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FUNCTOR 03-28-2012 04:41 PM

Argentinian BBQ
Hi Everybody!

My wife is from Argentina, and I want to build an Argentinian style BBQ in our back yard to give her a small taste of home. We are living in Calgary, Alberta. Here is a model I did up in Google Sketchup:

Basically it's a brick BBQ structure. You make a fire and then shuffle the embers under a grill that is about 4 inches high. The embers cook the meat, and you get the smokey taste from the embers as well! YUM YUM!!!

Anyway, I don't do projects very often, but when I do, they usually turn out fairly well. I have never done anything like this.

Basically, there are 5 stages as far as I can tell (Please feel free to provide pointers wherever you see anything that might be wrong as I'm just kinda throwing this all together by myself with 0 knowledge):

1. Pouring the concrete foundation. It will be the size of the overall BBQ, and 8" deep. I was planning on putting rebar as well with 12" spacing. The foundation will be over gravel. The top of the foundation will be just above grade. When can I pour this? How long do I have to wait until i go to the next step?

2. Laying down the brick base. I will use standard red bricks and mortar for this. How long do I need to wait for it to cure before pouring the very heavy concrete counter top?

3. Pour concrete counter top. Again, I will be using rebar for this with 12" spacing. Also I'll be making forms out of plywood and 2x4's. The counter will be 4" thick. I am planing on making a decorative design on the front. Should I use a latex mould for this?

4. Laying down the red bricks above the counter top. Nothing fancy here.

5. Lining the inside of the BBQ with fire brick. I am told I need something called Super Daemon which is like a kind of glue for the fire brick. Do I apply this to the back of the red brick, or so I cover the red brick first with mortar? How long will it take to set?

My main concerns are when I can start this project. The days in Calgary are around 5-10 celcius, but it still gets down to around 0 at night.

Any advice anyone could give would be greatly appreciated!!!


cleveman 03-28-2012 08:50 PM

Congratulations on the Argentine wife. I have her pictured as a tall woman with dark features and beautiful eyes.

Now to business! I think you'll want footings down past the frost line. You mentioned that your 8" deep concrete will be on gravel. I suppose it is possible to excavate to the frost line, then fill up with compacted gravel, then your 8" of concrete, if this is acceptable in your area.

Otherwise, it is is customary to have a concrete footing down below the frostline, and bring it up with concrete block, concrete, brick, etc.

You are building quite a deal here, and we don't want it moving around from year to year.

FUNCTOR 03-29-2012 12:41 AM

I think the frost line around here is 5 - 6 feet. That's a lot of excavating and gravel! so once I dig down that far and fill it with gravel, how do I best compact the gravel so it doesn't shift with the weight above it?

cleveman 03-29-2012 07:13 AM

I don't know that it is acceptable to fill with gravel.

I would suggest one of the following:

1. trench 6" wide down to your frost depth around the perimeter of your set-up, lets say it's 8x10'. Fill this trench up with concrete, dropping in 3 horizontal rows of rebar as you come up. One near the bottom on top of some concrete, one near the middle, and one near the top. Put some vertical rebar in every 4 feet or so. Bring this up to ground level and have your rebar sticking up in the air a few feet.

Now form up for your slab, and have 4" of compacted gravel in the middle. Bend the rebar down into the middle and pour your slab.

You can also do this all at once, that is pour the footings and slab at the same time, but it will be tricky with such a small area. Ideally you want to pour concrete right behind the trencher, because the trench may not stay open very long.

If you don't like this approach, you can back-hoe down, then pour a 8" thick by 16" wide footing at the bottom, with no forms. Put in two horizontal re-rods and your verticals down in the concrete every 4 feet or so, sticking up 2'. Now get down in the trench and lay concrete block up to the grade. Fill the cores which have the re-rod in them, and put another piece of re-rod in to tie to the ones coming out of the footing.

Then pour your slab on top of this.

You may also just trench down below where your walls will be, like an E or an H, whatever, and don't worry about your slab moving around. Maybe you don't even need a slab.

Variations on this would be to fill the trench with rubble or rock, and compact as well as possible. Maybe you've seen some structures with rubble foundations. Before concrete, people would just dig down as far as they could, then stack rocks up a few feet above grade, put a big timber on this wall, and build the structure on the timber. Later the timber became a sill plate and the rock became concrete and the we all started paying taxes.

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