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Julie Moriarty
06-02-2018, 10:29 AM
Our neighbors razed their house and are building a new one. There are some things they do here they don't do up north when building houses, like lay tons of rebar and build with cinder block. But when it comes to concrete and brick or block walls, I don't think those rules change.

We've had a lot of rain lately. The footing trenches looked like rivers. When they poured the footings, many of the trenches were still filled with water. Up north, that weakens the concrete.

Up north, once any concrete structure is poured, you have to wait a minimum of 7 days before loading it with anything. Yesterday, two days after pouring the footing, they were laying block. When the neighbor stopped by, I asked her how high they were going. "All the way I hope!" I told her typically you only lay 4 feet in a day. "We build things different here," she said.

Mike Cutler
06-02-2018, 10:44 AM
Different doesn't necessarily mean better. ;)

Stan Calow
06-02-2018, 10:45 AM
Maybe so they're easier to raze.

Tom M King
06-02-2018, 11:42 AM
I have actually earned this t-shirt.

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/BH0AAOSwSypY-2Ga/s-l225.jpg

Frederick Skelly
06-02-2018, 12:19 PM
Yup, sounds pretty crappily built.

Sounds like you were careful in how you raised it, Julie. Thanks for being considerate like that - not everyone is. We had a guy from Colorado that just wouldn't shut up about how much better it was there. So one day I suggested very bluntly that he move back, if was so crappy here. He didn't much care for that. But it gets old.

Marshall Harrison
06-02-2018, 8:04 PM
Different doesn't necessarily mean better. ;)

Different doesn't necessarily mean worse either.

Mike Cutler
06-02-2018, 8:13 PM
Different doesn't necessarily mean worse either.

Very true my friend. It just means different. It all depends on the building codes.
My response was more flippant than I intended. Apologies.

Patrick Walsh
06-02-2018, 9:42 PM
I would say in this case sounds like different did mean crap...

Marshall Harrison
06-02-2018, 10:07 PM
Very true my friend. It just means different. It all depends on the building codes.
My response was more flippant than I intended. Apologies.

No apologies necessary.

Perry Hilbert Jr
06-03-2018, 11:11 AM
I moved to PA in 1998 from an area that had very strict building codes to an area that was just talking about getting a building code. Contractors were not licensed and anybody with a $300 station wagon was a home improvement contractor. I handled a few construction cases over the years and knew a precious little about code requirements. The glaring errors and shoddy stuff I saw was just mind bending. I saw brand new house roofs with sway backs within 2 years. Saw guys high nailing shingles, back fill outer grade above the wooden frame sill etc. Even major builders were doing things I knew was wrong. Steps without railings, closets too shallow to use full size clothes hangers, door sills so off level that you could see daylight under one corner of the door. Then PA finally got a building code AND required contractors to be licensed and bonded. Suddenly there were not enough building inspectors and every college kid that could not get a job took a weekend course and instantly became a construction inspector/expert. Suddenly any out of the ordinary building method was being rejected. One fellow down the road built a straw bale work shop. No way would they approve it. After almost a year of arguments, he changed the name of the building to an equipment shed and then it was alright and approved for agricultural use only. He still operates his shop in it. I have also seen post and beam construction joints that were approved but were far too weak to hold the loads placed on them. Part of the building collapsed after a snow fall. My neighbor had a deck built by a contractor. It is 12 ft by 20 ft and the side away from the house foundation is held up by too few 4 x 4's. The code inspector did catch it and failed it pending the replacement of the supports. The contractor also only put a 30 inch high railing around the deck. That is no where near high enough for what I would want. Don't know what code is.

Jerome Stanek
06-03-2018, 11:21 AM
I used to install CVS drug store fixtures and casework and I ended up having to get a contractors license for West Virginia to work there. Years before I did remodels for Revco drug Stores and when I was in West Virginia anything went. I was surprised at how things changed in just a few years.

Julie Moriarty
06-04-2018, 12:55 PM
Some of the construction methods here are certainly different than in the Chicago area but, as has been said, that doesn't mean one is better than the other.

When it comes to water in the footing trench however, it always means weaker concrete, everywhere on the planet. But if you pour the concrete stiff enough and there isn't a lot of water, the presence of water may not be an issue. However, when you use a pumper, you can't have a really stiff mix. That being said, unless you do a compression test, you will never know the strength of the concrete. I didn't see any samples set aside. You see that all the time on commercial sites but almost never on residential sites.

I think my neighbor's comment about laying all the block in one day was just she didn't know or she misunderstood me. Her husband is a builder and she's heavily involved and on the building sites a lot so I thought she would know. I know she's anxious to get the house built. She's been talking about it for years.

Since the block was laid, there has been no additional courses added. Maybe practices here see the first few courses of block to be one with the footing. If a week goes by before they load the stem walls, then maybe the two are considered one when it comes to curing.

Today they are filling the voids in the block where rebar protrudes. They took a lot of care to make sure the rebar ended up dead center in the fill. I always see care taken as a good sign. No other work is being done. At first I thought the 5 courses of block included wall that would be above the floor level. But pockets cut out in the block on the 5th course tell me they stopped laying block at the first floor level, about 40" above grade. If they will wait the week, fill under the slab and and pour it, then begin laying block again, I guess that means the footing and first few courses of block are considered one unit.

Jerome Stanek
06-04-2018, 1:35 PM
Some of the construction methods here are certainly different than in the Chicago area but, as has been said, that doesn't mean one is better than the other.

When it comes to water in the footing trench however, it always means weaker concrete, everywhere on the planet. But if you pour the concrete stiff enough and there isn't a lot of water, the presence of water may not be an issue. However, when you use a pumper, you can't have a really stiff mix. That being said, unless you do a compression test, you will never know the strength of the concrete. I didn't see any samples set aside. You see that all the time on commercial sites but almost never on residential sites.

I think my neighbor's comment about laying all the block in one day was just she didn't know or she misunderstood me. Her husband is a builder and she's heavily involved and on the building sites a lot so I thought she would know. I know she's anxious to get the house built. She's been talking about it for years.

Since the block was laid, there has been no additional courses added. Maybe practices here see the first few courses of block to be one with the footing. If a week goes by before they load the stem walls, then maybe the two are considered one when it comes to curing.

Today they are filling the voids in the block where rebar protrudes. They took a lot of care to make sure the rebar ended up dead center in the fill. I always see care taken as a good sign. No other work is being done. At first I thought the 5 courses of block included wall that would be above the floor level. But pockets cut out in the block on the 5th course tell me they stopped laying block at the first floor level, about 40" above grade. If they will wait the week, fill under the slab and and pour it, then begin laying block again, I guess that means the footing and first few courses of block are considered one unit.

Funny you should mention Chicago because when I went there to install CVS's the electricians Told me this is Chicago and we do things right. They did not want to use the cabling that came with the fixture they wanted to run their own even though it was up to code according to the inspector. The carpenters union didn't want to acknowledge our national agreement either had to call our local and have them explain it to them that if Chicago would not acknowledge us then Cleveland's would deny the carpenters that were working on the Rock and Roll hall of fame. Boy did that change their minds.

Art Mann
06-04-2018, 10:31 PM
It is often necessary in bridge building to pour concrete entirely under water. I have been told it hardens more slowly but is stronger when submerged. I don't know if that is the material they were using in this case but it isn't necessarily compromising quality.

Bill Dufour
06-05-2018, 12:33 AM
I grew up in California and I have never seen a foundation other then poured concrete with rebar. Yes they do build commercial buildings with block but the foundations are poured in place to above grade level.
They quit making block houses after the 1950's. Most block houses I have seen are small and cheap looking. I think they dropped them when they started to insulate the walls in the 1960's. I have seen a few mansions made of cast in place concrete in California made in the 1920's -30's. All of those that I know about where made by concrete contractors or paving companiesnot really home builders as such.
Of course there are those oddball older ones where they just laid two redwood logs down in the dirt and called that a foundation. The house next to use was built during the depression. the guy just laid red brick down on the ground. then put redwood 6x6 on top and that was his foundation. It lasted for about 50 years before it burned and they tore it down.
Bill D

Eric Keller
06-05-2018, 10:42 AM
Here in Central Pennsylvania, it can be a struggle to get people to build things to the standard you want. They adopted the international code, so I assume things have gotten a little stricter. I know there was at least one builder that built to a higher standard that went out of business during the 2008 downturn. The real estate market didn't really tank here, but nobody was building.

John Stankus
06-05-2018, 12:46 PM
Some of the construction methods here are certainly different than in the Chicago area but, as has been said, that doesn't mean one is better than the other.

When it comes to water in the footing trench however, it always means weaker concrete, everywhere on the planet. ....

Actually, curing of concrete is a chemical process. If the concrete drys out it will not cure properly.

Here is a paper comparing wet cure and dry cure of various concretes showing the wet cure having higher compressive strength.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360132306002113

Now that being said, since it is a chemical process it takes time to complete. Rule of thumb is about 28 days as I understand. So they should have let it cure longer.

Here is the Portland cement association talking about how the compressive strength develops (and that it needs to be kept wet during cure).
http://www.cement.org/learn/concrete-technology/concrete-construction/curing-in-construction

Now, I can see where up where it gets cold having a limitation due to the possibility of freezing causing the concrete to break up before cure due to water's expansion on freezing (why ice cubes float).
There is a demo that you can buy from some of the educational suppliers, that is a cast iron ball with a fill plug. You fill it with water, put it in the freezer, and the expansion of the water on freezing breaks the cast iron.

John

Jason Roehl
06-06-2018, 7:28 AM
Maybe they used hydraulic cement? Cures underwater.

Perry Hilbert Jr
06-06-2018, 7:55 AM
One guy two miles up the road, built his home on pilings like beach construction. Well the execution didn't anticipate the base or depth of the pilings and the whole thing started to wobble north within 12 months. So he quick built a concrete block foundation around the exterior to hold the house from further racking. Except that where the pilings on the south side stuck out to the foundation line, he built up the block in between and then sawed off the pilings so he could finish the block wall. As it is the house is visibly canted from one side to the other. Maybe 2 inches over 40 ft. just enough to be noticeable from the road. So he put up a fence to prevent folks from seeing it from the road. I can just imagine what a real estate agent would say about possible resale.


Different doesn't mean better, but it does not necessarily mean the " same or better" either.

When my house was built, there was a circuit added after plans but before completion and the electrician used 12 ga wire to run to a few added receptacles in the basement. The inspector showed up before the electrician left and rejected the electrical because the wire "was too heavy" for the 15 amp circuit breaker in the box. I called the electrician in and they talked for 10 seconds. The electrician pulled out the 15 circuit breaker and plugged in a 20 and the inspector signed off. I still do not understand how wire fit for a 20 amp circuit is not fit for a 15 amp (lesser) circuit.

Robert Engel
06-06-2018, 10:45 AM
I'm betting the concrete displaced 95% of the water in the footers during the pour. I'm also betting they used a stiffer mix.

When I worked for a general contractor in So. FL many years ago, it was common practice to see the block on site before the slab pour and the block layers to show up within 2 or 3 days later. They laid 1/2 walls the first day, the top 1/2 the next, then we framed for the tie beams the next day and poured the tie beam and columns the day after that.

2 days after that, we stripped the tie beam forms and started mounting trusses.

By the time the supposed 28 day cure was over the drywall was either done or going up. If this was not according to code, then we must have been getting away with it. Guess that's why the boss always had a case of JD in the back seat LOL.....

Bottom line: yes construction methods vary by region but "should" be done according to code. When I worked, the foundation had to be inspected prior to pouring.

Pat Barry
06-06-2018, 12:01 PM
Nobody is going to wait 28 days fir a full cure before laying block. In Minnesota thats nearly half the building season. 2 days is plenty.

Mark Bolton
06-06-2018, 2:36 PM
When it comes to water in the footing trench however, it always means weaker concrete, everywhere on the planet. But if you pour the concrete stiff enough and there isn't a lot of water, the presence of water may not be an issue. However, when you use a pumper, you can't have a really stiff mix. That being said, unless you do a compression test, you will never know the strength of the concrete. I didn't see any samples set aside. You see that all the time on commercial sites but almost never on residential sites.

Operating in New England, and for the last 20 years in the Mid Atlantic, I have simply never seen, nor experienced, any form of a slump test or roded samples being taken on a residential job. It just doesnt happen and is completely unnecessary. In many location rebar is not even required in a residential footer or foundation. I have also never hear a 4' a day rule for laying CMU's or even brick for that matter. Now of course laying up a chimney you have to quit before the wet mortar below keel's the whole thing over (have seen that happen many times in rushed sub-divisions when the masons got ahead of themselves). But commercial jobs lay WAY more than 4' of vertical in a single day all the time. Heck, their leads are taller than 4'.

With regards to pouring concrete in water, its true that pouring "through" water is an issue. But bridges are poured every single day with Tremmie pours and if the concrete is placed at the bottom and not allowed to fall through the water it will result in a pour stronger than a conventional pour. We have had to float out footers full of water several times and placing your material at the bottom of the footer will simply raise the water straight out to the first daylight drain you can get to. Now if they were holding a chute 5' off the ground and letting the mix fall 5' through clear air, then through the water, you could definitely have an argument that the mix isnt going to be as strong as it could be. However, in a residential application, its likely still dozens of times stronger than needed.

Its wonderful when things are perfect. But holding a residential foundation to commercial bridge/building construction standards will be an exercise in expense that most people will love to complain about, but wont be willing to sign the check to pay for.

Mark Bolton
06-06-2018, 2:38 PM
Maybe they used hydraulic cement? Cures underwater.

All cement cures underwater. Given the mix is not overly diluted (mix being dropped through water) a bag of sackrete mixed and placed underwater will be stronger than the same in a sidewalk.

Mark Bolton
06-06-2018, 2:51 PM
Here in Central Pennsylvania, it can be a struggle to get people to build things to the standard you want. They adopted the international code, so I assume things have gotten a little stricter. I know there was at least one builder that built to a higher standard that went out of business during the 2008 downturn. The real estate market didn't really tank here, but nobody was building.

I dont think there is any state in the US that hasnt adopted the IIRC or the IBC for perhaps 20 years. Now there will be many states that have no enforcement of the code, but that said, Im pretty sure every single state in the nation has had a statute that binds anything built state wide to be adherent to the adopted code. I am in a state with virtually zero enforcement outside any city limits with regards to anything other than an electrical entrance, or a septic system. There are no inspectors or inspections whatsoever for anything other than installing a septic, or installing your electrical entrance which the inspector will not look at any internal wiring at all beyond the meter and to the main panel. That said, the code is bound state wide.

We fought this issue for years with customers who would argue when we built a house that we were wasting our time with central wired smoke detectors, T&P relief valves on water heaters and boilers, virtually any time you mentioned code they thought you were an idiot. That argument stopped the day they moved in and their homeowners insurance sent out their inspector and they passed with flying colors. They would make our lives living hell while we built and then afterwards oh.. they were the smart ones with the well built home... lol.

Julie Moriarty
06-07-2018, 12:04 AM
I'm betting the concrete displaced 95% of the water in the footers during the pour. I'm also betting they used a stiffer mix.

When I worked for a general contractor in So. FL many years ago, it was common practice to see the block on site before the slab pour and the block layers to show up within 2 or 3 days later. They laid 1/2 walls the first day, the top 1/2 the next, then we framed for the tie beams the next day and poured the tie beam and columns the day after that.

2 days after that, we stripped the tie beam forms and started mounting trusses.

By the time the supposed 28 day cure was over the drywall was either done or going up.
Every house we've seen go up near here takes a year to finish.

Chuck Saunders
06-07-2018, 12:23 PM
One method is to wet set the block first course into the footer instead of having to deal with irregularities in the footing surface. We always pump out the footings before placing concrete.
Chuck

Bill Dufour
06-07-2018, 12:38 PM
The 30 day rule is for having machines like lift trucks on the concrete. They say the old Roman concrete is still curing and getting stronger. Short answer is make a stronger mix if you want to use it in under 30 days. Of course you are supposed to allows stucco to wet cure for at least 30 days before painting. never seen that done here.
I do wonder why they do not use color coat stucco anymore. painting stucco seems like a huge waste of time and money, especially for the earth tones that colorcoat could easily match.

Bill D.

https://theconstructor.org/concrete/why-we-test-concrete-strength-after-28-days/6060/

https://theconstructor.org/concrete/why-we-test-concrete-strength-after-28-days/6060/

Mark Bolton
06-07-2018, 12:59 PM
The 30 day rule is for having machines like lift trucks on the concrete. They say the old Roman concrete is still curing and getting stronger. Short answer is make a stronger mix if you want to use it in under 30 days. Of course you are supposed to allows stucco to wet cure for at least 30 days before painting. never seen that done here.
I do wonder why they do not use color coat stucco anymore. painting stucco seems like a huge waste of time and money, especially for the earth tones that colorcoat could easily match.

Bill D.

https://theconstructor.org/concrete/why-we-test-concrete-strength-after-28-days/6060/

https://theconstructor.org/concrete/why-we-test-concrete-strength-after-28-days/6060/

The normal convention for colored stucco we have always seen is Dryvit. A lot of people got scared off it due to major nightmares due to poor install/envelope issues, but you can run it in nearly any color and get insulation to boot.

Mark Bolton
06-07-2018, 1:04 PM
One method is to wet set the block first course into the footer instead of having to deal with irregularities in the footing surface. We always pump out the footings before placing concrete.
Chuck

We've seen this done endlessly on residential work. Even if they dont wet bed the first coat in the footer concrete it's much easier for them to knock down or chop out a high spot in footers that are hours old. I dont think the practice flies in the commercial world because you can bed a given block on a piece of aggregate and when the concrete shrinks there will be a failure if the aggregate is against the block.

Mortar is only there to evenly distribute the load eliminating point loads, and for leveling the courses. We use to do a lot of surface bonded dry stacked walls with a mortar course every 4' or so for leveling only. I've never understood why that method never took hold.

Bill Dufour
06-08-2018, 1:46 AM
The normal convention for colored stucco we have always seen is Dryvit. A lot of people got scared off it due to major nightmares due to poor install/envelope issues, but you can run it in nearly any color and get insulation to boot.

The water company here used something like that in the mountains for pump houses or some such small buildings. woodpeckers punched holes in it in short order. I think squirrels or such then went inside and destroyed lots of equipment.
To me color coat stucco is just regular stucco mix with handfull of colored powder added to the mix. It is just the final topcoat. The color should last for thousands of years with minimal fading. Cost is just a few dollars extra per mixer load. You know just the paint itself costs more then that not including the perpetration and application costs.
Fog coating is a very different process that is nowhere near as good.
The color coat is also used on concrete such as sidewalks and porches. often tinted red. They used to add lampblack to concrete to tint it gray so it wa snot as bright and reduce sun glare. They no longer do this to save a few dollars. Notice the difference in 50 year old area of sidewalk glare on a sunny day. That concrete is not old and dirty it is tinted just enough to cut the glare.
Bill D
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