If you guessed that this post has a lot to do with rocks, you guessed right!
After wading through (and nearly drowning in) the virtual sea of information online regarding building a foundation, we finally decided to build our cabin with a concrete piling foundation. We decided on this foundation type because of A) uneven ground, B) the fact that site is inaccessible to heavy machinery, and C) our tight budget and unwavering frugality. So it was looking like we would be doing everything by hand, the good old fashioned way.
The first step was measuring and marking the locations for digging the holes for the pilings. The 10′ x 20′ cabin was to be supported by six concrete pilings, arranged in two rows of three with 10 foot spacing.
Then it was time to grab the shovel, post hole digger, pick axe, and rock bar and set off on our journey underground. While we didn’t find any gold nuggets hiding down there, what we did find were rocks, rocks, and more rocks! This made for incredibly difficult digging, as some of the rocks were of unwieldy proportions -like 150+ pounders!
Since we decided to use plastic Redibase footings, we had to dig each of the holes 25″ wide and as deep as possible (ideally four feet)
It took us three days of digging, and we weren’t able to get all of the holes to the desired 4′ depth due to rocks so big that their edges couldn’t be found. However, we discovered that we have great soil for building, as it is incredibly well drained and the amount of rocks and gravel lend high load bearing capacity. Therefore, we decided to proceed, fully aware of the fact that the two shallow holes would be more susceptible to frost heave, but prepared to deal with that down the road.
Next up was a trip to Anchorage to load up on 2,100 lbs of premix concrete, rebar, 8″ sonotubes, and plastic footings
Sometimes you have to do things that aren’t fun, and sometimes you have to make your own fun. Hauling all 2,100 lbs of concrete up our stairs to the build site was one of those times. It is now my pleasure to debut the Walters Stair Challenge in this brand new video:
We then spent the better part of the next day, leveling, centering, backfilling, and tamping each of the sonotubes and footings. Frustrating work, but worth it in the end. Measure 40 times, cut once, right?
Due to an unfortunate camera mishap, we lost most of our pictures detailing this step. But the two above survived.
Finally, it was time to mix and pour the concrete!
34 bags of concrete later (we had one bag to spare- now that’s what I call good math!) and we could happily say that we had successfully completed our cabin’s foundation.
Until next time, rock on! Thanks for reading!