Long Overdue Update: Another Concrete Pour and More Demolition

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog on progress. I have finished a lot in the past few weeks. So let’s get up to speed.

I had blogged about how I was done with the demo work and had hired some of it out to a local demolition company. Before they could do their work, I had to get a little section of retaining wall poured to hold back the soil under the concrete slab in the living room. Originally, the house had a covered concrete porch that ran along the north side of the house. When the house was remodeled, about 8 feet of that slab got enclosed as part of the master suite. The rest of it is currently part of the living room. Here’s a rough sketch:


The red lines indicate the original footprint and the gray area is the concrete porch. Now the light gray area is part of the living room and the dark gray is the new master bathroom. The green line is where we made the cut in the concrete.

So, rather than pouring concrete back into the interior of the house, I asked my building inspector if he was okay with me excavating the area and framing it out with wood instead. He said, yeah, I could do that. So here we are. Of course, by doing that, now I am going to have a section of earth that is in danger of caving in if there is nothing holding it back, so what to do?

First, I call my engineer and ask him. He says, “There is no load there to calculate. It’s not bearing any weight. I would say it is totally at the discretion of your building inspector.”

So, to keep in the good graces of my building inspector, I call him during office hours. In classic “Go ask your mother” style, He says, “Do whatever your engineer says is adequate.”

So I was pretty much on my own. I figured I had time to figure that out while I carefully excavated the area to get the pour done.


I am undercutting the concrete under this partition wall to the living room. It’s old concrete and it’s really strong, so there is not a lot of danger. But it’s a lot of digging in a tight area. The pruning shears were for the occasional tree root I came across.

In the end, I elected to drill into the existing concrete foundation walls and used Simpson Strong-Tie epoxy a #5 rebar dowel in place to keep the wall from going anywhere. The soil here is basically a big compacted sand dune, so it holds its shape and is relatively easy to dig into. That was a huge blessing.


The rebar pins are in and cannot go anywhere. I had some extra #5 rebar sitting around, so I added the vertical ties for extra strength, though they were not really necessary.

Next, I had to build a form for the concrete. On the back side, I could pour a “neat footing” where the soil acts as the form. But on the close side, I needed some plywood forms. So I measured it out, cut it to fit, pinned it in place and poured away. Eleven 90-pound bags of concrete later, I have a supported slab and a retaining wall.


With that done, the demo guys can dig out the area without worry of cave in. But what miserable, sweaty and hard work. 

Finally, I am getting close to finished with concrete…I hope.

Ready For Demo

The demo guys came and took care of a long list of things. They stripped all the stucco off the west side of the house, dug out all the dirt to create a crawl space under the master bathroom, and hauled off all the demolition debris that piled up on the patio and along the fence. It was well worth the money I paid them to take care of all that. Even with their crew of 7, it took them a full day. I figure working alone, I would have been 10 days for me to do it all, then I would still have to load it into roll off containers (dumpsters) to get it off site, and I would have had to pay for that anyway.


Demo and hauling crew in action!


Shoveling out all the soil in the master bath. Shovel and wheelbarrow was the only way to do this task and I’m glad it wasn’t me doing it.

Once they finished their work, I could get started skinning the wall with plywood so we had some level of security. I was able to get most of it on that same day, with just two small areas that had to be patched up temporarily. Once was near the old water heater, which is moving next week so a window can go in its place. The other was around the big glass wall in the master bedroom. I am still working out the details on that, but will have a post soon.

Next up, Some New To Me Framing and Even More Concrete!

One response to “Long Overdue Update: Another Concrete Pour and More Demolition

  1. Pingback: Figure It Out |·

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