Blocking Up the Foundation

March 12th, 2009 by Doug

Shovel a ton by hand!

I knew better than to try to put in a foundation this time of year in southern Illinois, but for some reason I thought I could beat mother nature.   But I was wrong, and am now paying the price.

No more did we get the footings dug and poured before the rain came and washed in a large amount of dirt, completely covering the new concrete footings.  Feeling bad for the block layer that was scheduled to start Monday, I spent a fair amount of time Saturday uncovering the footings.    That is AFTER I shoveled one ton of sand out of the back of my truck, to mix with the mortar.  I should of known better, because it rained Sunday afternoon and undid all my hard work.  Now with the footings wet and covered in mud again, the block layer (Maurice Taylor, of Taylor Made) had to wait until Tuesday to start.

Nice view of block foundation

View of the foundation in progress

Tuesday morning Maurice was finally able to get started laying block.  However, mother nature was not done with us yet, as rain was expected later that afternoon and evening.  Knowing that more rain was on its way, Maurice decide to go ahead and get a couple of courses laid around the entire perimeter, to prevent anyone from having to clear the footings again.   I sure am glad he did this as it is back breaking work to keep scraping off the footings!

The block crew in action

The block crew in action

I must say, I am amazed at how fast professionals can lay block, and really feel that hiring out this phase of work was the smartest decision.  Maurice and Phil had all four corners blocked up and a majority of courses done before the end of the day.  Two experienced professionals, like these guys, can complete this 24′ by 36′ foot print, 6 courses of block high, in one good, long day.  In this case, there was no rush, and limited daylight, but they did have all four courners, and some courses set by noon!  Over the years I have watched several accomplished DIY’ers stuggle with laying block.  Remember, that laying block requires that you keep the blocks aligned in all three planes (X, Y, and Z).    All of them that I know, spent excessive amounts of time measuring each block, burning entire days and sometimes weeks on a simple project.  Professionals, in this case, crank out results quickly and effectively.  I am not implying that a diehard DIY’er couldn’t accomplish this, just that for me, it is worth the money to hire this part out.

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