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RHuller 02-23-2012 12:05 AM

Questions about a farm house addition!
Ok, so like many I have seen on here I would consider myself one that knows enough to get myself into trouble. I am very handy and have been in the military for three years working on the miscellaneous projects.

I am planning on a massive add-on to a farm house that I am going to be handed down when I get out of the military. It currently has two bedrooms and one bathroom however it sits on a piece of land that is about 17 acres. I have space to add on a good 30-40 foot addition to the side of the existing house. I planned on adding on to that side and including a basement (future man cave possibility). My questions are going to start simple I am sure however I know enough to get my way through most of the simple stuff.

I need to add on in large scale because my family consists of my wife and myself and 6 children. (Some are mine and some are hers.) So in total needing like 7 bedrooms which is crazy. Was thinking about making it a two story addition with basement. Would allow me to put the older kids on the second floor and the little ones on the main floor with my wife and myself. My wife has a back problem that prohibits her from stairs sometimes so I don't want to put her room on the second floor. The idea of the older kids on the second floor means we wouldn't need to "tuck them in" or tend to them once they are in bed.

My main question is when building a basement is it better to use concrete forms and pour or use cinder blocks and fill them with concrete. I am thinking that the cinder blocks would be cheaper but I am not sure. Its going to be a large add on so it might be cheaper to rent forms and pour. Give me some input here.

My last question for this post is on a brick fireplace is it possible to start at the top and beat the bricks down inside the fireplace? As it gets full start pulling the blocks out and then continue? Will the bricks not get past the flu or do I need to remove each brick individually and throw it off the house into a pile?

I know this is a lot of blah blah blah to read. But I do thank you and wish everyone the best.



Daniel Holzman 02-23-2012 07:14 AM

Personally I prefer cast in place concrete over concrete block for a house foundation. You did not state where the place is, which would help in the discussion. Areas prone to earthquake require reinforced concrete or reinforced concrete block.

As for the chimney, I did not quite get it. Are you planning to demolish the chimney, but you want to save the flue?

user1007 02-23-2012 07:21 AM

You are talking a major project here and will save yourself money, time, aggravation and stress by bringing in an architect or home designer to work with you. You are going to need drawings and stamps anyhow. Why not start with somebody you like at the start.

RHuller 02-23-2012 08:12 AM

Funny enough that you mention that. I contacted my cousin who is the main architect for a very large national sandwich chain. Going to see if he will work with me on the design process to make it legit. The building is located in NC.

When you said cast over concrete, what exactly are you referring to. The cinder blocks with concrete laced down into them?

Daniel Holzman 02-23-2012 08:29 AM

Cast-in-place concrete refers to concrete that is placed (better term than poured) into forms, and allowed to harden. That is the most common way to build a basement or a footer. Alternatively, there is precast concrete, which is formed and hardened at the factory, and delivered to your site in units. This is getting more popular with houses, as the concrete walls can be bolted together on site very quickly.

The term "cinder block" is no longer used. Cinder blocks referred to blocks made from the cinders from coal fires, there may be some part of the third world where they are still made, but what you get in the United States is concrete block, either solid or hollow. The purpose of the hollow block is to save a bit of material (presumably lower cost), and they are lighter. However, they need to be filled with grout or concrete where you are going to embed rebar for your sill.

Personally I have inspected many houses that have problems with concrete block walls. Bulging, cracking, out of plumb, a variety of ailments. This often seems to occur when the block is not reinforced with steel, and the soil is wet and exerts large pressure on the block. I have observed very few problems with cast in place concrete walls. They may cost more than block (this varies with region), but a properly designed and installed cast in place concrete wall is not likely to have any serious issues down the road. You will want to discuss options with your designer, there are some alternatives involving using insulated forms for casting the basement, not really DIY stuff, but could be a good energy saver.

joecaption 02-23-2012 09:01 AM

I would never suggest a first time home builder build there own foundation. If it's done wrong the rest of the building is trash.
Your not likly your going to have a back hoe, know the local building codes, or the experiance in local soil conditions.
I'd suggest you look into ICF for the foundation since your plan is to use this for finished living space. It should be warmer and dryer.
Has the main house had the wiring updated, insulation added?
Whats the plan for heating and cooling the addition?
Is the old house ballon wall constrution? If so it's a little tricky when you start cutting into outside walls with ballon walls. Those stud bays are open from the foundtaion to the attic area, the wall are not only supporting the roof but the floors in the rooms above.

joed 02-23-2012 09:09 AM

Styrofoam forms (ICF)filled with concrete. Then it is insulated. Setting up the forms could almost be a DIY. It's just like building blocks.

md2lgyk 02-23-2012 09:46 AM

I suggest checking with some local contractors to see what type of foundation is typically used where this house is located. I've owned several houses around the country, and foundation type seems to be very much a regional thing. Where I live now (WV), poured foundations are quite rare - virtually all are concrete block, including mine.

RHuller 02-23-2012 03:21 PM

Well the addition is going to be built while we live in the existing house. After we build the structure of the addition, we are then going to gut the old house and start from square one on that. The wiring is old and in desperate need of completely getting redone.

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