Wired and Stoned at Our Pad


Slab Form Ready for Pour

I previously wrote about the tear down of the old building. This past week we’ve been working on the pad forms. Today we got all the steel work wired and lifted up off the insulation with stone chairs. The steel consists of #4 (1/2″) rebar along the perimeter and stress lines plus 661010 Welded Wire Mesh (WWM) across the entire slab. All the metal is tied together with steel twist ties – interestingly it is the same tool we use up in the sugar bush for hanging tubing.

You may have noticed that all this is over a thick layer of pink insulation which is over more insulation which is over foil-bubble-bubble-foil that has been taped with aluminum along the joints. The goal is to give us super insulated floors throughout the entire building. There is also a strategically located air gap. This will allow the entire space to be refrigerated and prevent perma-frost from developing in the soil under the building.

After months of work cleaning out the shed, tearing it down and building forms it is with great relief that as of today the forms are all braced, tools are gathered, the driveway is cleared and the concrete readymix supply company representative came out to inspect. We’re now ready for pouring the first slab of “The Big Project”.

Projects are often like this – there are long periods of get ready, get ready, get ready and then a big change happens. During the get ready period it sometimes feels like we’re not making headway. Then it happens. It’s good finally get to this point.

Outdoors: 50째F/26째F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 65째F/55째F

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About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor…

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9 Responses to Wired and Stoned at Our Pad

  1. Anonymous says:

    Seem to be making great progress.
    Slaughterhouse, is it?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Seem to be making great progress.
    Slaughterhouse, is it?

  3. Mary says:

    Is that a HUGE pile of logs in the top left of that photo? It wasn't in the demolition pictures. . . Did it come from all the field clearing? What is the plan for that?

  4. Actually, that's the small pile of logs. The big piles are several times larger. We cleared roughly 40 acres which we'll gradually make into pasture and then eventually new hay fields as the stumps rot away in the soil (no dozer work). The logs in that pile are for bio-mass, to be shredded and made into pellets for wood stoves or pulp to be burned to generate electricity. There were also loads of firewood (home heating) and lumber (cabinetry & home building). The cutting is now all done and they're working on grinding the bio-mass pulp. Much of that is tree tops, what is left after taking the stem portion for lumber. This leaves the fields clearer, ready for us to seed and then fence next spring. We have already begun fencing the upper north fields.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I hear that the animals will destroy the stumps if you put salt on them. I understand that deer are often desperate for salt.

    I read your blog with awe at your productivity. Thanks for sharing.

    – Citygirl

  6. Interesting about the salt. I hadn't heard of that method. Another similar technique is drilling corn into and under the stumps.

    The stumps do put up sprouts, which the livestock munch down – great forage. After a while of that the stumps finally die off and rot away. Some species of trees take longer than others.

  7. Mellifera says:

    "Projects are often like this – there are long periods of get ready, get ready, get ready and then a big change happens. During the get ready period it sometimes feels like we're not making headway. Then it happens."

    Hehe. Grad school isn't exactly a perfect training for aspiring farmers, but some things are exactly the same. ; )

  8. Jerry says:

    It's hard to see the things you say to notice in this picture. It almost looks like the forms are either 4 or 8 feet high, I can't tell. I also can't find the air vent. What is the "other insulation" you're talking about? Do you have a larger scale picture where the details may be easier to see. Thanks.

  9. Hi Jerry,

    The forms are made from 4'x8' sheets of CDX plywood with 2×4 studs. They're on their sides, the 4' high way.

    The studs are on 24" centers although I'm considering changing that to 12" centers by adding more vertical studs for high pours to prevent waving of the CDX. Since we are only doing 2' pours this time at the max it wasn't an issue but the concrete company recommended at least 16" O.C. I have done 4' high walls with 24" O.C. before without any problem but it isn't a huge effort to add more vertical braces so we'll do it.

    The reason the forms are different levels in the photo is that the land rises up around the north side so the forms step upward. We're only using the lower part of the form work for this pour. These forms are reusable, and in fact we have used this same form for the greenhouse and cottage foundations as well as other projects. The 4'x8' dimensions are handy and can be put together along with other 4'x4', 4'x2' and 4'x1' forms to make different shapes. They do not do truly round work though, for that we use forms like we did for the cottage barrel vault [1, 2].

    The air gap is under a portion of the slab so that permanent freezing will not penetrate into the soil. You can't see it since the forms, foil and insulation are all in place. Think of it as a crawl space below the freezer portion. This stops frost action from penetrating downward unlike concrete or foam insulation which would eventually allow the frost to move downward and could then buckle the floor of the freezers. The crawl space / air gap was a 'problem' when I was looking at how to use the old hay shed foundation. Using it as the air gap to stop permafrost was a solution that took advantage of the properties of the problem. As the old saying goes, if you can't fix it (filling in the entire air space with gravel and compacting it) feature it (use it to stop frost action). A good solution that improved the design.

    The insulation consists of a foil-bubble-bubble-foil layer that acts as a reflective (radiant) barrier and a vapor barrier. That link is to a page that shows what the material is. We actually get ours from a local construction supply yard.

    On top of that is pink foam insulation going east-west and then on top of that is pink foam going north-south. Alternating the joints and using two different pink foam layers makes for a better insulating barrier.

    As the project progresses I'll publish more pictures and you can watch it grow.

    Cheers,

    -Walter

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