Absurd: A 3′ Crawlspace??


Sensible: Get the friggin’ loan and opt for the full basement you dimwhits! Would have provided more storage AND an area to set up a private living space for visitors, complete with a walk out entrance. Resale value would have definitely been enhanced. We were bull-headed at the time about NOT taking out a loan, to label this project truly “mortgage-free”. But, in this case, it was a really STUPID decision. Aargh!


Absurd: No drain in the crawlspace??


Sensible: Should have gone with a drain. With proper grading and the relatively low amount of precipitation here, we opted to not install a drain in the crawl. We forgot to consider the possibility of plumbing issues, and issues with the passive solar water tubes. No problems so far…knock on wood. Working toward converting to all plastic storage containers in the crawl.

Our original plan for the concrete foundation was that it be at a conservative depth of just 2’ to accommodate utilities and enough room to crawl around for plumbing and electric installation and maintenance. We would have loved a full 7’ basement, but the money just wasn’t there without taking out a loan. Fortunately, our excavator was a little enthusiastic and provided enough of a clearing for a 3’ deep crawl and we went ahead and took advantage of it.


The concrete foundation measures 28’ x 36’. The completed foundation took 3 separate concrete pours. The first pour was the 8″ thick and 16″ wide footings, and the 2nd was the 8″ thick walls. At this point a 4″ pad of 1.5″ road base gravel was added inside the walls. Then, a tightly fit layer of 2” Green Guard insulation (XPS type VI 40PSI board) was added on top of the gravel before the final 4″ concrete pour to create the floor. The Green Guard insulation added an extra R-value of 10! Green Guard was also nailed onto the outside of the walls right after the waterproofing tar was applied to the concrete.


3 weeks later, after a couple good snows and cold nighttime temps, we were finally able to come back and start in on the DIY concrete portion of the floor supports. The support pattern followed the floor beam pattern recommended by the building designer. First, Paul hammer drilled 1/2" holes all the way through the 4 slab. Next, one by one, the holes were filled with concrete epoxy and 12" sections of 1/2" rebar were hammered in. About 8" of rebar was left above grade.


We then used 12” diameter concrete tubes cut 12” tall. Using 80 lb bags of standard 5,000 lb psi, QuikCrete concrete, the tubes were filled and tops smoothed. Using a post base as a guide, 2 j-bolts were pressed in the top of the wet concrete of each tube. They were positioned using the base of the jack posts as a guide. Once that was done, we allowed the concrete to cure and came back several days later to install the jacks.


The floor posts we chose were Akron C-3, rated at 16,000 lbs. This model is adjustable from 1’7” to 3’. We had to set our jacks to about 26”. So far, they have been working great!


We purchased these very same items on Amazon. The hammerdrill is a must for getting through the concrete to epoxy the rebar. The jack posts are a cinch and incredibly strong.


the  process

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