Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big house, little house

It's interesting to watch the new house rise up out of the ground and it will be great to move in when it is finished. The new house is certainly bigger than our current residence, but with the hole dug and the foundation exposed it looks particularly big. Interestingly though, the footprint of the new house is not that different than the house we demolished. In fact, the living space on the main floor of the new house is about 200 square feet less than the former house. Even counting the garage, the footprint of the new house is only about 200 square feet bigger than the footprint of the former house. The difference, of course is in the second floor, which is where the additional space is added.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Foundation poured

On Thursday or Friday, they poured the concrete for the foundation walls. They removed the forms on Friday.

Forming the basement

Last Thursday, they formed the basement.


weeping tile and stone fill

Once the footings were poured, weeping tile was placed around the footings and a stone slinger deposited stone fill all around the footings in preparation for the concrete.

House Demolition

Thanks to our neighbour, we now have some pictures of the demolition.


Friday, October 15, 2010

concrete footings poured

The footings for the house were poured yesterday. Today, they had hoped to install the weeping tile around the outside of the footings, spread stone around the footings and erect the forms for the basement walls. However, with all the rain today, things were delayed. As you can see from the photo, some of the plumbing has also been installed.

Engineered fill creates a firm base to build the house on

As I mentioned in my previous post, the soil under the old house was quite loose and full of organic material. From what I have been told by neighbours, this area used to have a stream or an underground stream running through the backyard and may also have been a floodplain for the Ottawa river long ago before the entire area was developed. That would certainly explain the large amount of organic material in the soil - it was almost like peat.

So, to ensure that the new house would not settle, the builder had to remove all of the organic soil until they reached undisturbed mineral soil - about 60 cm below the level of the bottom of the footings on the new house. Then, about 160 metric tonnes of engineered fill were dumped in the hole, spread and compacted to create a firm flat surface to build on.

Now the surface is ready to build on and the next step is to pour the concrete footings.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

kitchen design

Inspired by the online design contest, I have put together a "storyboard" of our proposed kitchen. I could not get everything exactly right, but it's close. Our cabinets have less red in them and are more of a chocolate colour than those shown in this photo. Also, our proposed floor will be 12" X 24" tiles in a shade somewhere close to the grey shown in this picture.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Soil troubles

With the old house removed, the site engineer had a chance to inspect the soil on which the new house will be built.

According to Mike Holmes, builders like to take advantage of millions of years of natural compaction by digging down to earth that has not been previously dug up and tamped down. If they don't do this there may be problems with shifting. The foundation has to take the weight of the house, but it also has to stand up against the pressure of the earth around it; if a foundation is going to shift, that pressure is what will cause it.

However, once our old house was removed it became apparent that it was in fact built on loose soil with lots of organic matter in it. No wonder the old house sank in one corner. In fact, I watched them dig up the soil in the corner where the old house had sank, and it was black, stank like sewage and contained logs.

In other words, when they built the original house in the 50s, they did not bother dig down to undisturbed soil and furthermore, it looks like they just piled in old trees and other junk to fill up the space. As this organic matter decomposed, it created a void and the house sank. While further sinking is not usually likely in an older home, given the amount of organic material I saw in the soil, it would not have surprised me, especially after we added extra weight to the house with an addition. All in all, I feel a lot better digging the whole place up.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Here today, gone tomorrow

Demolition of the house began on Thursday, and they wasted no time. The entire house was gone by the end of the day. Unfortunately, we do not have any pictures of the demolition because we were both stuck in meetings all day and could not find time to get down to the house while it was being demolished.

These pictures show the house with all of the wood and mechanical material gone, but the foundation is still partly there. At least the concrete slab and some of the foundation walls are present. Today, they removed the remaining material.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Living room design

Recently, I came across an online design challenge among design bloggers. The challenge was to come up with a living room design for under $6000. Some of them are pretty creative and show that you don't necessarily need to spend oodles of money to create a pretty decent look.

Check out each designer's response to the design challenge at the links below:

Services capped, permits in hand

Yesterday, the gas company finally came and shut off the gas, the city came and took their water meter out of the house, and Uniform dug up the sewer line and capped it. All of these are prerequisites to getting the building and demolition permits. With those out of the way, Uniform was able to get the permits today.

Uniform is now trying to organize the contractor to demolish the house, and they hope to begin demolition on Monday or Tuesday.

Below are two pictures of the beginning of construction. The first taken earlier this week and the second taken Thursday.