Foundations are not for the faint of heart.
They are a commitment.
We hope ours will last for 500 years.
That becomes doubly difficult when you have a walk-out basement, and you need to frost protect the footing in multiple ways. In our case, we have three different components to our footing.
- The slab-on-grade portion of the first floor has its own footing, supporting a fairly traditional 3’9” below-grade frost wall.
- Most of the basement concrete wall, being earth sheltered, will sit on a separate footing, dug into the hill 8’8” deeper than the first floor footing.
- The walkout portion of the basement will sit on it’s own 3’9” below-grade frost-protected footing.
We have every reason to believe that we are doing things right, in a manner that should last. To top it off, all three wall components, including the two frost walls and the buried basement all were made with a single pour.
There will be rebar joining all three together in a steel-reinforced network. No cold joints: where fresh concrete is poured against an already- cured wall. Hopefully, Underhill House will be as solid as the rocky hill it is dug into.
The details of this foundation were not written in stone in our building contract. We witnessed a heartfelt battle in the design between our architect and our concrete guy, Mike Flynn. The resolution was a compromise that we think will be better than either competing plan.
When you step away from conventional building techniques, you need a pioneer’s innovative approach to problem solving in new territory, forging new plans on the fly.
It was a fascinating process to watch as the forms built the day before filled with a porridge-like substance that will turn to rock.
Finally, and suddenly the shape of our house is defined.
There is no going back.
Full speed ahead.
Foundations are forever.