Around the Bend Strawbale House, Pond and Gardens

June 5, 2007

Fill is done!

Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 8:22 pm

Yes, we needed a LOT of fill!  And a lot of shoveling, raking, leveling, and compacting.  But finally, the frost walls are filled in with compacted fill!

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 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 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.

April 26, 2007


Filed under: foundation — aroundthebend @ 8:24 pm

stumptopsoilexcavatelooking southlooking east

We hired an excavator to do the heavy lifting of digging out tree stumps, stripping topsoil and clearing out the less stable silty soil.  In picture 3 Harry is measuring depths of the dig, reminiscent of work he did for the City of Edmonton Parks and Rec department in 1982.

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