Handy Guy's Dream: Build His House Himself

Discussion in 'Home Improvement' started by Frank Sanoica, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Some days back, several requested I tell of this adventure. 1985, both of us out of work, thanks to the Reagan Recession, we decided why not buy a lot, and I will build our own house. We were renting a house then, receiving payments from a "2nd" we carried for the buyer of our previous house, thus were not totally without income. We bought a 1 acre lot just across the street from our old house, from the owner, who lived on the lot just south, the two separated by an irrigation ditch, the land having previously been farmed in cotton for many years.

    No stranger to working concrete, I hired a guy with a circle trencher to dig-out the trench for foundation footings. My wife had designed the floor plan, I drew up "blueprints", which we submitted to the County for a Building Permit, cost $429. And, we were off! I had hoped to begin by showing how one mixes and pours concrete by hand, for an entire 1800 sq. ft. building, but daggone it, the old pics ain't in my photo bucket! So, instead, will work backwards, with completed pics.

    The house was separated from the garage by a 6-foot wall 40 feet long, built of concrete blockl, faced with red brick, as was the house and garage. Below, the wall is still being worked on, and a few things had been planted here and there.
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    The west part of the house, wall not complete, partial view of the garage.
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    The back yard. Kitchen had a nice bumped-out bay window, with roof of copper sheet.
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    Here's the working fool, bricking the garage. Basic construction was frame covered entirely by plywood, then brick veneer. 12,500 bricks went into that baby! Shall I go on? Thanks for lookin'! Frank
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  2. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
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    Continuing a bit then, here is a view of the foundation footing, and the pouring of the concrete slab, in rectangles of about 4 feet by 10 feet. That was the most I could comfortably mix, pour, strike-off, and finish, given the desert conditions of fast evaporation of water.
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    The bricklayer working on the east end of the house.
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    Couple of squash my wife raised in the garden. The view shows the garage appearance after completion of the brickwork. This was 1989; I was then 47.
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    Finally, this taken sometime in the 1990's. The cement mixer in the background, bought from Sears in 1979, had a 1/3 H.P. electric motor, and I was able to mix about 300 lbs. of concrete or mortar at a time, one heavy wheelbarrow-load. The "crete" I wheeled to the pour area, generally about 1/2 cubic yard requirement, that needing about 5 mixers-ful, hauled to the pour site. The foundation pour was, earlier, of course far easier, needing no manicuring and finishing, like the slab. I had gravel and sand delivered out front, dump-truck load at a time, and we bought our Portland Cement, as well as Lime, at Home Depot, hauling it home in the white Ford Fiesta pictured. That car was pretty incredible. When my wife's folks were staying with us (often), we doubled the purpose of driving "to town", going to eat dinner, after buying and loading 10 sheets of gypsum wallboard on TOP of the car! The house interior walls & ceilings consumed some 200 sheets of 4X8 foot drywall.

    The cement mixer produced about 90,000 lbs of concrete, plus the mortar used in the brickwork. That, in the 1980s. 3 years ago, the same mixer again went into service here in Arizona, and we installed about 4,000 square feet of sidewalk and patio flat-work. Earlier, when talking to our new neighbor next door, who had recently had a contractor pour a patio for him, I remarked we planned to pour and mix some, too, by hand. His reaction, typical of one who can only "do" with his mouth, was, "Good luck with that". The mixer is now idle, the concrete is in, and we are enjoying the fruits of labor. Frank
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  3. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Veteran Member
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    Nice job!
     
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