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Old 03-30-2007, 10:50 AM   #1
BigBobby Male
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Hey,

Could I get some home improvement help from somebody? I know some of you do this stuff for a living...

I'm going to be building the form for a concrete wall this weekend. I was going to do it two weeks ago, but the New England sky decided to dump 12" of snow on me It's all melted now, however.

You can find a link to my building plans here. I don't really *need* to make a wall, as a sonnet tube formed footing would probably be fine, but I've never poured a wall before and I like learning new things. I'm the kind of person that best learns by doing. Anyway, here's a picture of what I have dug out.

I wasn't going to put any form under the asphalt; just let the concrete form to the ground that's there. For the side of the wall closest to the camera, I was going to make a frame of 2x4s, with a piece of plywood on the front to provide a smooth face. I was going to have a couple 2x4s sticking perpendicularly out from the frame into the ground, to hold it in place until the concrete is poured. Anything wrong with my plan so far?

One thing that I'm not sure of, is that I want the wall to stick up 6-8" above ground level. For the side closest to the camera, that'll be easy as I just need my 2x4 frame and plywood to be higher than the level of the ground. On the asphalt side, I'm going to have to build something (out of a 2x8?) that will form the wall above the asphalt. How should I make a seal between the form and that asphalt, so that the concrete doesn't just leak out? Also, I'd like the wall to go right up to that fence post in the picture. If I use a 2x8 to make that little piece of the form, I'm going to have a pretty big gap between the wall and the fence post. Any ideas as to how I could get around that?

Finally, what kind of reinforcing should I do in this wall? When I do footings, I hammer a few pieces of rebar into them right after the concrete is poured. This seems to make my building inspector happy. When you look at people making bridges and stuff, however, they have big complicated rebar structures built before they pour anything. Would it be worthwhile for me to build something like that first?

Heh...hopefully somebody can answer my q's, as I wanna buy the stuff tonight so that I can build tomorrow. Google is usually great for home improvement tips, but I didn't find anything good about walls...sooo...help!

Thanks,
Bobby
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:22 AM   #2
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Hey Bobby,
maybe some of these site can give you the info you need. Base forms are very imporant, so take time to do them right or you'll have big problems down the road with shifting.

Good Luck.


http://www.cooperconcrete.com/doityourself.htm

http://www.handyman.painterclick.com/concrete.htm

http://www.doityourself.com/stry/h2pourconcrete

http://www.ourhouseandgarden.com/Our...rete-forms.htm
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:34 AM   #3
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hmmmmm....I thought that this post was going to be about Pink Floyd or something....jk.

Good luck on the wall Bobby, want to see some pic's when it's all done!
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Old 03-30-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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I am no expert on this, Don would be better to ask. But I would not just let the concrete form to the ground. Every time I have dug and poored footers we have always made a mold. The other thing is when you make a mold make sure you oil the wood so the concrete won't stick to it. If you don't you have a good chance of chunks of concrete coming off your with your mold.

As for the asphalt side, I would only poor a footer first just to the bottom of the asphalt then you can place your mold just barely over lapping the edge of the asfault. You can angle 2x4 against your plywood to hold it using concrete blocks by the fence that is already there. Follow that? block /2x plywood

We have also used rebar for reenforcement in the concrete. They also have a mesh type material that I am not sure of the name that is being used. Again Don might be a better person to ask.
Good luck!
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Old 03-30-2007, 08:23 PM   #5
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Hey Bobby, sorry.....just saw this and of course I'm headed out the door in just a few minutes. If I'm following correctly, speed read your post, you'll do better to have your rebar for the wall all set in place before you pour in the wall, so you can have parallel support running the length of the wall, use tie wire for holding in place . Don't skimp on reinforcement outside of the plywood form, so it doesn't try to bow out as you pour, concrete is heavy of course and thinner plywood will bow like crazy. Depending on the grade of the asphalt, and how you intend to run that 2x form along it....if it follows the surface pretty close you shouldn't need to worry about that much bleeding out between, remove the forms after the concrete is set up pretty stiff but not hard (depending on weather possibly just few hours) and what does seep out will still be workable to just scrape/float even. Really you'll probably have to have a space later to deal with since you'll still be needing to run stakes to keep that form in place anyway.
And just be sure to vibrate the concrete/forms sometimes even a hammer hitting the outside of the forms works fine, so that it all settles down in well without voids.

Hope that helped some anyway, just rushing it..........Gotta fly now.
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:39 AM   #6
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Hey Everybody,

Just to let you all know I've been reading the advice, and I thank you (and toomany, you surprised me)!

I gotta run out myself right now...first I'm going to go to the Home Depot and pick up some rebar and wire ties. Heh...and you know, I may pick up their book on concrete while I'm at it.

After that'll be busy doing the project with lil B as my lil slave laborer. Lol...don't worry, he likes it. I'll post pics when I'm done, and thanks again.

Later,
Bobby
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:39 AM   #7
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Hey Everybody,

Just to let you all know I've been reading the advice, and I thank you (and toomany, you surprised me)!

I gotta run out myself right now...first I'm going to go to the Home Depot and pick up some rebar and wire ties. Heh...and you know, I may pick up their book on concrete while I'm at it.

After that'll be busy doing the project with lil B as my lil slave laborer. Lol...don't worry, he likes it. I'll post pics when I'm done, and thanks again.

Later,
Bobby
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Old 03-31-2007, 09:29 AM   #8
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Definitely let us know how it goes Bobby.
And yes......tomany is really quite knowledgeable about home repairs/remodels.
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Old 03-31-2007, 04:03 PM   #9
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Oh trust me Amy...my metaphoric walls are a million feet high...

As for my literal ones, well, they're getting there. This morning the part I was most confused about, was how you get a rebar structure to stand up and be stable enough that it won't collapse when you dump concrete on it. The HD had some plastic stands, however, that allowed me to make some 5' lengths of rebar stand straight up. I then tied some rebar horizontally across them and made a very solid structure. Oh yeah, I also dug out the bottom more so it's now 24", as I had a couple people suggested making a footing at the bottom (I hope that's what they meant).

As for the form on top of the asphalt, i like toomany's idea as it means I wouldn't have to drive stakes into the ashpalt (which I'd need to repair later). As for not letting the concrete form to the ground beneath the asphalt, I'm worried about leaving the plywood in there after the concrete is poured (I certainly wouldn't be able to get it out). Is it really bad to let it just form to the ground?

Anyway...I spent most of the morning moving dirt and putting in the sonnet tubes. I dunno if any of you read about the big rock I found (it was in the Europe thread), but it ended up going down four feet so my inspector gave me the OK to build on top of it...as long as I tied the concrete to it with rebar. I bought a 12" hammer drill bit (most expensive one HD had, which I thought meant the best) and went to work on the rock with lil B, but I soon learned that a bit designed for an SDS chuck (never heard of that before today) does *not* work in a standard 3 jaw chuck...fortunately the HD let me return it after using it(!), and I bought the right bit...

Uggh...another thing I learned, is that's it's impossible to use a laser level when it's super sunny out. I have a roof that I left intact over what I'm building, and my concrete/posts need to be directly underneath it. If I'd thought more when tearing down the old porch, I would have attached strings to the roof structure so that I could easily locate the stuff as I built it with a plumb bob. Now, the roof is 30ft up and there isn't really a safe way to get up there to attach a string. I have a laser level, however (says it's accurate to 1/4" at 100ft), so I figured I could use it to locate my sonnet tubes directly under my roof. Well, it worked great when I first tried it, but it was darker out then I guess, as I couldn't see the dot at *all* when I tried it today. I'm gonna try again later tonight...

Anyway...thanks for the advice/interest. I'll report more later.

Heh...and lil B is now inside...so cute to see a kid tire himself out carrying 100 shovelfulls of dirt. Maybe after I'm dead and this house belongs to him, he'll look at this concrete and think of me...hope so...

Later,
Bobby
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Old 03-31-2007, 08:44 PM   #10
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Sounds like some good progress. Yeah, laser in direct sunlight is useless but otherwise a very handy tool indeed.
A footer, is primarly to help distribute the weight of the structure/wall above over a wider area to help prevent settling and movement. With a proper formed footing it will withstand more lateral forces also. But it also sounds like this is really just a short "border" wall than anything structural, is that correct?

I just reread what tomany was saying about the asphalt edge, and it could work....just leave rebar up out of the footing for the wall portion to tie into after, and doublecheck all supports for your form prior to pouring. Something I've done at times like to add a step on top of existing concrete for example....to create a stable form I've drilled small holes (nail size) through blocks of wood into the existing concrete (3/16" x 6" masonry bit) and then slip some tie wire down in the hole and drive a nail down in there. The tie wire will help the nail grab so the block doesn't move, this is done with the block positioned flat on the concrete right up against the form (the nail doesn't need to be too close to the form, it's just to keep the block from sliding and allowing the form to bow from the weight of the concrete. Hope that made sense. If I was to do it with asphalt...I wouldn't predrill and just drive the nail directly through the block into asphalt since it's softer. Then you're just patching a little nail hole after in the concrete or whatever.
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Old 04-09-2007, 06:36 PM   #11
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Well, the concrete truck came today. Heh...well, the good thing is I think that I'm done...the concrete's in the ground and it's probably safe to build on. Now the bad things...

I *wish* I'd backfilled more for my wall. It bowed pretty badly; probably 2" in the middle. I was worried about it bowing on the asphalt side, so I really made that part stiff, and it's still perfectly straight. The other side, well...as I was backfilling I was thinking about how I was going to have to dig it all out again later. I got lazy, and now it's not straight at all...

The *really* bad thing. The truck driver snagged my fence with the chute of his truck, and bent the **** out of two posts. I was going bananas trying to get him to stop driving as it was happening...screaming "Stop" and holding my hands up. Uggh...but he just kept going. I really didn't feel like replacing two fence posts on top of this project...

I'm not sure if there's anything I can even do really. I mean, it's not like I buy enough concrete that this company will care about my business if I complain. While it took a lot of labor for me to put in that fence, the cost of the posts are ~$20. Still...it was a crappy thing to happen and I'm still feeling annoyed.

Anyway...the concrete's in the ground. I understand that I'm supposed to put some blankets on top of it, since it'll be below 32deg tonight? That's what the concrete truck guy told me anyway. I don't have a lot of spare blankets, but I have some towels and stuff...I'll see what I can do...

Later,
Bobby
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Old 04-09-2007, 07:39 PM   #12
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Glad you got your cement poured, just a shame your wall bulged but too late now, that cement is heavy stuff and you'll know for next time....if there is a next time for something similar.
As for the truck driver damaging your posts, I would call and tell them what happened. Depending on how they write up a contract you may be covered for the damage. I know some, like roofers, have a clause in their contract that they aren't responsible for damage to driveways from their rollaway dump bins for example, so just read whatever they gave you first but then call them on the damage, that's just not right. It's not really a matter of how much business you throw their way but a matter of they can't just destroy property making a delivery without either a clause in their contract (cheesy but it covers their ____) or repairing the damage.
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:15 PM   #13
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Yeah, that's a positive way to look at it. If I'd paid someone to do this, then I'd have a nice looking wall but I'd have learned nothing. I'd rather have a messed up wall that taught me something.

Although, is it just going to be ugly or is it going to be worse functionally? Is the bowed part more likely to crack or something?

For the fence posts, I'm gonna think about it tomorrow. Right now I'm just pissed off. I do complain about things when what it'll get me is worth the trouble of complaining, but when I decide things when I'm mad I often look back later and wish I'd chilled before taking action.

Thanks for the help though.

Later,
Bobby
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