Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
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Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Follow along as we share our experiences building our own home. We are neither builders nor architects so we get a lot of help along the way!
 

Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Rural Ozarks
Madison County
Northwest, Arkansas 72632

Call Us At:
(479) 555-5555

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The mis-adventures of the Bailey family building their own home Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Playing in the Yard on Bailey Bear Ridge
Details about the foundation of the Earth Shelter Home

The Mountain ridge upon which we are building
The rock that makes up our ridge.
The rock that makes up our ridge. As of May 2009 we have excavated a fairly level area where the home will be setting.  After removing about two to three feet of earth, we hit layers of bedrock.  This is the same bed rock that we dug our well in so we know it is at least 910 feet deep.

Digging through the layers, we found that they are very level.  Using the laser level we measured less than an inch of variance from one end of the bedroom wing of the house to the other.

The rock ends just before the living wing, but I believe that we will find more rock down about 10 to 16 inches.
Click Image to Enlarge
As of May 2009 we have excavated a fairly level area where the home will be setting. After removing about two to three feet of earth, we hit layers of bedrock. This is the same bed rock that we dug our well in so we know it is at least 910 feet deep.

Digging through the layers, we found that they are very level. Using the laser level we measured less than an inch of variance from one end of the bedroom wing of the house to the other.

The rock ends just before the living wing, but I believe that we will find more rock down about 10 to 16 inches.
Because we have such a good building foundation and pending further professional advice we are planning to pour a monolithic slab where all the footings and the slab itself is poured at the same time.

Also, we have currently settled on a 4+ inch slab and 24 inch footings... again, pending further professional advice.

We will probably be pouring the whole thing in a higher density cement but I do not know those specifics yet. That detail will be updated when we get it.

Because of our plans to install in floor heating, we will be insulating the bottom of the slab with an inch of Stryo BlueBoard. Without this insulation the heat from the in floor heating would get wicked off into the earth below the house and reduce the effectiveness of the system.

 Because we have such a good building foundation and pending further professional advice we are planning to pour a monolithic slab where all the footings and the slab itself is poured at the same time.  Also, we have currently settled on a 4+ inch slab and 24 inch footings... again, pending further professional advice.  We will probably be pouring the whole thing in a higher density cement but I do not know those specifics yet.  That detail will be updated when we get it.
Click Image to Enlarge
Log and journal of challenges and questions while putting in the foundation.
On the bright side, it appears that the very hard layer of rock extends for a very log way in several directions. The gravel for the footing all around that master suite will be sitting on hard rock.
 It is May 22, 2009.  The boys and I have been digging footings in the rock layer that will be just under the layer of gravel under the slab.

In the process of digging down to that point, we found pockets of very hard rock.  Most of the time this rock is only about 10 - 20 inches across and can be removed by digging around them.

I discovered what appears to be a very large pocket of this rock behind the master bedroom but was able to get as deep as I needed.  Now that we are digging the footings, I found a huge pocket at least 20 feet across.  I tried scoring it with the back hoe to no avail.  I could barely put a small scratch in it and certainly not make any progress in shaving it back like the rest of the rock.

We took several measurements after digging back as much as possible. It appears that there will be a bit of incursion into what should be the gravel layer.  This incursion is high enough that it will actually push the insulation up about 1/2 inch out of a 24 inch footing.  I need to find out if that will be a problem.
Click Image to Enlarge
It is May 22, 2009. The boys and I have been digging footings in the rock layer that will be just under the layer of gravel under the slab.

In the process of digging down to that point, we found pockets of very hard rock. Most of the time this rock is only about 10 - 20 inches across and can be removed by digging around them.

I discovered what appears to be a very large pocket of this rock behind the master bedroom but was able to get as deep as I needed. Now that we are digging the footings, I found a huge pocket at least 20 feet across. I tried scoring it with the back hoe to no avail. I could barely put a small scratch in it and certainly not make any progress in shaving it back like the rest of the rock.

We took several measurements after digging back as much as possible. It appears that there will be a bit of incursion into what should be the gravel layer. This incursion is high enough that it will actually push the insulation up about 1/2 inch out of a 24 inch footing. I need to find out if that will be a problem.
May 28, 2009
We have had a bit of rain over the past several days. My expectation was that my footings would fill with water. There are a number of areas in the 'hole' that make puddles that tend to stay watery for nearly a week after a rain. I expected to have to deal with this on a larger scale with the footings.

Upon observation, there was never even a teaspoon of water collected in the holes for the footings. My theory is that the footings that go through the next layer of rock are draining between the layers under ground and out to the hillside. I am not an engineer (obviously) but that would seem like a great thing to me. That means that we have a lot of natural drainage under the slab that will remove rain water when it does fall... right?

For video and more photos see the entry for this day in the Project Photos page.
A laser level and two tractors help dig these beauties!
A laser level and two tractors help dig these beauties! May 28, 2009
We have had a bit of rain over the past several days.  My expectation was that my footings would fill with water.  There are a number of areas in the hole that make puddles that tend to stay watery for nearly a week after a rain.  I expected to have to deal with this on a larger scale with the footings.

Upon observation, there was never even a teaspoon of water collected in the holes for the footings. My theory is that the footings that go through the next layer of rock are draining between the layers under ground and out to the hillside.  I am not an engineer (obviously) but that would seem like a great thing to me.  That means that we have a lot of natural drainage under the slab that will remove rain water when it does fall... right?
Click Image to Enlarge

 

 

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