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Rudy is the authority on foundations. He and his crew are happy to tackle the often challenging and demanding work on them.
After the site of the new building is excavated to the correct grade it is ready for a footing.
A footing is the base of the foundation, it comes in direct contact with the soil. For description sake, a footing is a thickened slab of concrete with a greater width to height ratio. For example, 8 inches high and 20 inches wide. The size and type of footing can vary depending on the kind of building constructed. Soil stability also plays an important role in the type of footing installed.
The footing is formed up using wood planks of the desired dimensions. It is kept from spreading with cross braces, either steel braces are used specifically designed to do the job, or 2×4 lumber can be cut to the proper length and nailed across to serve as cross braces.
Once the formed up footing is in place pegs and/or steel pins are pounded into the ground at the desired intervals to keep the footing in place during the pour. After the pegs are in place the forms are raised to the right height utilizing a laser level. The forms can then be fastened to the pegs or pins keeping the footing in place at the desired height.
Rebar is then placed inside the formed up footing. The amount of rebar used varies depending on the type of footing installed. For example, on a 8 inch by 20 inch footing two continues rows of 10 millimeter bar are typically used.
Once the footing is formed up, and bar is installed, the formed up footing is ready to be filled with concrete. Concrete is ordered from a concrete batching plant that premixes the concrete to the desired type and strength required for the footing. A concrete pump is usually ordered to pump the concrete into the footing.
After the concrete is poured into the footing it is leveled off using a screed. The concrete can be further smoothed out using a mag. Rebar of the desired length and strength, often referred to as “verts”, are then installed vertically at the desired intervals. The verts mainly serve to bind the footing with the foundation wall. The footing is now left to cure.
After the footing is cured enough, the forms are stripped away. A footing left to cure overnight is usually ready to be stripped the next day. The stripped footing is then ready for the foundation walls.
Crushed rock is put into the interior of the footing, and leveled off to the top of the footing to form the base for the basement floor. The rock is put in before the walls are formed up for the sake of convenience and efficiency. It provides a flat surface to work off of, an added benefit when bracing.
The foundation walls are set up on top of the the footing. The footing is cleaned off and the external dimensions are measured and marked off on the footing. Lines are made using a chalk line. The walls are set up with the outside of the form on the chalk line.
We use Superform ICF (insulated concrete form) blocks to form our walls. We find that Superform is the most durable form off ICF block on the market that we have worked with. The ICF blocks piece together a lot like lego blocks. Two advantages of using ICF block to building a conventional basement is that the wall is already insulated and dry wall can be directly fastened to the ICF block without the need to construct a wooden frame up against the concrete wall.
The first row of block is laid down and then a row of rebar is put inside the block in the desired slot designed for the purpose. The next rows of blocks are put on with the joints staggered until the desired height is reached. Rebar can be put in at the desired intervals within any of the rows of block. Windows and doors can easily be formed around with the block requiring minimal scabbing.
Braces are put on to stabilize the wall and keep the forms in place during pouring. Bracing for a wall over 6 feet, are put on before the wall is completely formed up. Brackets for bracing are fastened to the forms. The brackets extend from the bottom to the height of the wall. The braces are fastened to the brackets and pined to the ground with steel pins. Brackets to support scaffolding can be hung on the braces. These brackets are especially designed to work with the system. Planks of the desired width can be placed on the brackets. Once the wall is braced and scaffolding is safely installed the forming of the wall can be completed from on top of the scaffolding.
The formed and braced up walls are now ready for pouring. Concrete is pre-ordered from the batching plant that mixes the concrete to the desired type and strength. A concrete pump is also booked to pump the concrete into the walls. The pump sets up on stable ground. The cement trucks back up to the pump and unload their concrete into the hopper situated at the rear of the pump truck. The pump truck has an extendable boom with pipes through which the concrete is pumped. The boom is elbowed and can be maneuvered by the operator to distribute the concrete evenly. The end of the boom has a reasonably flexible hose that can be manned by a worker,who also directs the pump operator where he wants the concrete to go.
A typical 9 foot house foundation or basement can be poured to the top in a single round without difficulty. The ICF forms, provided they are properly put together, can withstand the pressure of the concrete mixture in a single pour well in height of 9 feet without fearing a blow out. For the sake of a more uniform finish the concrete is poured a distance of up to three feet from the top in one round. The concrete is then vibrated to ensure the concrete flows into every crevice and prevent honey comb from forming. The first layer is topped off and vibrated. The concrete is leveled out on top using a mag. A laser level is used to insure the right height is achieved. A long screed is used to ensure a uniform height. The concrete is then smoothed out utilizing a mag. A “steel” may be used after, for a smoother finish. Anchor bolts to anchor the building to the foundation are usually then embedded into the concrete. The concrete is then left to cure.
Once the concrete in the wall is set, the wall can be stripped. Before the wall is stripped the top plate is anchored to the foundation with the installed anchor bolts. After the top plate is installed there is no longer any use for the scaffolding and the wall can be stripped.
The supporting beams and teleposts are usually installed on the same day the basement is stripped.
Before the foundation can be back filled it needs to be dampproofed, to hinder moisture from entering the structure. Conventional basements are usually dampproofed using a spray or roll on asphalt-based product. Since we specialize in ICF we use a self adhesive waterproofing membrane. Waterproofing is preferable to dampproofing. Dampproofing is designed to prevent water that is not under pressure from passing through the membrane and accumulating on the face of the foundation and eventually passing through. Waterproofing on the other hand is designed to prevent water that is under hydro static pressure from passing through, helping to insure that water is kept out of the basement.
Weeping tile is installed at the base of the foundation circling the outside of the basement. Weeping tile also called perimeter or drainage tile is a porous plastic pipe designed to collect access water and drain it away from the foundation. The tile is run into the mechanical room to the sump pump or away from the foundation into a drainage network. The tile is covered with aggregate to prevent blockage that could occur from direct soil contact with the tile. The foundation is then ready to be back filled.
As already mentioned we use Superform ICF block for our foundations. However for a typical 4 foot garage foundation we also have forming material for a conventional foundation.
In our local area we typically do conventional garage foundations for our customers dependent on a few circumstances. For foundations a long distance from home and out of province we use only ICF.
You will save on material by going with a conventional garage foundation, but will end up paying more for labour, material transportation, and some extra concrete. In the end your overall savings will be minimal.
We have on occasion constructed wooden foundations for some of our customers. If you as a customer should require we can and have experience in the construction of wooden basements. Contact us for more information.
Basement and Garage Floor
Flat work for residential is usually taken care of by Rudy and his crew.
The basement and garage floors are prepared for a concrete pour. The amount and kind of prep work involved depends on the type of floor desired. We typically install a 3 inch floor in the basement. The garage typically gets a 4 inch thick floor. If the customer desires we can install concrete floors with a hydronic radiant in-floor heat.
Aggregate of the desired type is put into the basement. In our case, on the basements that we have installed from ground up, the aggregate is already put in place before the walls are put up. The aggregate is evenly spread out across the basement to the height of the footing giving you about 8 inches of crushed rock.The basement floor gets prepped after the plumber has done his damage. Some back filling and leveling will have to be done after the he has installed the necessary pipes. The leveled off aggregate is compacted using a vibratory plate compactor (plate tamper). Polly is spread out across the leveled off aggregate and secured with tuck tape where required. The poly acts as a vapour barrier. A laser level is used to make accurate marks on the wall to the desired floor height, usually 3 inches above the footing. We normally compensate for this discrepancy by adding 3 inches to the height of the poured concrete wall. Lines can then be chalked the length of the wall at the height of the marks using a chalk line. The prepped floor is ready for the concrete pour.
Prepping the garage floor takes a little extra work. The ground has been excavated to accommodate the forming of the foundation for the garage. Back filling needs to take place. A skid-steer is used to back fill the dirt in layers. The layers are intermittently compacted using a “jumping jack” compactor. Aggregate up to 6+ inches is then spread out with the skid-steer and leveled off. If a floor drain is required it is installed at this point. A concrete form is set up to which concrete will form in the dimensions of the drain. Drainage pipe from the floor drain is installed . The aggregate is leveled and compacted with a plate tamper. The aggregate is sloped down to the drain 4 inches lower than finished floor height.
After the aggregate is compacted rebar can be installed. Holes are drilled into the foundation to anchor the floor to the foundation wall with the rebar. On a typical 4 inch concrete garage pour we us 10 mm rebar at intervals of 16 inches on center each way. The rebar mat is held together with rebar tie wire, tied around the cross joints. Bulk heads are installed by the doors to create a barrier for the wet concrete. The floor is now ready to be poured.
On a floor with hydronic radiant in-floor heat the prep work changes slightly. After the aggregate has been compacted sheets of polyurethane vapour barrier is laid over the aggregate across the surface of the floor area. The floor is divided up into various heating zones. The amount of zones depends on the size of the floor. The reasons for the zones is for even heat distribution. Tubing for conducting the heated water is installed.The tubing is laid out across the polyurethane sheets starting at the heat distribution point. The tubing is threaded back and forth across the designated zone spaced evenly at the desired intervals then back to point of origin. The process gets repeated for each zone. Once the tubing has been placed the concrete reinforcement material gets put in. Instead of using 10 mm reinforcement bar as in a typical floor, we usually use wire reinforcement mesh. The sheets are overlapped and placed across the entire surface. 10 mm rebar dowels are put into the foundation at 16 inches on center, this helps insure the finished concrete floor is kept from shifting. The floor is ready to be poured.
Concrete of the desired type and strength is pre-ordered from a concrete batching plant. The Concrete is delivered to the site in mixer trucks. In the case of a basement pour the trucks unloading chute is guided through an opening in the foundation such as a window opening. Wheel barrows are utilized to deliver the concrete to the desired place. In a garage floor the trucks (being rear unload) are backed up as close as possible to the building. Wheel barrows are also used to deliver the concrete to the correct spot until the chute can reach. The concrete is then unloaded directly off the back of the mixer truck, the chute is guided by a labourer who also directs the driver in the truck when to move ahead. The concrete gets raked flat and to approximately the right height. The edges of the floor against the wall gets leveled to the finished floor height indicated to by the chalked lines with a mag. Screed lines are made to the finished floor height. The concrete is screeded with a “screed board” to the finished floor height, using the screed lines as a guide. The leveled concrete gets sealed and further smoothed out with a concrete float. The concrete is then left to cure.
After the concrete is cured enough, usually when cured enough to walk on, a motorized walk behind trowel (power trowel) outfitted with snap on floating shoes is put on the slab to work the concrete. The edges need to be worked either by hand with a mag or with a powered walk behind edging trowel. The slab gets floated a few times ensuring a flat slab. Once the floor is set to much for the floats, the floats are taken off of the power trowel (the floating pan off of the edger) to expose the steels. The steel blades work the slab into a much smoother finish. The floor is worked over till the desired polish is reached. The spots the power trowel and edger cant reach are touched up with a hand trowel.
Driveway and Sidewalks
We pour typical concrete driveways and also have experience with exposed aggregate and stamped slabs. The description bellow is of a typical sidewalk/driveway pour. For more information on exposed aggregate as well as stamped slabs contact us.
Driveway and sidewalk prep and pour are not that different from a basement or garage slab. The area to be formed up gets excavated if necessary and leveled off. A layer of aggregate gets put in, leveled, and compacted. Forms are set up, usually 2×4 forms. The forms are set in the rights spot, then pegs or steel pins get pounded in serving to keep the forms in place, and secure them at the right height. Reinforcement bar is put in to increase strength and help keep the concrete from shifting and thus cracking. The prepped pad is ready for the concrete pour.
The desired type of concrete, as with the other pours, is ordered from the batching plant. The concrete for an outside pour will have different admixtures, like air, to account for the drastic fluctuation in temperature and climate, not to mention the frost and extreme cold in winter. The concrete is poured directly into the formed up area from the back of the truck. It is raked level, the outside of the forms are tapped to release air bubbles and make sure that there will be no honey comb. The concrete is screeded of to the height of the form. The slab is then bull floated to seal off the top and further smooth it out. The bull float is used a few times. A round edge is put into the concrete using a hand held edger. Wet cuts can be put in with the proper tool for the contraction joint (control joint). The contraction joint insures a controlled crack along the joint should one occur. Once most of the bleed water has evaporated the slab is either floated again or gets worked over with a steel. After the concrete has been floated/steeled for the final time and it is appropriately set, the concrete is given a broom finish. The slab is edged once more with a round edger, and wet cuts are put in for the final touch up. If necessary or desired, a sealer can be applied to the finished slab.
If the control joints are not wet cut, we wait till the slab is cured enough to prevent excessive crumbling before we cut in the control joints. The slab gets divided up appropriately and marked off with chalked lines along the cut line. We have a walk behind soft cut saw designed specifically to perform these cuts. Cutting in the control joint after is more advantagous and fool proof in ensuring a good finish. It also gives your slab a more wholesome and clean look.
Adolf along with his experienced crew take care of the framing . His words: “Framing is the exciting part of construction, its where the building takes shape and you can begin to visualize what the finished project will look like”.
It is our aim to be accurate and efficient, not just the fastest framers. It is critical for the framed structure to be square and level. We put in sufficient bracing etc. according to code or exceeding code.
The Lumber and other materials used for framing are ordered from a local supplier, who delivers them to the construction site. The trusses are ordered from a supplier according to the engineered design, they are pre-built and then delivered to the site. The necessary equipment used for framing like a telehandler are brought on site. The tools for framing are kept in a cargo trailer outfitted to accommodate them. After every thing is together the trailer is hooked up to a pickup brought to the construction site and the framing can begin.
Here is a basic description of what happens during framing. First the floor trusses are set on and fastened to the top plate at the desired intervals. Next comes the sub floor 4X8 sheets of OSB or plywood sheets of the desired thickness are fastened on top of the floor trusses.
The framed structure rests on top of the sub floor known as platform construction. The walls are usually framed lying flat on the floor. Studs are spread out at the desired intervals and nailed together to form a frame, blocking is put in, the frame is squared and outside wall sheathing is fastened to the frame adding rigidity as well as the base for the outside finishing material like siding or stucco. The framed wall section is then raised, put in place and fastened to the sub floor. Each section of wall is put together this way.
After the walls are framed up, squared and leveled the roof trusses are put on. The trusses are delivered using a telehandler. Employees at each end place the rafters, spacing them correctly and fastening them to the top of the wall. Bracing is put in as work progresses to stabilize the rafters. With the rafters in place the roof sheathing is put on. OSB or plywood sheets of the desired thickness, according to code or exceeding code, are used for the sheathing. The sheathing provides rigidity as well as the base for the roofing material.
The roof can be framed on the ground in sections complete with sheathing. The sections are then raised on top of the walls with a crane then fastened. This way of assembling the roof is usually done on houses with taller then average walls or where the roof is of a considerable size. Mainly out of a concern for the safety of the workers. A good amount of time is also saved on larger structures using this method.
Eric is the one that takes care of the exterior finish of the house. He installs the decks and is adept at installing decks with aluminum railings.
Above are some examples of work that we have done in our exterior line of work. We hire sub-trades to do the stone facing that you see on the chimney, at the base of the columns in the photos, and often see in the front of a garage. An example of our own work is in the pictures above, middle-right, there you see the picture of eaves and a column. The eaves and column have been done with wood work. The soffit is of cedar plank.
We take care of the window installations, siding, soffit, fascia, and all the particulars that go with the job.
A quality exterior is needed to protect your home, which involves more than just putting on siding. House wrap goes on first. The house wrap is integrated with the window flashing keeping the water away from the house. To protect the structure from water damage the correct flashing needs to be properly installed both above and below the windows. Where the structure gets penetrated, proper flashing is also required. We install aluminum soffit and fascia. Vented soffit is used which is important for proper attic ventilation.
LP SmartSide Trim is a popular and durable choice for window and door trim.
James Hardie Siding is the siding we specialize in.
Aluminum soffit and fascia is typically used, it is relatively maintenance free and can be ordered in a variety of colors.
Eric is in charge of the roof instillation. He manages the roofing crew.
Type of roof installations:
- new construction
- Euroshield rubber roofing
- asphalt shingles
- standing seam metal roof
Re-roofing: we completely tear off of the old product and dispose of it before we install the new product. After the tear off we check for wood rot on the roof deck and make repairs as needed.
When we perform new construction roofing we follow the specification from the builder for details on underlay, venting, amount of nails per shingle, valley flashing, etc.
The following description is standard for both new construction and re-roofing.
We install roof edge around the perimeter of the roof to protect from driving rain, ice and/or water back-up. In most cases we use an ice+water membrane along the bottom of the overhanging eaves for our underlay. This membrane keeps water from penetrating the roof deck in case of water back up from an “ice dam”, it also seals around nails and fasteners used in the installation of a new roof. To complete the underlay system we use a synthetic woven underlay serving as a secondary protection and also serves to protect the roof deck during the shingling process.
For a quality install we prefer to use Malarkey and Owen Corning roofing products. We install asphalt shingles with 6 nails for extra wind resistance. Sufficient attic venting is an important factor to the life of the shingle, insufficient venting can cause the attic to overheat and the shingles to curl up. To counter this, vents are integrated into the roofing system. We use a ice+water membrane in all the valleys. We install proper metal flashing where the roof meets the wall. Ridges are capped with 3-tab asphalt shingles.
A “standing seam metal roof” is perfect for low slope roof applications, and makes for an aesthetically pleasing roof.
Euroshield rubber products go into a higher price category, but have a much higher wind and hail rating. Living in southern Alberta it may be a good option for long term benefits and low maintenance.