Around the Bend Strawbale House, Pond and Gardens

May 28, 2007

Filling in the foundation

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 8:16 pm



After the foundation wall is poured, the next 50 plus people that see it say “Boy, it’s gonna take a lot of fill.”  Even the internet hookup guys commented.  Well it did …. loads of sand, and a final layer of compacted gravel.  The Cat sure came in handy, although we spent many, many hours with shovels and rakes as well.  Marianne takes most of the pictures; the boot picture above proves she does lots of the work too.  She keeps going by repeating over and over to herself, “one shovelful at a time, the house will be built….”

May 26, 2007

hi speed internet access is in– blogging will return very soon

Filed under: services — aroundthebend @ 7:07 pm


Apologies for the delay in blogging our progress.  We just got hi speed access.  Dialup was just too painfully slow to update the blog when we were tired at night.  I’ll try to catch up in the next couple of days…. check back soon.

(June 1) I’ve started updating finally.  Since I posted about hi-speed it turned out to be unreliable (“hmmmm, looks like your signal is a bit flaky….”)..  It seems now to be fixed .. though I’m taking advantage of access in Toronto right now to do the updating.

May 24, 2007

More drainage and insulation

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 9:12 pm

33.jpg31.jpg30.jpgfill-005.jpg  The stone slinger returned and covered over the “big O” or “weeping tile” around the perimeter of the building.  The pipe sits on top of the frost protection which allows us to have a shallow foundation, despite the 5 foot frost depth of the Ottawa area.

May 22, 2007

Pouring the frost wall

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 7:53 pm


The concrete pump is back, and Harry is again in Toronto.  He seems to avoid the fun stuff.  Never mind, Allan is in charge. Dennis is putting his muscles into it.  It is heavier than it looks and lots of concrete splashes off the rebar in the walls onto Dennis’ sunglasses and clean tshirt.  A few moments of anxiety about the amount of concrete ordered.. only a bucketful left to pour around the mailbox post.  Another good day for pouring concrete, sunny but cool.

May 18, 2007

Building the Nudura Frost wall

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroundthebend @ 7:46 pm

galmay-097.jpggalmay-098.jpggalmay2-003.jpgSee how nicely the Nudura walls go up. We chose them for their insulating value and ease of installation.  As recommended by the geotechnical engineers, there are two reinforcing steel bars in each 18″ level.  The doorways require special detailing to ensure that we don’t have any exposed foundation in our final concrete floor, and to ensure a thermal break between the floor and the walls.  Allan was full of good ideas on how to do this detailing.  Putting the walls up went very quickly, but the detailing took time.  When we’re done, everything is level to within 1/4 inch!  Allan says, “Margaret, I think these are the sweetest walls we’ve done!”

May 17, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — aroundthebend @ 7:44 pm

galmay-085.jpggalmay-096.jpg A stone slinger came in after the formwork had been stripped from the footings.  The first layer of drainage gravel was spread even with the top of the footings .  The next morning Rosie inspects the quality of the work.

May 14, 2007

Pouring footings

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroundthebend @ 7:32 pm


An exciting day!  Formwork for the footings checks out perfectly level, so we’re ready to pour.  We hired a concrete pump, and with several of us working, we had the job done in less than 2 hours.  Unfortunately Harry had to be working in Toronto that day, so he missed all the excitement!

May 10, 2007

Building footings

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 7:06 pm

galmay-028.jpggalmay-027.jpggalmay-039.jpggalmay-046.jpggalmay-037.jpggalmay-041.jpggalmay-050.jpgBecause we are planning to use Nudura ICFs for the frost walls,  we are required to hire a certified Nudura consultant for the walls.  We were happy to be referred by our supplier Rideau Lumber, to Allan and Margaret, an experienced, fun-loving and hardworking two-some.  They jumped right in and helped us construct the footings as well.  You can see our dog Rosie checking out her new home-to-be.

May 9, 2007

Fill prior to footings

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 6:41 pm


Our property has quite a slope, and here in Ottawa we are required to account for a frost depth of 5 feet.  We looked at different options for how to build.  We started with plans for a stepped footing and wall approach, where the wall at the bottom of the slope would have been around 5 feet high. Another option suggested was to simply bulldoze everything flat and build a massive pad of compacted gravel and then top it with a concrete slab with thickened edges.  We decided to go with excavating just the footings, and adding compacted gravel to the excavation you saw in previous posts.  This way we could build all the footings at one level.  We skidsteered, wheeled and shoveled 5 or 6 truckloads of gravel into the excavation, compacting it layer by layer in order to create a level base for our footings. At the bottom of the slope we ended up having to compact around 5 feet of gravel.  The process was time consuming, hot, dusty, and exhausting, but passed the geotechnical engineers compaction tests.  No building our house on sand…  

 You’ll note our friend Dennis, from Toronto, in one of the pictures running the compacter.  He’s our project manager for a good portion of the build.  He’ll show up in future pictures as well.

May 8, 2007

Essential equipment – Skidsteer

Filed under: Uncategorized — aroundthebend @ 6:24 pm

Harry’s new “toy” received about on time for his birthday. The “Cat” has been very useful for all the materials we had to move around for our footings and inside the frost

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