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Lakefront Log Home Project: Log Home Diary Entry #19, Excavating and Laying the Foundation Pt. 5

Weather-related construction delays threaten to significantly stall our bloggers' project, but savvy planning and a little luck help get things off the ground.
by George and Marlyn Curnow
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Excavating and Laying the Foundation — Part 5

Log Home Diary Entry #19

Credit: George and Marlyn Curnow image | Open Space

Before the sill plate and floor joists for the first floor can be started, the basement floor needs to be poured to hold the support posts. Also, in preparation for the first-level floor joists, our builder ordered a steel beam for our garage, as we didn’t want support posts for the floor joists to interfere with the garage space. The foundation and support posts in the walls dividing the living area from the garage will hold up the

beam and another glue-laminated (glu-lam) beam in the non-garage half of the basement.

Our builder quickly made arrangements for the concrete to be poured at a time

when the days were getting shorter, the temperatures colder, and winter was beginning to close in. A concrete crew had started this way when a call came in to them and our builder. The concrete plant had frozen up, and it was not able to mix the concrete for us or anyone else. Days passed, weather closed in, and snow started falling (not a lot, though — after all, this is southwestern Virginia, and we weren’t expecting a freakish winter like the prior year).

With snow covering a gravel driveway with some terrain, the concrete company was reluctant to risk heavy concrete trucks possibly sliding down the embankment and ending up in the lake. It would do it if our builder would accept liability for any damage. This isn’t a normal risk for a builder to cover, so he was understandingly reluctant. Consequently, we are at a building standstill.

So, what does this delay mean? Even if a gravel driveway is plowed, there still remains a coat of snow. Do we wait for the snow to melt? It could be spring.

After no movement for days and days, our builder came up with an alternative plan to get things moving. We agreed that he would dig down to the footers previously poured and put in the steel support posts that would normally sit on the concrete garage floor. This would mean more work and a support system to stabilize the posts while the first-level floor joists were started. But it was a plan to get things moving.

This plan required extra-long steel posts. No supplier had them in stock at this time of year, so they had to be special ordered, creating another building delay. After about a week, the posts arrived.
Now, you can probably guess what happened next. That’s right — the snow melted, the concrete plant was running, and they were ready to send trucks.

So, we went ahead and used the extra-long posts. The concrete trucks arrived in a very timely fashion, and the concrete crew did a beautiful job. The added benefit was that the tricky extra work to start without the floor in place didn’t need to be done. Also, at this time of year, we were warned of the possibility of small cracks that could follow the sanitary drainage pipes under the floor. The change in weather apparently fixed that possibility, and the floor is absent even the smallest crack.

Although more time has been lost, another hurdle has been cleared. And now, we’re looking forward to the first sounds of saws and hammers.

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