header-photo

No Ways

Well, last weekend TJ, Mike, and Hal finished up all the remaining support work in the basement. The new beams, the new columns, and most of the pea stone dispersement... if that's a word. At this point, the floor can be poured.

I've elected Mike to call the floor man... mostly because I'm sick of trying to catch up with these contractors. And they all treat me like a girly girl. And they're impossible to deal with. Plus, Mike met this floor man when he randomly stopped at our house and said he'd do it for a low low price... which would be cool. So why should I call him? I don't even know him. There - I've rationalized it.

It's also come to my attention that people read this blog. Which is, I suppose, a good thing, because I had a very nice dinner and a very nice time at the drive-in movies over the weekend - thank you very much, loyal reader for your contribution to my sanity.

If any others of you want to contribute to my sanity, just leave me a nice happy comment.

Now, back to the show.

Mike has decided now, after talking to Hal, that he doesn't want to do radiant floor heat. I guess the lime in the concrete eventually corrodes the copper pipes and you have to inject silicone into the entire system. That, plus the cost and the difficulty of repairs kinda sealed the deal. When we finish off the basement in the next few years, we'll put in baseboards like we did in the rest of the house.

Speaking of which, we should spend that radiant heat money on the second heating zone in my upstairs that still isn't done. Winter is coming fast. Just a thought.

Also, after dispersing the pea stone, we have a lot of it leftover, which is awesome, because we wanted to create a gravel driveway in the space next to the garage where we park the boat. Now I just have to make my stone retaining wall to hold in the dirt. (Right now it's just a gross washed out 'ol sand hill.)

Does anyone out there in BlogLand know how to make a rock retaining wall? I'm using regular old rocks... my old fieldstone foundation. Do you sculpt the dirt, then stack the rocks, put concrete behind them to make them stick, and then pour dirt in to hold them up? What's the method? Does anyone know?

3 comments:

Paul said...

How high does the wall need to be? If it's only 2-3 feet you can get away with a dry stone wall (= no cement), but much higher and you'll need to stick those rocks together.

Here's a site with some tips for a dry stone wall: http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/dp_stone/article/0,2037,DIY_13792_3676900,00.html

kitrainia said...

Thanks for the site! I'll check it out - yeah, the wall (or lack there of at the moment) is arch shaped. And at the middle of the arch, it's got to be a good 4-5.5 feet. Which is, thinking about it now, pretty high.

Thanks!

Paul said...

That makes it a bit more complicated. It would be a lot easier if you wanted to build it using some of those pre-formed concrete blocks--but it would also be a lot more expensive and personally I don't like how those walls look. But they do make it simple.

Here's the (very) basic procedure for a stone wall:
1. Dig a level trench for the base of the wall. For a "wet" wall you'll need to dig below the frost line. (Dry walls that sit on top of the earth can move with frost heaves, but concrete will crack.)
2. Pack down a layer of peastone/crushed gravel/sand/etc. for drainage and to level the base of the trench.
3. Start laying rocks. I don't have any experience with concrete, so I don't know how much to use or the best way to apply it.
4. I think it's easiest to lay a full course (row) at a time and then keep adding courses. Use large rocks on the bottom courses, which will be buried. With dry walls, every few feet you should turn a rock so it sticks back into the earth you're supporting (the weight of the dirt on these stones helps keep the wall in place), but I don't know if that's necessary with concrete. Probably not.
5. Angle the wall slightly back into the dirt that it's going to support. You definitely don't want it leaning out--the weight of the dirt will push it over.
6. Try to fit the stones together as neatly as possible, packing the empty spaces with small rocks.
7. Save some nice big flat rocks for the top course to make it look tidy.
8. Backfill with dirt as you go, and try to pack it down into the back of the wall as tightly as you can.