It was a quick thing, they showed up at 7, poured it by 8 and finished it and were gone by 1.
They did not use steel in the floor, rather opted for fiber. I was more ok with that as he told me, and I’m less ok with that now. His reasoning was so the steel didn’t hurt the tubes. I don’t think it would really be an issue thinking about it now. I think i’d just feel more comfortable about parking a bus on the floor if I knew there were steel inside . I’ll let you know when I park it on it and how it goes.
In the video below, you will see the process to install radiant heat tubes in your concrete slab. Or rather, MY concrete slab. After you fill in stone and sand and drainage piping, normally you just pour concrete. However, if you want radiant heating there are a few steps in between.
I installed some drains in the video, however that is NOT part of radiant flooring, just something nice to have. (the first one is a drain that was an afterthought)
Install a vapor barrier
Install pex tubing
Sure seems simple eh? Well it is, but there are lots of decisions surrounding those things. Read on.
This was the treacherous process of filling the inside of the foundation with and the compacting of sand and stone. The idea behind this is to create a support for the floor that will hopefully NOT settle or move. Now obviously that’s hard because everything will settle, but I did the best i could. The rain actually helps, because the best way to compact sand is with water. The water removes air from between the grains of sand. Just like the beach near the water, the sand is hard because it’s missing all that air.
Here it is.
This whole weekend my buddy and I backfilled the foundation. Most of it was figuring out how to get a rather small amount of material from one spot to another that was more than an excavator boom length away. We had a pile of sand, and pile of stone, and many piles of dirt. All what seemed like as far as they could be from where they needed to be. You can see most of it in the video. First drainage pipe, then stone, and filter fabric on top of that. On top of that we put the dirt back in. We tried to tamp it but we kept breaking the belt on the compactor.
Day 2: In the morning they stripped the footing forms. At the same time, they use the same materials to form up the footings for the middle wall. The truck came around 11:00 and they poured the middle footings. Then they they started to build the forms for the rest of the walls. You can see in the pictures how far they got. I was interested to see the process for putting forms together, because I was a little fuzzy on how I was going to do it. Especially because i didn’t own concrete forms, this would have been a nightmare, without using ICF, insulated concrete forms.
Foundations in my part of the country are made up of two parts. The footings and the walls. My footings were 2′ wide pads about 8-10″ deep. The forms for my footings looked like they were held together with chewing gum, horse hair and luck, but none of them blew out, and so they did their job, and probably at a 1/3 the cost of using fresh plywood and 2 by’s. So once they built these popsicle stick trenches, they scraped dirt up against the forms along the bottom to ‘seal’ them. These footings basically had to form out rock, so there were tons of gaps underneath, but this was surprisingly effective at keeping the concrete from leaking out under the forms. It’s worth noting that they strapped the top of the forms together using metal banding and also just regular wood., which seems like it’s saving grace.
Also, in my foundation, I had a lot of elevation changes. I had at least 8 different levels because of the way the rock sloped. So for that, they put in a piece of plywood, sort of like a dam, and then just started the next level down lower. It’s worth noting that this was definitely not an arbitrary distance, it were calculating it based on the height of their wall forms. If they had 8 foot wall forms and 7 foot wall forms, they would have a 12 inch step down, so that the tops of the forms would be the same height. They also calculated how long the steps would be so that it ended on a seam in the form. It’s those two calculations that seem wicked obvious, that I know I wouldn’t have thought of up front, and it’s this information that makes the largest difference between contractor and DIY’er.
Once the footings are poured they cure for a day or so and the forms are stripped. For me, they started building the wall forms right on top of the footings the next day. Read on!