Money Spent So Far:
$18000 + Cost of Property
Time Spent So Far:
400 Hours + Tons of Planning
What about windows and doors?
We had to call it a day the other day
after getting just the first two rows of ARXX blocks
up. As eager as we all were to see more rows go up, up here on this windy hill, none of us wanted to see the blocks flying through the air, probably landing in our yard a mile away.
Getting the first two rows up is actually a major accomplishment because you create the pattern for the entire home. You want the seams all staggered in the same spots, so the blocks interlock in the best positions and your fastening strips (the black lines) are all lined up. That way when you go to put siding and drywall up, you know exactly where the fastening strips are, and can just snap a line and go.
Doors and Windows
But even at the first two rows, we started getting into the next step of building with ARXX blocks - doors and windows.
You all know it's entirely possible, but many of you are wondering exactly how windows and doors are put in. And I for one have been a little nervous about how easy putting windows and doors in is going to be. We've got quite a few openings, some quite large. And then there's the question of how do you pour concrete around windows or second story doors.
There are all very valid questions, but fortunately, ARXX has considered everything and has simple solutions.
Window Buck Options
ARXX actually sells vinyl window bucks that you can fit to any window size. Or you can just build your own out of wood. We decided to frame our window bucks out of wood.
You can use a variety of wood or plywood types, but on the recommendation of Phil for our Alaska climate, we choose 1 1/8" plywood. With the 1 1/8" edges, we'll have something to bite into when we attach window frame trim. Plywood was choosen because in Alaska, this window is going to see 68 degrees on the insides, and possibly 68 degrees below on the outsides at the same time.
You know all about this step - ripping plywood down to widths. We ripped the plywood down to the same width as the ARXX Blocks - 11 1/2" wide.
Building the Window Bucks
It's simply a giant box, with the interior dimensions the size of the window rough openings, nailed together. One thing to note, you will want to leave an extra 1/2" on the bottom.
Considering Concrete Pour
The bottoms of window bucks are treated 2x4s. You pour concrete between them, screed the top, place foam in the gap and top it with a piece of 1/2" plywood. Then you can continue with your pour without concrete leaking out of your window sills.
Yes, I did say foam. All you do is rip it on the table saw (this is my trusty $89 table saw that works just fine). We are ripping this foam into 6" widths - the width of the concrete chamber.
Then this handsome guy nails the foam to the sides of the window bucks (or in this case, door buck). In 5-4-3-2-1 second he's going to say "Honey, can you hold the other end . . . "
The foam requires these special nails with large square washers to keep the foam on nice and tight without damaging it.
The windows are then placed in their permanent positions.
And the foam fits between the ARXX blocks foam just right.
And the Blocks Go On
And more ARXX blocks are put up around the windows. Notice we've added rebar around all window openings - this is per recommendations from our structural engineer.
We've also added a cross brace to keep the windows square.
Basement floor windows are done. That wasn't so bad, was it?
And the doors too. Come on in!
We are thrilled to be working with ARXX blocks to build the Momplex. To learn more about ARXX, you can visit their extensive website here. Thanks ARXX!