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Aaron IS moving to Mueller, PT 5
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Mueller Community

Posts: 303
Joined on August 30th, 2007
Aaron IS moving to Mueller, PT 5
by aaron on October 25th, 2007

Originally posted September 13th, 2007

This is the twelfth in a series of columns about the travels of Aaron and his family in his quest to move from the suburbs to Mueller.

I get the idea that the foundation slab is pretty important. I dare you to have a meeting with a high level executive without that person spewing out some sort of business gobbily-gook that mentions something about a foundation being a key for success. It canít be done. Iíve always been taught a good marriage is based on a solid foundation. I could go on and on with metaphors and their kissing cousin, the simile, about foundations. I get it. Itís important. Therefore, when I was conducting my daily drive by Garden Court 1 last week, I was pleasantly surprised and a little apprehensive to see my batter box set up. My plot of mother earth has given birth to a slab form and like all first time fathers, Iím thinking, ďWhat have I gotten myself into?Ē I know nothing about slabs and since they are so important, what should I be looking for so I donít have to contact Centex Leveling in 10 years. Itís time I do some half-ass research on slabs and foundations.

The first thing Iíve found out about foundations is that there are several kinds of them. Thereís basement types which would be spectacular during an August afternoon, but apparently the reason why Texans donít have basements is because the builders would have to blast through 8 feet of rock and apparently that is expensive and loud (but probably fun). There are also crawl space types that allow a house to have a crawl space so later on you can change your pipes, ducts and store things, and it insulates the foundation from frost and termites. And then there are foundation slabs which are relatively cheap for a builder (hmmm cheap and builderÖ. synonym or antonym?) and with central Texas ever popular expansive soil a near must for our building.

So now I know why we are getting a foundation slab, I wanted to know how to build one. Not that I want a career change, but so I can understand the process so when Offspring #1 asks questions, I can look like a smart dad. Itís actually pretty simple from a visualization standpoint. First you have to mark off your territory with something a little bit more tangible than urine. Then the batter boxes or forms go up. The next step is to have a ditch witch dig a trench that will become your footings for your slab. A contractor will come out and put in some conduit for the plumbing and electrical. Now some sand and a plastic sheet will fill the base. Rebar goes in next and then finally cement is poured all over and smoothed. Then presto, you now have your foundation slab. Hereís a nice link to see a cross section

Some things Iíve discovered using this new fandagiled interweb technology thing is that you donít have to use a post-tension foundation design, but if you do have a post-tension foundation design, it has to be done perfectly (I cross referenced this fact with two engineers). This means you might need an engineer on site during the process. I also found out that copper does not like cement so that if your plumbing pipes are copper, you need to have them in conduit or else it will corrode, plus copper is not cheap anymore and the yard gnomes will steal your copper in the middle of the night to sell it. Itís also a good idea know what soil you have because that could effect the size of your footings. The size of footings can also be sized according to how much house it has to support. And that plastic barrier that goes over the fill soil is there to keep moisture out so make sure thatís there so that the mold doesnít grow under your house and freak out your insurance provider.

Iíve found out that the soil at our site as tested by an engineer is rated 30 Ė 40 PI (Plasticity Index). This puts us in the Moderate to Moderate High range. This is decent as the further east you go the worse it gets. The engineer for our house has set our footings to be 36Ē deep. I also found out that we are getting caliche soil for our fill rather than the cheaper sandy loam. Caliche settles better than the sandy loam so it doesnít have to be compacted as much and doesnít retain water as much either which will lead to a lesser chance at voids in the fill.

Well, in three weeks we should have a proper foundation to build our house on. When the house is built, the slab will mostly be forgotten, but yet itís presence will still be there. All I got left to worry about the slab now is what to put in the time capsule that Iím going to secretly bury underneath it. Pictures? Coins? Jimmy Hoffa?
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Jones Cody

Posts: 54
Joined on September 5th, 2019
Aaron IS moving to Mueller, PT 5
by Jones Cody on March 19th, 2020

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