The 57 acres that comprise Cedar Ridge Farm are located in the beautiful rolling hills of South Central Kentucky. My wife, our four children, and I are on a homesteading adventure as we work toward increased self-sufficiency. We grow much of our own food and enjoy being in touch with the agrarian roots of our lives.

One of the major projects we have undertaken is the building of our own home. The house we're building has three major distinguishing features: 1. we're building it without incurring any debt; 2. it is a timber frame structure; and 3. the exterior walls will be plastered straw bales. We live debt and mortgage free, and building our house with that approach makes perfect sense. Large timbers in a home possess a beauty and project a sense of strength, stability, and warmth that we want in our home. Straw bale walls provide insulation and make ecological sense. This blog is a record of our home-building project.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nearing the end of foundation work

The foundation has taken a lot of work and time. I didn’t realize how much before I started on the root cellar and crawl space walls. We’re nearing the end of this phase of the construction, crawl space wall

With the footers poured for the kitchen crawl space wall and the porch piers, we were able to get blocks laid last week. The kitchen wall was dry stacked. We should be able to coat it with surface bonding cement this week. There has been a delay in obtaining a few bags of SBC because the local place no longer keeps it in stock. Dry stacking does seem to go fairly quickly, and it’s easy to do, including surfacing the walls.

Porch piersI mortared the blocks for the porch piers. I was going to dry stack them, too, but I wanted to try mortaring them. They turned out pretty well, I think. We took time to make sure the outer edges were in line and that the piers were level and plumb.

On Friday we added some thinner blocks to the top of the piers (which were constructed with 12” x 16” blocks) to bring them to the proper height all the way around. The solid blocks in 2”, 2.5”, and 4” are 8”x16”. So, we scored and broke them to 12” to fit on the outside edges of the 12” blocks. Then, we mortared them in place.

I want the piers to match the foundation walls, but I didn’t want to pay for surface bonding cementStuccoed piers (Quickwall costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $23 per bag). So, I bought some mortar/stucco mix to coat them with. We started stuccoing them on Friday.

The stucco mix works a little differently than surface bonding cement. I think the SBC is easier to apply. But, after a couple of piers, Jon and I were beginning to get the hang of it. We have only a few more to do on one side and the back of the house. These are the shortest piers. So, they shouldn’t take too long to finish on Monday.

Along the east side of the houseWe also added a few more j-bolts to anchor the sill plate to the foundation wall. We ought to be able to mill the plates to the right thicknesses this week and get them put on. Then, we’ll progress to framing the porch.

We’re looking forward to beginning a new phase in the construction.

1 comment:

L.Howerter said...

Love seeing the progress you're making on the house! I am excited about seeing the finished product of all your hard work!