ffj's early retirement

Where are you and where are you going?
henrik
Posts: 777
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:58 pm
Location: EE

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by henrik »

Nice work!
24 inches seems quite shallow - does the ground not freeze deeper than that where you are? Or is the whole structure meant to rise with the frost heave? Common wisdom here is that you either build on the surface or start supporting at least 1.5m (60 in) below.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@henrik

We are in Zone 6, and according to the county code that I have to follow, the bottom of the footings have to be at least 24 inches below grade at the lowest point of the footprint. Which means that a lot of the foundation is deeper but at the shallowest it is at least 24 inches. The further North one lives, the deeper you have to dig to avoid upheavals. I assume it is much colder in Estonia? A lot of people will go to a pier system if they have to go fairly deep.

@bigato

My pleasure. I hope others can learn from my experience.





Yesterday I worked in the sun in 56 degree F weather and life was good. Today I woke up to snow falling from the sky with heavy winds. It was about 27 degrees F with the wind chill today but by God we got the concrete poured. :) Not only did we get both foundations poured, but it turned out really well without any complications.

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Here is a step-up we made to save material and digging. I have never done this before and was quite pleased it worked as well as it did.

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I am very pleased this phase of the building is done. Even though I paid my friend to do the work, I have worked very hard beside him getting this done, and I finally feel like I am building a house now. Very satisfying.


For those of you curious what I have paid strictly for the finished footings, here is a breakdown:

$450.00 for the excavation of the building site, mainly removing the topsoil and leveling the ground

$540.00 for rebar and the misc. stuff to put it in place such as wire and chairs

$2,500 for the rental of the excavator, excavation of the footings, placing of rebar, and pouring of concrete which I paid my friend to complete.

$4,432 for the concrete @ $110/yard for 37 yards total

$7,922 for the total


This is higher than what I expected, but still within reason. One of the things I didn't anticipate was having to pay tax on the concrete. I just assumed the price per yard was tax included. It's not. The other factors which increased the price was the unavailability of a concrete provider closer to my building site. The trucks I used came from another county as the provider in my county had all of their trucks commandeered by a store being built. Thus a higher price per yard due to the distance traveled. And finally the weather which necessitated the use of hot water due to the cold, which also increased the price per yard of concrete.

But the increase was within a 30% margin which is typical for any calculated price. Quite normal really.

User avatar
Ego
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Ego »

Nice! I can image that would feel incredibly satisfying.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@Ego

Thanks man. It is certainly a milestone, I have officially crossed the threshold from preparing to build to actually building. It's a nice feeling.




Yesterdays harvest of oysters and Kings. I made a friend very happy yesterday with this latest haul.

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And look at these beauties:

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These are chestnut mushrooms and I'll probably pick them tomorrow. I have no idea how they taste but they are described as "nuttier". I am officially up to four types of "successful" mushroom growing with this latest accomplishment. I still consider myself as a lucky amateur but I am thankfully getting better although I have had some massive failures, haha. I'm looking at you, Lion's mane and enoki.

I think if I could build a grow chamber say 8' by 14' and I could with absolute precision control the variables: light, humidity, temp, rotational space, and air exchange I could do even better but I have to ask myself if it is worth the money and space. I really want to do it just to become better at the game but I don't know. Maybe a Farmer's Market success might prompt me.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Spring is just around a corner, and I for one am ready for it. Apparently the previous owner planted a harbinger in what will be our new front yard, and it is nice to see.

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One of the pleasant observations I've realized since buying the new property is that I have a lot of nice and generous neighbors. I have one in particular who is older but still loves to get out and visit and he's pretty funny too. A month ago he offered to plow up a garden spot for me and the other day he delivered on that promise, completely unprompted by me. That's a good neighbor.

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Today was a good day on the house build. After delivering the block a couple of days ago, the block layers I hired actually showed up. Let me back up. Three days ago, I called him about laying my block. He came out, looked at the job, gave me an estimate and told me how much material I needed. And today, after I procured the block and mortar and sand, he showed up at 0730 in the morning with a crew of eight guys and laid almost a thousand block. I am almost speechless after having to deal with so many people who have promised so much and not delivered.

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The crew quit just before the rain hit today and they may be back tomorrow if it isn't too wet. They still have to lay the garage but if it's flooded then I'll have to wait a few days. I'm very happy with the job and the progress.

I wasn't idle today though. I finished setting the posts on a 100 foot section of new fencing while those guys worked. The neighbor on that side of me has agreed to pay half of the cost of a fence as it benefits both of us, and it's a project that I will chip away at when I can't work on the house. I just have 500 more feet to go. :shock:

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It looks pretty dull after that block work, doesn't it? :D

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Just ranting and now I've deleted it. Apologies.

ffj
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

This post is dedicated to Riggerjack. ;) If you'll remember he asked about drainage around the foundation and I replied that I was waiting until the block was laid. I was taking a bit of a gamble and now I've lost that bet to Mother Nature.

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What a mess. I spent 4 hours pumping out the water yesterday and cleaning up the caved in walls with a shovel. It started raining about two hours after the block layers left on Thursday and apparently that night it really came down hard. And then it rained all day Saturday. :x


Now all of this could have been avoided if a multitude of things had or hadn't happened. My biggest obstacle is not always having the machinery I need on site at all times, and it is something that I have to consider as it costs a fair amount of money to rent these devices. The other huge issue is having to rely on others to perform their work which NEVER coincides with what is convenient for myself or the weather. Many times I can't move forward until someone else has done their part, at least not efficiently.

Anyway, my next move is to let it dry out, then scrape the mud off of the concrete and hopefully get these guys out here again soon to finish the job. In the meantime, I'll start digging drainage lines and procuring the rock and materials for the drain field. I'm also going to be digging lines for other utilities while I have the machinery.

Good times.

chenda
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by chenda »

You've got yourself a nice lap pool there 😀

jacob
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by jacob »

Or a race track for RC boats!

EMJ
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by EMJ »

It's a moat, just add crocodiles.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@chenda, jacob, EMJ

Haha, it's humorous now but the other night when I was cleaning this mess up I wasn't seeing the positives. I need two things to happen: the rain to stop (just for a few days) and my block layers to show up and finish the job. I need one day for those two requirements to coincide. ;)

On a more positive note, I scored a major cost savings for the garage/shop.

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I bought all of the windows, and probably a couple of extra, from a window company for $50/window. These are all brand new windows manufactured in 2019 that were mis-measured for a job they were doing and they couldn't use. They all match in style and size as far as height, with a couple of different widths that I can work around with the design. The beauty of designing your own buildings is that you can change minor details on a whim.

So the moral of the story here is that some days you are knee deep in mud and other days you save over a thousand dollars. It all evens out. :)

davtheram12
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by davtheram12 »

Great score on those windows! $50 bucks a pop is an insanely great deal. This progress is exciting. Any updates on the barn cats?

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@dav

Yeah, I was happy to get those windows. Craigslist has come through again for me.

I tend to have really good success with Craigslist and I think I know why. First of all, I am always very polite when I inquire about anything. Secondly, when I inevitably make a counter-offer for most items, but not all, I again am very polite and tell them I understand if it's too low a price and to sell it to someone else if a better offer comes along. You would be amazed how many people will take the lower price, but sometimes I lose the item. And thirdly, I keep my word about showing up and am dependable. Oh, and if I know it's a great price like the above windows, I don't haggle and insult them. I just pay what they are asking.

There are enough losers and hustlers on Craigslist that I think people find me refreshing. But I could be projecting here.


The kittens are doing fine. They've gotten to the point where they will come out of their hiding holes and stare at me. But if they aren't hungry then usually they hunker down under a pile of lumber.

At some point I will be taking their hiding places away as I build my shop, and they are growing too so they aren't going to fit under the lumber anyway. I think what I will do is make a loft for them and put their bed up there in a wooden box. That way they can "escape" me and feel safe. And I won't have to worry about crushing them.

The mother cat has stayed gone. I have no idea where she has gone to, but at least she can't get pregnant again. AND, the other morning when I opened up the barn another random cat was inside. :x This barn is somewhat isolated from other people so who knows where that cat came from, but thankfully I haven't seen it since.

davtheram12
Posts: 72
Joined: Mon May 28, 2018 6:02 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by davtheram12 »

Great points on the Craigslist approach. I've approached Craigslist purchases in a similar fashion and it does seem to make a difference. Years ago I would haggle prices and include a sandwich. People would always get a good laugh out of it. They would never accept the sandwich but I'm sure the gesture made them remember me as "the craigslist sandwich guy" :roll:

Glad to hear the cats are doing well and are trusting you a little more. I'm not surprised the cats are sticking around. Shelter, food and safety go a long way for stray animals. Lol that random cat was probably surprised so see a human face in an otherwise isolated barn.

Igotgoals
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Igotgoals »

Huge score on those windows. It helps balance things out when you can find a deal like that.
Love watching all this develop.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

@dav, Igot

Here is one of them that dared to come out of its hiding spot.

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I opened the barn up yesterday morning and something had chewed up the milk jug I use for extra water for them and knocked over the bucket where I store their food. I'm guessing a coon or another cat has invaded their space. Not sure why they would chew up the milk jug as it hasn't stopped raining here for a week and there is water everywhere. Speaking of:

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Rain and dirt make mud and I have been up to my ass in mud for 8 days straight now. When your boots weigh 10 pounds apiece from sticky clay it kind of takes away from the romanticism of building your own house, haha. It started raining a couple of hours last Thursday after the block layers finished and it literally has rained every day since. I've been busy building a fence in the meantime so it all works out.

However, I have one day tomorrow when it's not raining and the block layers are showing up to finish the job! Then it's supposed to rain for another week. :x Hopefully I'll have some happy pictures tomorrow night.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Happy days, the block layers showed up as promised and finished the job.

My new shop:

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Notice the two types of block. The upper is called split face and will be showing while the lower block will be back-filled with dirt after the drains are installed. My step worked out well too. None of the block layers complained about anything so I am taking that as a sign we did the footers correctly. :)

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So the costs for this phase is as follows:

$4,795.55 for block, mortar, sand, door, anchor bolts

$3,708.00 labor

$8503.55 total


I originally figured around $14,000 for this phase and I'm at $16,000 plus for the footers and walls. Not terribly bad. My benchmark is the lowest bid at $41,000 by another contractor which included the flatwork and drains. I think I can do the rest for around $10,000 which will be net savings of $15,000 if I can pull it off. We will see but I have a good feeling about it.

Sidenote: I paid a couple of hundred dollars extra in labor for the installation of anchor bolts which I hadn't planned on. I didn't realize they would charge for that. Also, I've got 150 to 200 extra block that wasn't used and 4 bags of mortar, which is also several hundred dollars in cost. I can't really take them back so I just wanted to highlight how some of these costs creep up from original estimates.

EdithKeeler
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Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by EdithKeeler »

.

Igotgoals
Posts: 22
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:18 pm

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by Igotgoals »

wow
look at that.
Nice progress.

ffj
Posts: 2238
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: ffj's early retirement

Post by ffj »

Thanks Igot, my next step is to waterproof the foundation, install the foundation drains, and pour the concrete floor in the shop. I've ordered rock to level out the floor and drain field, and bought the waterproofing that comes in a 5-gallon bucket.

Mostly today I got all of my supplies and worked on my fence. I am close to finishing the posts on the 550 foot run. Once I do that I can leave it for a bit and start on the shop as I need to be focusing on that now that the block is laid.

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I did score some nice flowers for the taking yesterday. A buddy of mine has hundreds of these daffodils all over his property and they really look cool this time of year as they are scattered about randomly. I asked if he could part with a basketful if I dug them up and he said of course. I'll plant these on my property and maybe one day I'll have a nice of showing as his place.

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