Bed and Bath Doorway Pillars

Parged Partition Panel

Here Holly and Hope have just finished parging the bedroom-library partition wall. The surface bonding parge of fine sifted sand concrete with PVA fibers serves to lock the 4″ wide 8″x16″ concrete masonry unit (CMU) partition blocks in place. The wall was wiggly before but after being parged on just one side it was solid. We’ll do the other side later when we build the library shelves and pour down the cores, which already have steel, when we pour the ceiling.

After they got done Holly scored it up, thus the cross hatches, so the final layer of stucco will have something to adhere to. On our way to pouring the ceilings for the bedroom, bathroom and kids’ loft we need to finish the partition walls and build the doorways. To support the brick arches we began with constructing pillars on either side of the doorway. The pillar spacing is a bit wider than the final doorways since the stucco will add a bit more material thus narrowing the passage.

Ben Filling Bathroom Pillar

To make the pillars we built forms of 2xX lumber up to the height of where the cap stones will begin the arches for the doorways. Ben is filling the pillar form with concrete and tamping it down with a piece of rebar. He dropped the first piece of rebar, thus adding a little strength to the pillar, so we attached a wire to this piece that keeps it from going down, down, down…

His pillar form was particularly difficult because it contains the drain pipe for the planter discussed yesterday. Getting the concrete to go down the narrow space between the form and pipe was a trick.

Doorway Pillar Form Part 1

On the bedroom door the pillar is actually a composite of a 2″ layer of vermiculite concrete on the west and then the rest of the pillar is steel reinforced high strength concrete. Building the form up in parts allowed me to apply the vermiculite layer as I poured.The photo lower down shows the resulting vertical layers.

The reason for the vermiculite is that the wood stove butts up against the west side of the pillar. I don’t want thermal expansion to cause the pillar to crack and the door to jam. I calculated the maximum thermal expansion for the masonry stove at 0.08″ (1.2E-5 thermal expansion coefficient per degree C) so this should provide plenty of buffer, especially on such a small stove.

If you look inside the wooden form you’ll notice a squiggle of silicon hardened on the side walls. The purpose of this is to create a indentation (negative image) in the concrete pillar’s surface so the final stucco will adhere better.

Hope Filling Pillar Form

My assistant Hope filling the pillar form. Everybody gets in on our construction project. This is truly a family home.

Will Filling Pillar

As the pillar grew and form sections got added Hope had to turn her job over to Will. Here he is using a sliced square bucket to help funnel concrete into the form. Works slick and it’s easy to clean, even if the concrete hardens on the funnel.

Finished Bedroom West Pillar

The final pillar awaiting it’s cap stone. You can see the squiggles created by the silicon, the vermiculite expansion layer and one section that didn’t get packed down completely. Fortunately it looks to be just along the edge and when we parge that will get filled in so it isn’t a big deal.

Outdoors: 46°F/29°F Sunny
Farm House: 58°F/53°F Drying sows to house end
Tiny Cottage: 59°F/49°F Exterior parge walls finished

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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4 Responses to Bed and Bath Doorway Pillars

  1. Robyn says:

    Do you guys homeschool? I don’t recall you ever talking about school…just curious. I loved homeschooling our daughter. I think it’s terrific that your house building is such a family affair. Everyone does a job that they can handle. Everything seems to be moving right along. When do you anticipate actually moving in there??? Robyn

  2. Anonymous says:

    Do you guys homeschool? I don’t recall ever seeing a mention of school…just curious. I loved homeschooling our daughter. Your house is looking great–things are moving right along. I think it’s terrific that it’s such a family affair. Everyone a job of which s/he is capable. They’ll have such good memories! Robyn

  3. Robyn, yes, we do homeschool all our kids. There is book work, which we tend to do in the afternoon, farm & construction work which is every morning and then life learning all the time. Like you, we love doing it too. I can’t imagine sending our kids away every day to let a stranger get all the fun of doing things with them.

    As to moving in, well, I’m already there in my imagination. :) I’ve told Holly, who tends to feel the cold more than I, that as soon as the old house gets too cold for her to let me know and I can have us in the tiny cottage in one week. Until then we’ll continue to do projects that push us towards completion.

    It is much easier to work on the cottage, and to live, when life and construction are a little bit separated. Once we move in construction will stop for the winter. On the other hand, I refuse to heat the old house so we’ll see how the weather holds…

  4. Thanks for sharing the house pics. You are so right, finish as much as you can before moving in. Even with all us kids gone, Mom & Dad are still trying to finish the house and it’s hard once there is a family worth of stuff inside!

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