In my time time line, I am now up to the actual construction of the garage. We decided to build the garage first to get our ‘toe-hold’ into the area. We really needed a structure we could store things in and possibly temporarily live in. Our thought process was to get a structure on to the land and that would allow us to finally start the settling process, even if it was rather weak at first.
So we did….I’ll show you a series of pictures of what we had constructed and then list some of the good and bad aspects of our decision.
(Some of the comments attached to the pictures are longer. Just hover over the comment and a separate box will appear with all the text.)
Take note of the concrete work. This company did not do two things: No monolithic slab and no vapor barrier. These are two things that if you can do, you really should. Maybe this is too much of a throw back to the construction I know in Florida, but a monolithic slab is exponentially stronger than this. When they talk about a house getting knocked off it’s foundation – THIS is why! With a monolithic slab it can’t get knocked off because it’s all tied in together! This is just setting there. This seem to be the standard around here. Sigh.
The second thing they didn’t do ‘because it was a garage’ is to put down a six mil or 10 mil plastic vapor barrier. I have since learned that often they will dig out the area deeper, put down gravel and pack it in, and pour concrete over the gravel. I’m honestly not sure what the gravel is for, but that seems to be a better way than this. Is that for freezing? Or does it provide a ‘floating area’ for water without it actually touching the concrete? I don’t know. We were told that this is straight clay and ‘we don’t need anything. It will be dry.’ Completely wrong!
We did live in that garage and because of the run off from the hill, they also ‘forgot’ to install the french drain, we flooded out on Christmas Day. 14 hours on a shop vac to try and not have the garage fill up with water. It was exhausting, stressful and totally unnecessary if they had done their job! Later they did install it, but it’s always damp under the concrete. Many of our tools that lived a very happy RUST-FREE life in Florida are starting to rust away here. I’m sure much of it is due to the lack of a vapor barrier. Sad and frustrating that something so simple and cheap, when not done, can reek so many problems.
The other thing I’d like to say about this is we LIVED in this damp dungeon. It was always damp/wet. Temporary is longer than you think, so you better make it comfortable (Nick Fouch of Fouch-O-Matic). That is SOOO true! We thought we were making it fairly nice, and it might have been not too bad if we had a vapor barrier. That dampness mold was growing and it was basically impossible to keep up with any kind of cleaning. We bleached as often as we could, but we were breathing that garbage all the time. It was just one more reason to push hard to finish the house.
Basically finished at this point. Later when we moved we started on insulation and drywall. At this time we were off grid and trying to get things situated. Things were only going to get much harder from here on out.