foundation layers

i know, i know….i really shouldn’t be sharing all this wonderfully exciting news so soon in the project!  JK, but….these details are critical to long-term building performance and durability.  its important stuff, it costs A LOT of money, and we’ll never see it again once its all buried!  the series of following photos describes the layers:

4″ diameter PVC radon vent piping being installed in layer of 3/4″ crushed stone which lies on top of about 3′ of compacted gravel as (we had to over excavate inside the foundation due to some questionable existing soils – fortunately, we had good, hard, native soils at the footing level). the stone layer has sufficient voids to allow air movement. if the indoor air quality test (after construction) indicates unacceptably high radon levels, then an exhaust fan will be installed on the other end of the vertical pipe (in the attic) to create a negative pressure under the concrete slab and exhaust that nasty radon to the outdoors.

lots of pipe!  the larger diameter pipe laying on the stone is the radon vent piping (described above).  the rats nest of smaller white pipe with the vertical legs is the waste (sanitary sewer) piping.  as you can see here, most of the plumbing in this house is concentrated in the same area.  of course, to make sure the water flows downhill, the sewer pipes must be properly pitched to drain toward the front of the house, under the foundation wall and then head toward the street.  the sewer pipe in the street is reported to be 12′ deep!  so, no real concern about pipe pitch.

this cool photo was taken from atop the excavator (with my iPhone and fisheye lens attachment – very cool recent b-day present from my client!).  it shows all the pink insulation (6″ rigid insulation/R30) below the slab.  all the pipes and stone (shown above) are now buried beneath the insulation.  next up is the poly vapor barrier, wire mesh, radiant heat tubing….THEN, the concrete slab will be poured.  the slab will eventually be stained & sealed to become the finished floor.

i hope you took notes. there will be a quiz!

363HOUSE featured in MAINE HOME + DESIGN

363HOUSE featured in MAINE HOME + DESIGN, August issue, at newsstands now! Check it out and go to the last page. There, you will find the 363HOUSE design presented as The Drawing Board feature.

yeah, pretty cool, huh?!

footing excitement!

yeah, i know, another exciting photo of the foundation (this is the garage foundation). but i kinda like the composition and the colors!  and, there’s some good stuff to look at here.  1) nice presentation of the footing drain (the white pipe) with crushed stone and filter fabric wrap. mucho importante for managing subsurface water around the foundation.  2) its a very handsome concrete footing with vertical rebar (with the cool orange plastic hats!) and keyway – groove in top of concrete to further anchor the forthcoming concrete foundation wall.  3)  coil of blue pipe is the 1.5″ diameter water service (from the street).  typical water pipe size is 1″, but we need bigger to provide water to the city ordinance-mandated fire sprinkler system!  not all bad since jessica feels safer/more secure knowing that the house will be well-protected against fire, especially since her ability to exit the house could be impaired if she’s not up and about in her wheelchair.

to date, we are VERY pleased with the performance and quality of work being provided by our site work contractor, GLB Construction LLC (George Barstow) of Westbrook and Dave, the foundation contractor.  the plumber???? well, not so much.  ryan the plumber was scheduled to start monday morning.  instead he called me to say that he was quitting BEFORE he even started!  good news is we found a replacement who i’m pretty sure is better for about the same cost.  am hoping he can start next week, so we only lost a week.

ah, the joy of building!!!! 😉

ICF foundation

foundation walls were poured on wednesday.  the foundation system is ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms) perimeter frost walls and concrete slab-on-grade for the first floor.  the ICF walls consist of 6″ thick, reinforced concrete wall sandwiched between two layers of 2 5/8″ rigid foam insulation.  the foam blocks (yeah, kinda like big LEGOs) are stacked and reinforced, then pumped full of concrete.  the resulting R-value is 22.  this wall system also provides very effective insulation at the edge of the concrete slab (which contains radiant heating).  so, our battle against heat loss during the heating season will be very effective.

this coming week will see installation of all sub-slab utilities, 8″ layer of crushed stone layer with radon ventilation piping, 6″ of rigid insulation, and poly vapor barrier.  then, next week the slab reinforcing and radiant tubing will be installed and concrete slab poured!  slowly, but surely, we are making progress.


at LONG last, something that resembles building!  ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms – R24) foundation walls to follow this week….sub-slab utility rough-in next week….pour slab the week of july 24 (or, so we hope!).  then, arrival of the SIPs building shell and triple-glazed windows in early to mid-august.  so, by end of august we could (should?) have a building shell!

discussion of foundation details, especially in reference to energy-efficient design and construction methods forthcoming.


….is a virtue, or so the saying goes.

FINALLY, we have experienced something resembling forward motion on the construction front!!!!  foundation hole is scheduled to be dug tomorrow. footings could be poured later this week.  so, we should have more to report in the “going forward” category soon!

BTW, if you haven’t already, visit jessica’s gimmeshelter blog to see some dirty photos!!!!