Bracing the Walls

Submitted by Ana White on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 09:56

I thought we were moving along on DIYing the most massive of projects - the Momplex, a duplex for our to very deserving mothers - just fine last week when we built the window bucks

Followed by the door bucks
And then we did the same . . . times 10  . . . for the garage doors.
The garage doors are supported in the centers, in preparation for the concrete pour,  You'll see the same get done for windows and doors before the mud arrives.
We thought we were moving right along.
But then this cutie informed us that the Big Bad Wolf is going to blow this house of foam over.  Just like this mom.  Whewwwwwwwww . . . . and it all falls down.

Bracing System

My major hesitation with building an ICF home has always been how to support the walls until the concrete is poured, and how to make sure the walls are square and plumb as you pour the concrete.  And remember, we are going up two full stories with the ARXX blocks.
But when we went wall shopping, I was so impressed with the bracing system you can rent with ARXX blocks, I overcame my fears, and we are now betting both our mother's homes on it.  Yep, we are all in.  Our chips are on the table.  And we are feeling pretty confident.
When Phil from ARXX came down for the day to help us get started, he drew a big B every six feet and around openings.  We layed braces out at the location of every B.

Installing Braces

Then we loaded up the drill with a special bit designed for concrete predrilling.  The base of the braces gets screwed to the footer.
With special screws
Just like that.  
Braces are then lined up with the fastening strips
And then the braces are screwed to the ARXX blocks at the black fastening strips.  

Bracing Supports

Once the braces are up, the supports are added.  This is the really slick part.  These supports can be adjusted to pull the walls in our out at any time to plumb up a wall by simply rotating the bars.
Attaching to the brace is simple - a special locking pin is inserted in the top.  
And then the bottom is anchored in with concrete stakes.  You will need to use two concrete stakes per support.  If you had a poured slab, you can attach with concrete screws, but we've choosen to pour afterwards.

Scaffolding

Now here's the REALLY slick part.  Anyone who has every worked on a roof or other work requiring ladders is going to understand this part.  You attach these guys to the braces . . .
All the way around.  It's like two minutes to attach each one.
We've got a storm coming in . . . good thing this bracing system is up!
Then boards are handed up and layed on the scaffolding supports.  You will want to tie off here until the handrail component is put up. The handrail simply locks into the scaffolding supports.
The scaffolding is put up all the way around the interior of the Momplex.  Now working on attaching the second story floor (our next step) won't require moving ladders (and climbing up and down ladders) for all 200 anchor bolts.
The ARXX support system is really slick.  As you will soon see, you use these braces to get the first floor poured.  Then you add the floor for the second floor, and work from the second floor to put the next floor (or in this case, the roof) on.  
Goodbye ladders.
Hello wind.
One step, so many problems solved. 
We are thrilled to be working with ARXX for the construction of the exterior walls of the Momplex.  To learn more about ARXX Blocks, you can visit their extensive website here.

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