Digging for the Piles

Our Kitchen Reno Part 3

Digging for the Piles
Digging for the Piles

It’s been an interesting week.

The project is on schedule and we are fortunate to have a contractor who works on a job until its done before going off and working on his next one. Jerry from Weide Construction and his helper Dave have been great.

As you can see from the pictures the bobcat came into the yard without doing the damage we were expecting. The lawn has already recovered. There’s just one bush that we had to sacrifice but I suspect it will come back. The digging of the 12 foot deep holes was very easy because what came up was not clay but sand. Apparently this area is on a natural sand base. This is good for two reasons:1. The sand ensures that we have good drainage for our foundation and2. The contractor expected to have to have the excess dirt from the holes removed but this stuff was so good we just levelled it over the whole area.Once the holes were dug the concrete piles were poured. The contractor then built the forms for the short walls. These were attached by rebar to the concrete piles. The concrete truck came back and poured the concrete into the wall forms.

Preparing the walls for the concrete
Preparing the walls for the concrete

Apparently the building codes have changed to require not only straight rebar but shaped rebar that is suspended on the angle. This is to ensure that the concrete does not crack. It was raining lightly on the day they did this. Because there was no way for the truck to get into the yard they had to bring the concrete in by hand using a wheelbarrow. I can’t believe how strong Dave is.

The guys weren’t around for the Friday so my husband and I got to work insulating the ground. Yes you heard right. This is supposedly an old technique that helps to keep the frost at bay so that your floor is nice and warm – especially when you don’t put a full foundation.

What you do is dig down to the base on the concrete footing and clear a space that is the size of a sheet of 4 x 8 rigid foam insulation. The ground must be level. Once everything is straight you lay the sheet of insulation on the ground and then cover it with dirt. Thank goodness we only had to dig down about 8 inches.

We placed sheets of insulation all around the new foundation. This will stop the frost from moving into the area directly underneath the foam so the heated partial foundation will stay toasty warm. What a job – I don’t do well in heavy heat and boy it was warm that day!

Once the walls were poured the guys laid sheets of heavy duty plastic on the sand followed by rigid insulation and sheets of pressed wood. The walls will all have rigid insulation and the wooden walls will be 2 x 6 and filled with batt insulation. On top of that the floor gets laid. I’m concerned about the heating ducts – the space is pretty small for the heating company to come in and do their work.

Laying the floor
Laying the floor

Once the walls were up the guys built a frame for the floor on which they put sheets of wood. The frame is basically like building a deck. On top of that the walls will be attached. Jerry hopes to have the walls and roof completed by the end of this week barring any lousy weather – and there is rain on the way. I’m looking forward to seeing our new Mission style door get hung.

On the weekend a concrete coring company cut through our foundation to create a hole for the heating pipes to get through. The foundation is quite soft. In 1912 they mixed concrete with sizable pebbles unlike today where the rocks are crushed for better adhesion. Again we were told this was going to be a messy job but again it was minimal.

Back inside the kitchen I took off layers of paint to expose the wallpaper underneath. They just didn’t believe in removing the wallpaper before painting the walls. (See the picture at the end of this post). I also have some great “before” pictures that were taken while the Bell family lived in the house. Perhaps I will post these later.

I took our dog Taffy to her “fur-dresser” and she looks sleek and sexy again. She’s gotten used to the noise and now looks forward to visiting with the guys. She loves the attention they lavish on her.

Wallpaper beneath the layers of paint
Wallpaper beneath the layers of paint

So far this has been a great experience. We still have our stove and a free standing sink with running water so we’re good.

2 thoughts on “Our Kitchen Reno Part 3

  1. Dear Johanne
    I hope you are surviving the kitchen reno- and Im so glad to hear that Taffy sees the workmen as friends now.
    I am enjoying reading about the transformation in your home…uneven floors and all. I know it can be stressful…but just remember, with each passing day, the end of the project gets nearer.
    I read the article on your “temporary” kitchen with great interest..what kind of material did you use for countertops? Do you have any suggestions for countertops in Arts and Crafts style? This summer for us, its the building of the new garage. Over the upcoming winter months we plan to start cutting and marking the new cupboards for the kitchen reno. Like you, we are buiding our own cupboards, and will likely use birch plywood as well. (Although I have seen some truly lovely birds eye maple that is suitable for cabinetry work).
    Just remember…one day closer to being finished!

    1. Thanks for the kind words. The original kitchen had a steel counter top in the baking area and butcher block on the small 15″ counters. We simply put arborite on the counter in the temporary kitchen because we did not want to spend the money – we knew we would be demolishing the works soon to put in a new kitchen. When all is done I will post pictures of all three kitchens.

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