Friday, September 30, 2005

The first slab

We decided the first building would be the studio . It would be my office, our bedroom and kitchen. We had a great place in the trees and the site looked almost level. so we cleared the spot for the 22 by 28 foot slab.
Since we had purchased enough standing seem roofing for all of the first 5 buildings we had to plan our building sizes around the length of the roofing in combo with where a building would fit within the trees.

An after thought, A word about trees: We have learned that if you want to do rain water collection ,you really need your roof to be away from trees. The leaves that collect on the roof affects the color /quality of the rain water. This is something we did not know or think about until after we placed our first two buildings, this building and the one we started in a few months. The other thing about trees is they seem to fall down with out warning sometimes. We have had several on the property just fall to the ground with out any signs they would do this. So we now make sure the buildings are not too close to older trees for this reason.

And a word about recycling: We have found a wonderful guy who is in the recycling business because he likes to help people and he wants to help the Earth. He has found us wonderful building materials at a fraction of the cost of new. But keep in mind that you have to build around what you get. So we purchased 15' and 20' lengths of standing seam roofing, thus the width of the studio with keeping the trees untouched in mind.

When we first started collecting we took everything anybody would give us. Some of that we have ended up giving away just because we realized we would never use them (like toilets) hollow core doors ect)
So now we try to really think if we are really going to use it, other wise we would have a rotting junk yard!

So we hired a crew to pour the slab, which I am glad we did because cement has a way of getting away from you , meaning it sets very quickly and you have to know what your doing to work with it that fast.
As you see there was a lot of guys at the right time to put the cement in place.
What we did not know was there are OK ways to set the forms and the best way to set the forms. The bid I got was for the former way. What they did was level the ground before they set the forms which was an added cost to us above and beyond the bid to do the pour and set the cement. He brought in a clay mix which is not the best material for a slab to set on, it expands and contracts too easily with the change of weather. The other problem is , a slab should be poured on undisturbed soil. So the best forms are set at grade, up to floor level and down into the ground below the freeze line.

We also had to re-enforced the floor with a lot more re bar than they had set in the forms, we knew by the time we discovered it was not enough strength they would be long gone. (We were able to do this because they set the forms on a Friday which gave us the weekend to put in more re bar before they poured the cement)

We are very happy we did this even though we decided to not continue this as our first building because it gave us a solid dry ground to store our shop items. And with the extra cement we made large stepping stones. Which we have made very good use of.