You mean the foundation comes before the house?

I know, I have been posting way too much about the (slow) progress we have been making on the deluxe deer stand.  Sorry but that’s been a large part of what we have been doing lately.  So, we have been digging and concreting and cussing like mad to build a foundation under our already-built house.  Originally, we built the place on a post-and-pier foundation and that will remain the true foundation but we decided to add a traditional foundation (sort of) to give us some storage under the place and to cut the wind/cold in the winter.  So, we have been adding footers and new concrete block walls.  The first day of concrete, Emily and I mixed around 3200 pounds of concrete which I had to carry, bucket at a time, from the mixer (electric…thank goodness) to the footer form we dug/built.  We double handled the weight and that was a drag…

Messy shirt after pouring concrete
I was a mess!
Storm coming in on the cabin
Isaac was more inspiration that perspiration

Those of you who know about foundations know that the footer is traditionally poured in one pour so there are no joints. That was not an option for us and since this isn’t a true foundation (except we are building it to spec aside from the joints), it should work for us.  We will have a few cold joints but they will be connected by rebar and buried well below the frost-line.

Grandpa laying concrete blocks
Emily’s granddad…87 years old and hardly slowing down!

Emily’s grandfather, Emily and I set the corner last weekend.  The corner blocks have to be level/square/plumb and can be a pain the the hind-end.  So, it took us 5 hours to lay 5 blocks (also, see cussing mentioned above…there were a few missteps), but our corner is excellent!  Emily’s grandfather is 87 and worked every bit as hard as we did.  He slung block around and stood in the ditch all day helping us get things right…it was amazing!

The rainbow had to be good news!
Laying block
Emily cleaning up the joints

This weekend, Emily and I went back and laid 50-some more blocks and got the bottom third of the footer above grade.  I have to tell you, if I had it to do over again, I would definitely build my foundation before the house.  I am still quite pleased with the post-and-pier foundation but traditional foundations should definitely be built where there is plenty of room to work!

Laying block
We got a lot done before we finally stopped

Setting block is tough work and I cannot wait to have this part done.  It’s hard and I wish I had dishpan hands!  Concrete is hard on my delicate digits!  I’ll show some more details of how we plan to enclose this bottom part later but I promise to get off of this kick for a little while…bear with me?

10 thoughts on “You mean the foundation comes before the house?

  1. Looks good so far. And you had perfect weather for laying block. Yes that lime is rough on the hands, next time use plenty of hand lotion before and after playing with cement. And if you didn’t post so often, how would you get these little helpful tips?

  2. I obsess about how I’m going to build things around here, and then I go look at how some other local structures are built. There is “right”, and then there is “pretty good unless there’s a huge tornado”.

    If it was just skirting, one option would be to just frame off of the posts and use marine plywood… but it might be nice to have the cement up against the outer load-bearing perimeter anyway, to prevent any sag over the years.

    Or… you could maybe combine those things, and do some posts down to the stem wall you have on the outer perimeter, just to beef up the support there where the load is, and then cover the upper portion with plywood. I’m surely not recommending anything, just an option that occurred to me that would probably work.

    I always remind myself… if I wanted to follow the formula, I’d go get a loan for a McMansion, work till I was 65 to try to pay for it, and have a heart-attack at 54 like dad did. Oh… wait a sec…

  3. GW – no kidding! We have been hitting the lotion for sure and it helps…sort of!

    Ron – You nailed on the head what we are going to do…we are only blocking up a row or two above grade then adding a framed wall to do some support (in case of sag over the years). We will cover it with T-111 or rockboard of something…not sure what exactly yet…Anyhow, I always like to hear thoughts…

  4. Do you have rattlesnakes in West By God Virginia? I think of that everytime I have to crawl under the family cabin in Arkansas which is built atop a block wall like yours. I’ve never seen one but I can’t help but think that it will only be a matter of time.

  5. I actually like to hear about the deluxe deer shed! I do feel sorry for Emily though. I get drug into jobs sometimes too.

    And all that snake talk up there? Just STOP IT now please.

  6. Woody – Me too! Honestly, he and wife’s grandmother are both incredible…you would never guess they are as old as they are. I only hope I am as lucky!

  7. I have loved watching y’all build this fancy deer blind. Mostly it’s just a testament to deciding to do something and doing it. Thanks for sharing the progress!
    SO VERY COOL that Emily’s g’father is out slinging blocks with you young whipper snappers! Please ask them their secret and pass it along!

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