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Old 09-16-2015, 10:37 PM   #1
nebben
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Default Making the neighbors love me.

I started back in December (Girlfriend out of town. Starting demolition without approval). It turns out breaking up concrete is pretty easy. Breaking up a very lightly constructed concrete foundation is...harder. I resumed demolition in July and sold all of the aluminum roof panels for scrap. I came out ahead after selling the metal scrap even after renting demo-hammers. Awesome.



Early this summer, I got plans drawn up and approved with the city for a 20x24 detached garage that will replace our 14x26 brick single garage. The new one will have a drive-through door in the back and some large windows for natural light. I'm a brewer and like to brew year-round, and having a bright garage to work in when it snows will be good.

The roof structure came down with some light persuasion and some old fabric straps that I found in the rafters. Everything was hauled away in my little truck. The bricks came down one by one; by hand. The reasoning is because our lot is pretty narrow, and the garage was about a foot or less from the neighbor's patio/driveway. I've been going forward with the mantra "I've got more time than brains or money", and as such, I used a masonry chisel and a small sledge to take most of the bricks out. My girlfriend's brother recommended an air chisel, which was so amazingly cheap at harbor freight. $15 is definitely in my budget, and I was a little bummed out after discovering such a tool towards the bottom 1/3 of the walls. The bricks were full of all kinds of crap; fiberglass rats' nests, hornets, old newspapers (with classified ads with cars like a '46 ford "nearly new with 800 miles") and money bags. I've always thought that we would find treasure in the property somewhere. My heart sank when the money bags proved to be empty. Still cool, nevertheless. All the bricks were given away and hauled away by whoever would get them. It proved to be much cheaper than doing the dumpster thing!









I found a guy in the local news' classified pages who runs a Bobcat for $100 an hour and does haul away. I couldn't make the math work for a skid-steer and a dumpster rental to this was easy. He came out and hauled away as much as he could fit in his 8 yard trailer and ran loads while I ran his demo hammer and broke up the foundation into sized chunks the tractor could pick up. Luckily there was no rebar. Hells yea.

The "more time than money or brains" approach has been going slow, but it is definitely coming in far less expensive relative to the demo bids I had from last summer.

After the site was cleaned up and down to dirt, I swung a landscaping axe a couple times and decided to hell with it. The dirt is dry, and I have video game skills. How hard can driving a tractor be? I'm a smart guy, and I've got tons of hours in video games from my youth. Totally. The next day, I rented a mini-excavator from Home Depot. Now, I've never driven anything more than a lawn mower as far as off-highway vehicles go. It took about 2 minutes to get the thing off the trailer, and I severely beat up said trailer in the process (the bucket ... I kept raising and then smashing it down while trying to retract it). Rentals are awesome for that. I got some practice with the micro-machine (mini is a bit too large of a word for this thing) by digging at the stump that needed to be removed from the site. It took a long time, but it came out. By then, I had the coordination down and could dig in straight lines while not hitting the neighbor's fence, the chickens, dogs, girlfriend, etc. All too soon, I had to return it since I was going out of town for work the next day. Some impulses are too hard to fight. Digging machines...are...so...awesome. This micro-machine did tip over a couple times though. That wasn't as awesome. I'm sure my neighbor is loving every minute of this!



Got back from my trip and immediately the next morning I rented another one since I hadn't quite gone deep enough for the footers. This next one was a bit larger and had a roof. Nice. It also was heavy enough to stay upright and not tip over while scraping at the dry rocky clay. NIICE. A childhood dream realized in the name of "saving money."



As of right now, we're comparing bids for the concrete work that will hopefully start early next week.

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Old 09-16-2015, 11:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

It's at the point of the big hole in the yard, where I went "oh, this was a very big mistake." It's more fun filling the hole back in with foundation. Well, work, anyway. The framing part is fun.
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Old 09-17-2015, 03:18 AM   #3
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

I am surprised that the city would let you build so close to the fence/lot line. (did you survey to find the actual lot line ?) Usually you have to keep the old foundation to be "grandfathered" in on any exceptions.

Also, it looks like the eaves will be over the fence and I don't know how you are going to put siding on you new garage.

Other than that, GREAT PROJECT, GREAT PROGRESS !!
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Old 09-17-2015, 01:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

1' setback is the minimum that is required. It is hard to tell from the photos, but the lines reflect a > 12" setback from the actual line that is just on my side of the chain link. The footer will be ~ 6" from the line. The eaves can be up to 8" from the line. On the opposite side of the street, garage roofs actually drip ontop of each other since they're original or rebuilt on existing foundations and grandfathered.
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:20 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.


After much trimming in the hole to get the walls nice and straight, we called the inspector and got the footers poured. The garage will have our new electrical service entrance on its rear, and we'll run underground to the house across the driveway. I've started digging for that, but it's all by hand since a trenching machine couldn't cope with the existing piles of dirt and it sort of tore up more of the driveway than any ditches. Oh well.

Hopefully we have an electrical trench inspection and ufer ground check on Monday, and we'll get walls later that day. We've been accustomed to working with shmoe contractors, so we figured that this would take much longer to get the concrete going. The guy on it now is great. Working with professionals is awesome.

Last edited by nebben; 10-01-2015 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 10-01-2015, 10:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Waiting for the comments now... Where are the rebar caps?!?!
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Old 10-02-2015, 11:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

This was hours after the pour. They roped off the site behind where this was shot. Today, they have caps on and are putting in forms for walls. Progress!
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Old 10-02-2015, 03:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

You've made this pretty entertaining. Keep up the good (cheap) work.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Forms for the foundation are done. Ufer ground will be added in this spot as well later today.
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Old 10-07-2015, 01:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Subscribed
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Old 10-07-2015, 03:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

I'd keep those money bags make for an interesting story or see if there is a collector for them.
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Old 10-07-2015, 04:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Subscribed.
Looking forward to the rest of the adventure.
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Old 10-07-2015, 06:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Where are you located? Can you ad that to your profile? Makes it easier for us to cook up area specific advice when you ask. Our knowledge is encyclopedic and free for the asking and worth every penny.
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Old 10-08-2015, 12:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Subscribed. Looks like a great project and i wish you luck.
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Old 10-08-2015, 05:08 PM   #15
nebben
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Yesterday morning we had an inspection for the foundation walls and rebar. He said it was looking like real good work and he would be back next time when we were framing. It turns out we have a ton of inspections to go. I asked and he mentioned at least this many: driveway/slab (he bemoaned that the city wants it done, but he doesn't care for it), shear wall, drywall/firewall, framing, roof sheathing, final, electrical trench, electrical rough, service disconnect/reconnect, electric final. ... If the city is paying these inspectors a reasonable living wage, I don't see how they aren't losing money on my permit. My neighbors must be subsidizing my building inspections to some extent with their tax dollars

I came home for lunch to let the dogs out and stretch, and to admire the work that was going on. I'm not sure what happened yet with the concrete, but as I pulled up to the house a truck was just leaving and the grout pumper trailer was getting cleaned up and packed up. Up on the site, they were smoothing out the tops of the walls and putting bolts in. On the SW corner, they draped some tarps on the forms and it was clear that there was a slope on them...like they were heading downhill to the S. After about 45 minutes, another truck showed up and they did a few wheelbarrow loads and finished that corner. I don't know if the first load had been underestimated, if it had to leave for some reason, or if the pumper was done for his commitment and had another gig. It all got poured eventually though.

By the time I got home in the evening, they were gone for the day and the top of the mud had already set up. Sorry for the potato quality picture- it's a pretty broken phone.


Last edited by nebben; 10-08-2015 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 10-08-2015, 08:59 PM   #16
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

The crew came by and took their forms off today. I can't believe how bright the concrete looks, and there are no bubbles as far as I can see. This is why although I loathe hiring people to build stuff for us, having someone do it so well like this is worth it. Maybe I'm changing my mind. ... as long as I can rent an excavator again, it's worth it.

The footer trenches were pretty narrow- just wide enough to hold a 2x4 form with plywood on one side and concrete on the other. Now, the dude wants the forms out from the depths of the concrete and gravelly pits. Hmm... I'll have to add up and see which is cheaper- doing all the dirt leveling by hand and buying him wood for new forms, or renting a mini-ex again and hauling them out with a chain and saving my arms and back in the dirt moving.

Whatever. My partner hates digging in a sense. She loves digging to put plants in the garden, but when it's a garage and the dirt is full of rocks and debris...it's like when I go to TJ Maxx or shopping for clothes or something. 7 minutes and whatever motivation I had upon starting that trip is gone. So I'll either dig by hand and push the dirt around, which I find somewhat therapeutic, or rent a mini-ex, which is just bad ass.

We'll see!

Today's progress:



I'll schedule an electrical trench inspection tomorrow for Monday, which should give us enough time to dig that across the driveway and do some dirt smoothing above it. We have to find a way to get rid of some dirt though... hmm...
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Old 10-08-2015, 09:46 PM   #17
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

Good luck will be following this along,

I'm also a member of more time than brains or money club!
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:08 PM   #18
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

The garage has been on-going, but I've been less enthusiastic about posting progress reports. It's how it goes I guess.

Back in October after the last post, our task was to pull our contractor's forms out of the bottom of the trenches next to the footers. I'm still not sure why our contractor didn't pull them out a few days after the footers had set. In retrospect, this was ridiculous that he didn't do this. Whatevers. We got two out of three removed by hand, but with one of them, it came out in a million pieces. They were made of re-used billboards, advertisements and all on the slick side. Not a huge loss- just lumber and garbage. I buried the last one at the front of the garage since I was pretty pissed and it was hot as hell outside (october was hot. ). He came by to check out how we were progressing on leveling/compacting fill and warned strongly that it was a bad idea to leave the form buried. Why he didn't remove it when it was 2 day old concrete, or before him and his boys knocked dirt down on top of them when building the forms for the walls...who knows.

One mini-ex later...



I tore up the form that was resting >36 inches below grade and smiled about it. I think I may have just lost a parking spot in the garage for the truck...the mini-ex will need a home when this is all done. I also found a stump that I had lost back in September when we started digging. Everything got cleared, much wood (lots of tiny pieces!) was unearthed, and I had a good time. The garage floor now was leveled. I also dug up the driveway in front of the new garage and installed conduit in the trench there.



A day later, my in-laws came back to town and we treated them to a 160 pound thumper compactor therapy session that lasted about 5 hours. We really packed down a lot of dirt around the stemwalls, and kept going until the dirt would move no more. We learned quickly that if the dirt is very dry and sandy (NE corner), it does not compact; instead it puffs up and gets in your eyes and mouth. Shortly thereafter, we learned that wet dirt/sand just squishes out and flies up into your eyes too when the thumper goes over it. Shortly thereafter...call it 30 minutes after first hitting dusty sand, we learned what the exact right consistency needs to be for the dirt to compact and not splatter up. This life lesson will not be repeated.

We rolled a few yards of 3/4 minus rock up to the garage floor and raked it around. Ten minutes after we were done doing manual labor for the day and started eating dinner on the patio, our contractor showed up to set up some chalk lines and make sure it was ready for the next day's pour that was slated for 7AM (surprise!). He wanted some more rock here, some less there, some more dirt removed here...etc. We put dinner on hold and went out to the pad to do more dirty work. During this process, my beloved dogs ate a grand-sized papa johns pizza and a box of wings. They definitely didn't earn our treat that we had just started to eat. The dogs got a talking to and we all finished up at the garage by 9. The ensuing dog gas attack was severe.

At 5:45AM Friday morning, a pump trailer showed up and started getting ready. I guess a diesel truck's idling engine doesn't count as "work" because that's what happened starting at 5:45 (I would add an exclamation point, but 5:45AM is so early nobody should yell, let alone do concrete work.). I rolled out of bed and started helping them out with hose connections, and directing the contractor's kids around who just showed up to work. The hoses were all hooked up and we had a dozen men and boys running around the driveway and the pad site. at 6:30AM, the concrete truck showed up. Our street is middle-aged, and the Norway Maples on the sidewalks are mature and aren't quite as tall as a mature concrete truck. Several branches falling to the street later, we had two diesels idling in the street. It turns out turning concrete at high RPM while parked doesn't count as work too. At 7:00:00 on the dot, they dialed everything up to 11 and the cement flowed uphill. All the trucks were done by 7:45 and they were out of there by 8:30. Ha! Just another reason why our neighbors love us.



By 10:30, everything was smooth, and they did a scree (?) smoothing by noon.



The kids (teenagers to 20'ish) on the contractor's crew cleaned their tools in the driveway section that I just barely filled in two days before and hadn't compacted yet. I think my truck may have needed a winch to get out of it. Pallets = good foot bridges over mud. The lesson about the compactor not working in mud also applies here.


Last edited by nebben; 01-05-2016 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:26 PM   #19
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The mud droplets fly about 10000' into the air (the ones that aren't shooting right into any eyes within 50') when the thumper runs over wet dirt. Wet dirt also compacts like...one of those memory foam sweedish sleep systems. We could rest assured that after compacting one part of the muddy mess, it would push up mud somewhere else a-la-yellowstone and its natural mud-spitting geothermal splendor. It was a little like baking- we just kept dosing the muddy driveway with drier dirt and compacting until the mud wasn't shooting everywhere. It was still spongy. Arg. Rain was forecast for the next several days. Great.

Days later, the pools were gone but it still felt spongy after compacting it for a half day. I called John'D'Bobcat (bobcat may not be his real name, but he goes by it!) and he came out a few days later and did his skid-steer magic. $200 later and he hauled almost four yards of fill to his trailer, compacted the dirt some more, and smoothed the dirt out with surgical precision in preparation for concrete the following week. He even spread gravel all about and smoothed it out. I highly recommend John'D'Bobcat if you're in the Salt Lake City area. This guy is awesome. I didn't ask if he could pop my beer with his bucket, but I'm sure it would have been included in the price since he is so good at this.



Driveway next week.



...and driveway'd



Within 6 hours of this image being taken, the neighbors' son's dog ran right through it. Our neighbors might love us, but we love them too. Love them a lot!

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Old 01-05-2016, 12:35 PM   #20
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Default Re: Making the neighbors love me.

The cars fit!

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