. However, I finally got my old router working as a wireless repeater — Linksys with dd-wrt, for anyone interested — on Day 16, allowing the GoPro to be positioned closer to the action and the Eye-fi still able to stream photos to my computer over wifi. I had to retrofit the deck by moonlight to make sure I had an adequate clock-mount ready for the morning, which is fortunately a lot easier when you have no qualms with drilling random holes in your deck because you know you’re rebuilding it in the very near future.
The wall forms were removed the morning after the concrete was poured, starting with the support posts, braces and walkways. Following that, the tie bars are hammered down to sheer off the ends of the snap-ties, allowing the plywood forms to slip off.
With the concrete exposed, a tar-based sealant is painted on the exterior side of the walls with a roller. The intent is to minimize the moisture absorption by blocking off any open pores in the concrete.
Once the sealant application has passed inspection, dimple board is fastened to the wall. Dimple board is pretty much what it sounds like: a flexible, non-permeable material with a bunch of dimples. The dimples provide an air gap between the material and the foundation, allowing any incidental water to easily flow down the side of the foundation and into the drain tile without hindrance or capillary action.
For the drainage tile, perforated PVC was run all around the perimeter, just above the footings, as well as beside the footings. Unfortunately, as typical in dealing with the District, they informed us at the last minute that we’d need to adjust the plan to include this sump, despite the permit clearly indicating otherwise. So all pipes run into a sump at the southeast corner, where the overflow will feed into the open drainage ditch.
Enter the Stone Slinger! Basically a dump truck filled with gravel and equipped with a directional conveyor belt capable of throwing rocks up to 75′ on level ground! It was very entertaining to watch them backfill the entire perimeter from the alley, which you can see for about 10 seconds, starting at approximately 0:50 in the above timelapse.
The giant, deck-high mountain of dirt is no longer. They’ve done some preliminary grading of the yard to make the area next to the house much more functionally level. The actual landscaping will be left as an exercise for the owner to figure out.
It’ll be loosely based on what I sketched up as a pipe dream for when I win the lottery:
We’ve since raised the slab height about 2.5′ with a sloped driveway from the alley. Hopefully, this will result in a lesser elevation drop from the house to the back of the garage than what is described in the above concept sketch…ideally, it would only need one tier and retaining wall.
We’re on the fence whether it’ll be built with Allan Blocks or treated timbers, as the price is pretty comparable. However, while the Allan Blocks will likely look classier, I suspect it would also require a lot more work, land preparation and precision to make it look nice.