Deck Foundations

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You all are just awesome.

I feel especially thankful and appreciative today because I won't be calling these sono tubes "sauna tubes" today (thank you!) and because you have helped us solve the Great Gable Debate! Thank you all for you so very helpful comments, you have shown us solutions that we would never have even considered!

It has taken us longer than we thought to put siding up on the Momplex, and although we are feeling confident about getting the Momplex completely sealed before winter comes in Alaska, we have made a list of the absolute most important must-dos to get the heat turned on.

Bring utilities inside Momplex (water/electrical/fuel tank)
Install electrical lighting boxes in upstairs ceiling
Insulate and vapor barrier upstairs ceiling
Hang drywall on upstairs ceiling
Have garage doors installed
Foam/seal any cracks around windows and doors etc

This is the short list, the must-do list to have the Mompex fully sealed in.

But we do have a few more things we'd love to see get done:

Landscaping/Lawn seeding
Sidewalks/Garage Apron
Gable Trusses (shhhh! it's a secret still!)

But thinking realistically, many of these wish list items are just going to have to wait until spring. You see, even though we do have a good couple of months of decent work outside weather, this fall, my first book is releasing, (I cannot believe it!) and I will be going on book tour for a few weeks to meet you! I am so so so excited. I SO hope I get to meet you!

So we've decided to wait until spring (yes, Mom can still move in this winter!) to take care of a few of the wish list exterior projects, including the decks. Some times you just got to be reasonable, you know?

But we did want to take a few days and put the deck foundations in. In Alaska, the ground can be frozen well into June, but if we have the deck foundation already in place, we could build the decks in March or April, and Mom could be enjoying the decks come next summer.

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Your remember the long process of putting anchor bolts into the ARXX blocks right?

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Well, now we have to transfer the bolt locations to the ledger board. The Ram has all sorts of tricks. He screws a board up and measures off the board for the horizontal location of bolt holes.

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And then chalks a string line and measures down from the string line for the vertical bolt hole locations.

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Then the ledger boards are drilled out for bolts to match the bolts on the exterior Momplex walls.

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A special protecting sticker wrap is placed over the exposed concrete.
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And then the moment of truth .... is the ledger board going to fit?
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The entire front of the Momplex is a deck, so ledger boards go all the way down. One down, two to go! <img src=""> And then when we <a href="" target="_blank">sided the Momplex,</a> we just sided around all of the ledger boards.
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Then we rented a backhoe and dig a big hole. You could get away with a post hole digger here, but we also needed the backhoe for trenching in the well and electrical (will get to that in another post) so this was the most cost effective way to do both.
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Remember the <a href="" target="_blank">bigfoots?</a>
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Those are placed in the hole, with the sono tubes on top.
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Grandpa Tim checks for level.
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And then the sono tubes get buried carefully, perfectly aligned with a string line. But the sono tubes might be in the right spots, but there's only one way to make sure they are exactly the right height. You have to trim the tops to all match. <img src=" deck foundation15.jpg"> First we use the laser level to mark all the sono tubes to the same height. We choose the height of the shortest sono tube, a foot above finished grade.
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Now the Ram has another trick. On the longest sono tube, he cuts a little bit off the top - well above the mark made with the laser level.
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I resist the urge to say, that cut is not level and it's not on the line. Tsk tsk.

Then he takes the scrap piece and cuts it open.

And uses the factory edge to mark a level line on our laser level marks all the way around the sono tube.

And then we have this handy dandy tool that's basically a mini saws-all to cut on the line. A small handsaw would do the trick too.

Now that's something I'm not going to forget! The sono tubes are all cut to the same height, level all the way around the Momplex.

We cut rebar to fit inside the sono tubes, preparing for concrete pour.

And the concrete truck arrives at 10 minutes after I put Grace on the school bus the next morning.

A hole in the bottom of a bucket works just fine to funnel the concrete into the sono tubes. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Then I screed the tops of the sono tubes.

The pre-cut rebar is pushed into the wet concrete.

All poured!

For the side decks, where we only have to match up two posts, we'll add J bolts.

We just measure and put the J bolts in.

And sometime next spring, we'll come back and build decks off these posts!