In January 2012, we finished phase 1 of what will eventually be our basement built out of ICF (insultated concrete forms). We have been enjoying being in our own home but are so excited to finally be expanding it! Now we are onto our ICF phase 2 – basement expansion.
For a chronological listing of our building projects with ICF (or insulated concrete forms), be sure to look through the ICF Building Index.
During my absence from Cultured Palate, we did some work you don’t know about yet so, let me fill you in before I share what we did last week!
Working on the Concrete Pad
Last November (2013) we began phase 2 of our ICF home . This involved digging out around the existing basement walls and pouring 16 feet concrete pads on 3 sides. These 3 sides were to have ICF walls erected which would provide the supporting structure for the first floor. The main living floor will be phase 3. We also poured a 20 ft concrete pad which will be covered by a deck and act as our carport.
Here is another photo of the concrete pads before the whirlybird finished the concrete to a smooth finish.
Now that you are caught up, I have some really exciting progress to share with you. Last week, we stacked and poured the walls for the basement expansion! We have more than doubled our living space but much of it will be work space for John, his tools and storage space for our freezers, bicycles and …
In fact, once the expansion is dried in, we will move everything from the shed (which was purchased as a kitchen hut for a catering business I decided not to pursue) into the new space and get rid of the shed. While it has been a blessing to have the storage space, it will be a blessing to move it – OH happy day!!!
Laying the ICF Blocks
ICF or insulated concrete forms provide high insulation value and when tied together with rebar and filled with concrete, they are very strong structurally. You can read how we started the basement walls in ICF First Course Completed to find out exactly how we laid them. They snap together like adult size legos. I think they bring out the kid in all of us!
We began on Tuesday building the bracing out of 2×4’s screwed into an “L” shape. The bracing is screwed into the wall and into the ground to provide support for the weight of the concrete until it is set. We also built window frames and door frames out of v-buck.
And finally, that afternoon we laid the first course of ICF blocks.
Almost Done with the Blocks
The great thing about ICF is that everyone can be involved – it is a family affair!
The second day, Wednesday, we finished the ICF block walls complete with window and door placement.
At lunchtime, as you can see, much of the wall was completed.
By now, it was hot and we went inside to lunch. And then, this happened!
Yes, the wind picked up while were inside feeding our faces and this wall fell down – UGH!
The moral of the story: DO NOT leave your ICF block walls up without bracing in west Texas because you never know when the wind will begin to blow!
Thankfully, the wall was rebuilt in a relatively short period of time, and this time, with bracing!
The Walls are Up!
The concrete pour was scheduled for Thursday afternoon. The morning was spent with final preparations. Checking the bracing, leveling the walls and adding patches (pieces of plywood screwed to the ICF for added strength during the pour) on the wall for weak spots.
Filling the ICF Blocks with a Pumper Truck
As with our other ICF buildings, we used a pumper truck to carry the concrete from the cement truck to the top of the walls.
As you can see, we used a 2-boy-powered scaffold which carried John around the wall. He filled approximately 3 ft of concrete as he moved around the walls. This was repeated going around several times until the ICF walls were completely filled.
In the photo above on the left top of the walls and in the photo below, you see poles sticking out of the top of the walls. These are actually long pieces of rebar that will be used to tie the next level to this one making a strong structure.
Also, in the photo above on the right side you see the existing Thermo Plastic Olefin (TPO) roof. TPO is a durable plastic roofing material for flat roofs. We will be using something similar to it once the expansion roof is on. This is a temporary roof until we add the upstairs. It covers and protects the sub-flooring for the main living level.
You can see below that the concrete comes out of the long hose from the pumper truck. Since the concrete is being pumped through the hose, guiding and moving it requires quite a bit of strength. As you might imagine, John was a bit sore the next morning.
Finished with the Concrete
After a long day, finishing clean-up around 8:30pm, we enjoyed a beautiful west Texas sunset.
The Walls are Finished
The next day, the bracing was removed – now, you can see the walls without the bracing! Now the first step of ICF phase 2 – basement expansion done!