Pouring the Concrete in the ICF Walls, April, 2004

We poured our first ICF walls in April. We started with the cabin walls, and we could not have had worse weather! It was about 40 and raining, hard. We were all cold, sore, and wet. After the pour I took everyone to the buffet at Kentucky Fried Chicken. We got a lot of strange looks walking into the restaurant so wet and dirty, but we sure got our money's worth of food that day!

We were also very nervous about pouring concrete into the walls. We were afraid that the pressure of wet concrete would break the styrene forms. This is called a blow out. We were also afraid the weight of wet concrete and the force of it coming out of the hose would force the walls to lean. But, the pour went very well.

Like we did for the concrete floor slabs, we added fly ash to the concrete in our walls. We ordered 3500 PSI pump mix concrete. For each yard we added two fifty pound bags of fly ash. As I explained on Step 7 of this diary, fly ash makes the concrete stronger, pour easier, and cure more slowly. Because we did not reduce the portland cement, the strength of our concrete was increased even more than I planned. Another factor increased the strength of the concrete in our walls. If concrete is kept wet it cures slower and it gets much harder. The styrene forms are excellent vapor barriers, keeping the water in the concrete for a much longer time. To learn more about fly ash, see this page: ISG Resources, Inc.

To keep the walls straight during pouring we devised a system of wooden braces. Two two by fours screwed together were attached to the styrene wall frames, from the ground up to the top. A diagonal brace was attached to the two by fours above the walls, and out to a stake driven into the ground. To make the wall straight we placed a bubble level gainst the wall and force the two by fours in or out until we got a level reading. Then we would run a screw through the diagonal brace and the stake outside. The entire bracing was outside of the house, so the concrete pumper could wheel scaffolding around the entire home. We also ran two by fours along the tops of the walls, inside and out, to tie the foam wall together, and to protect it at the top during pouring. All of this lumber was stripped off after the concrete set up, to be used again for bracing, wall studs, etc.

After the walls were poured, the concrete was troweled to the level of the boards, and anchor bolts were set into the concrete.

A couple of weeks later we poured the walls of the first level of the house. The weather was much better. Here the pumper is pouring concrete into the top of the wall forms. Down below, Brian of Georgia Mountain Concrete is making sure the forms are holding up to the pressure. If there was a bulge, he would call me and I would run over with bracing. We had very little problem with this, only a few very slight bulges.

In this photo you can see the walls getting ready for the second level concrete pour. The ICF forms are in place. The bracing is not yet finished.

(These will be updated throughout the project).
Back to the Diary Home Page
Step 1, Purchasing the Land
Step 2, Designing Our Own Home
Step 3, Our Septic Permit
Step 4, Our Insulated Wall System
Step 5, Cutting Lumber from Our Own Trees
Step 6, Plumbing Before the Slab is Poured
Step 7, Pouring the Concrete Floors
Step 8, Pouring Concrete in the ICF Walls
Step 9, Framing the Wood Walls, Floors, and Roof
Step 10, Installing the Windows
Step 11, Roughing in Plumbing and Electrical
Step 12, Insulation
Step 13, Roofing Our Home
Step 14, Finishing the Cabin

I have friends in the construction industry who are very interested in this home. In appreciation for their assistance, I would like to give them credit for their help, and give you the opportunity to contact them. The following list will be updated regularly:

-Bonnie our helpful realtor can be contacted by EMAIL or by phoning her at 800-871-1910
-Tony of A&L Construction did the clearing, excavating, and sawed lumber from our trees. He can be reached at 828-835-9926.
-Pete is a very good part time carpenter. You can phone him at 828-479-9458.

Would you like to see this project under construction?
Come to the next Mountain Home Show, and you will get an invitation to our open house.
For more informaiton, click on the link to "Detailed information about the home show."
If you are interested in building, you may also be able to make an appointment to visit.
Click on "Email Richard" to make an appointment. Or perhaps you would like to observe the construction of this home on line.
Click on "Construction Diary." You are welcome to visit often as we continually update it.

How to Contact Richard C. MacCrea
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800.738.8781 P.O. Box 446, Murphy, North Carolina 28906

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