Kyle and Karen's House Addition Project

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A terrible slow down in the project occurred when the county shut down our permit for many weeks. The permit was pulled correctly, and the paperwork at the county was correct, but the county made a typographical error on the actual permit hanging at the site. The on site permit did not specify a two story building. An inspector issued a "red tag" and all work had to stop while the county's right hand lethargically attempted to guess at what the left was doing. In their own sweet time, the hard working county inspectors finally figured out that all the paperwork filed at the courthouse was indeed pulled for a two story building (duh). Come on, would we really pull a permit for a one story building and build a two story?!? When the couty clerks finally owned up to their mistake and corrected the on site part of the permit, we were able to schedule a new inspection. Once we passed that inspection, work began again...

Driveway Grading Begins 05/30/04 (Day 156)

Sweeping corner

Sweeping corner

Begining the guide trench

Well, we're completely out of money (and accepting donations!). That means no more workers. Now we're doing everything ourselves. To pour the driveway, we have to do some very complex grading, or the water will not flow right and either flood out our foundation, or wash into the new garage. Here, we broke up the old driveway parts. Then we broke out the shovels and started digging the first, very deep, "guide trench" for the tractor to follow.

Guide Trench Progresses 06/02/04 (Day 159)

Guide Trench

Digging the guide trench takes a long time. The tractor follows it best if it is hard compacted soil. This means that you cannot dig the trench too deep and then fill it back in, so you have to slowly, methodically work your way down to the correct depth.

Guide Trench Nearly Complete 06/05/04 (Day 162)

Guide trench

Guide trench

From old garage

The Guide trench is nearly complete across the whole new driveway section.

Rough Grading Begins, Sunday Morning, 06/06/04 (Day 163)

In front of garage

Tractor follows guide trench

Wench in trench

Wall illustrates change in grade

Slight grade difference

Squatters (wrens) move in

New driveway goes here

New driveway path mark

Once the tractor is involved, work moves quickly. In the morning, once the very first grade cut is made, the driveway path can be marked and the top side can begin to be sculpted.

Rough Grading, Sunday Evening, 06/06/04 (Day 163)

New driveway area (rough)

Rough transition

Slope towards garage

Front of garage

Hand Grading, 06/13/04 (Day 170)


Driveway curve

Big grade difference!

Front of garage

By this point we were almost done with what we could do with the tractor. Although we still used it, most of this work was done by hand.

The Drought, 06/14/04 (Day 171)

The drought

The experts tell us we are having a drought, but we can't remember a previous July with so much rain. There are many days when we would get grading done only to have the rain wash it all out later. This was one of those days.

Hand Grading, 06/17/04 (Day 174)

Still not dry

More guide trenches

Clear between trenches

New rough grade

Although not completely dry, we kept at it. The angle had to change in the middle to match to the old garage height. To accomplish the correct angle and grade, we measured, used string and other tools to create more guide trenches. We then used shovels to excavate the dirt between the guides by hand.

Smooooth, 06/20/04 (Day 177)




The grade is perfect! Smooth as a baby's bottom. All set for a 4" pour. All the angles are exactly what we need for perfect drainage without getting any water into the new garage. Let's put in the forms and pour some concrete!

To Trench or not to Trench, 06/26/04 (Day 183)

Trench from driveway

Trench from garage

Trench from ramp

Trench from garage corner

The concrete sub contractor insisted that we install a surface drain trench. We did not and still do not believe it is necessary. So we spent money we didn't have for a crew of mexicans come out, dig a ditch in our perfect grade, install an NDS surface drain trench, and put up the forms for us. Once again, we're ready for concrete.

Concrete, 07/07/04 (Day 194)

First truck arrives

Pour begins

Concrete takes shape

Begin the smoothing

First truck nearly empty

Second truck (finally) arrives

Second truck begins dumping

General smoothing

Smoothing the edges

Pad at the new back door

View from garage hallway

Looking towards old oaks
From old oaks

From corner of new garage

The concrete pour went very smoothly (no pun intended). Finally we can see the light at the end of a very the tunnel.

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