Saturday, October 6, 2012

Building a new basement, with pictures!

It was a cold and stormy day. Okay, not stormy, but definitely blustery. The first snowflakes of the season were falling and the yellow leaves that remained on some of the trees were the only bright spots in the gloom. Maybe gloom is too much. It's more chilly than gloomy. Hm. Suffice it to say, October is definitely making an appearance today.

I haven't posted much in here because we are extremely busy these days. Who isn't? September is always a busy month as people get their children back into school and those without school age children simply mourn the end of summer. Around here, it is also very busy with harvesting for the farmers. We are not farmers, but this year has been exceptionally crazy because of our house plans. I have not posted about this in a while, but we are definitely moving our house. For anyone who hasn't been following this blog, we had a terrible flood here last spring and summer and after much deliberation and prayer we have concluded that the only way we will avoid that scenario again is to move our house to higher ground. We also need to be able to finish our basement, especially now that we have four kids. Anyway, that whole process has been underway for a while now. I think I may have posted about it a while back...Ah, yes. July 23rd shows the beginning of the process. I thought I would update the situation a bit now.

And I started that post yesterday. I can't get anything done around here, especially blogging or any other writing! Today is a bright, sunny day and the boys are outside playing. Supper is already in the oven and the main part of the house is mostly clean. That means I can take a break and try to finish this post!

Okay, with pictures, here is the process, in a nutshell. (Descriptions below pictures)

July 19, 2012, the day we started the process. View from the front deck looking toward the ridge, before we started.
The day the bulldozer cleared the ridge.

The ridge after the bulldozer cleared it.

Digging the new basement, August 24, 2012.

More basement digging.
September 4-6, 2012: Building the forms for the foundation. I found it fascinating the way it was on multiple levels like that. It reminded me of a fish ladder. The reason it is not all on one level is because we are doing a walk out basement so the front wall will be totally out of the ground. The foundation has to be at least four feet underground, so that footing has to go lower than the rest and the wall gets extended an extra four feet under the ground. I find engineers amazing. How did they figure all this out? And how many disaster houses did they build before they got it right? Hehe. Kind of funny to think about.
September 7, 2012: We had to use a pumper truck to get the cement into the basement to pour the footings. You can see the cement truck behind the pumper truck. Because of our sand, the cement truck couldn't just drive up to the basement and pour the normal way, hence the need for the pumper truck. (Seriously, it's like living on a beach. The sand is amazing!)

Here you can see how the truck directed the cement exactly to where they needed it. They just had to guide that hose-thingy. (I believe that's the technical term.)

Again, they are pouring it into the footings and then using shovels to maneuver the cement around.

Here's Radar at the junction of our new driveway. This is looking from the site of the new basement down the driveway. To the left in this picture is where it goes down into our current yard, behind our row of pine trees. This is in place mainly so we can move the house up, though we will also have a driveway going in a loop in our current yard.

September 11, 2012: Walls of the basement going up. See in the front where there is a wall completely in the ground? That's what I meant when I talked about the extra four feet. 

The view from our deck on September 13, 2012.

September 22, 2012: This was fun. Mike's brother Russell drove this skid steer (I think?) in and out of the basement to move the gravel in and they levelled it so the floor could be poured. The machine barely fit through the opening in the wall (which we left temporarily so we could get in and out), and even inside the basement it was pretty tight.

Here is the floor that night after the gravel was poured and that machine there that looks kind of like a lawn mower kind of pressed the gravel together. I can't remember what it's called, but I think it basically vibrated the rocks and pressed them down so they would settle together. This is a great girly description, isn't it? Notice Tabu checking things out. At night I have seen her walking along the tops of the walls. Kind of like walking the ridge pole of Moody Sturgeon's roof. (For all you Anne of Green Gables fans.) 
September 28, 2012: Next Mike put the vapour barrier down. I forgot to mention, but the plumbing was also roughed in prior to the gravel being put down. Over the vapour barrier is the rebar.

September 29, 2012: The pumper truck came for another visit! It was extremely cool.

Here they are, levelling the cement one section at a time. 

This is hard work. I was glad to be the one stuck looking after the kids, for once! Haha.

After the floor was poured they still had lots of work to do on it, levelling, smoothing...etc.

And that brings us to today. Here Mike is bracing the walls in preparation for not only backfilling, but also for placing the house on top of the basement.

So as you can see, the process is not a quick one. I hope it will all be over a month from now, but it's hard to say. We hope to do the move in a couple of weeks. There is a ton of stuff left to do, and it's more than a little stressful, but there is no turning back now! I have to sign off now. Hopefully I'll have another update soon.

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