To make the frames for the walls, we used 4×8 sheets of plywood on top of our footers. That sounds great and fine. Most walls are 8′ high, right, so that works.
Then we decided to notch out the walls at the top to accommodate the beams~~~we can avoid a bunch of joist hangers, use really strong beams made from ash wood, and hang them on the notches at the top of the basement walls. It will knock our basement wall height down to 7’4″.
Looking at the north wall with the notches for the floor joists. Nice looking wall, huh?
Our walls are shrinking. . .
Brian knocking out the blocks that forms the notches for our joists to sit in~doorway on left.
THAT SEEMS SHORT!
So I spoke with my husband about it, and after discussing it, decided we could live with that. It is our basement, after all, that we really only built for storage, man caving ;-), and storm shelter. Not too bad if he can handle it. So that works, right?
Side note: Then I stopped by our neighbors’ house across the way, as I always do before we leave down there, to say “Goodbye.” and update them on the status of our build; (AND. . . .I also stop in at their encouragement to use their ‘facilities’ whenever I want). They are precious. They pray for us, and I pray for them and their family. (will tell you more about them another time). So I stopped by the neighbors’ the day we were in the process of pondering the basement wall height, and I noticed their living room ceiling is only 7′ tall. Had NEVER noticed it before. Didn’t even cross my mind as I visited during every trip to our property. So yes, we can handle 7’4″ wall height. (God is good like that~~He obviously opened my eyes to neighbors’ ceilings being lower at just the right time.)
But it wouldn’t be my preference. However, I am sure there will be many things that will be not done right with our build. And honestly, I am expecting it, but hoping it is nothing detrimental. You know, something that totally becomes unworkable. A shorter basement ceiling height. . . we can deal with that.
Then. . . .then. . . .
we had a fellow come by that was giving me a quote on the plumbing for our house. He wasn’t the first one, and the two previous plumbers had informed me that the ‘sewer sleeve’ (the spot in the footer that has the pipe in it to accommodate the sewer drain for the house) wasn’t placed low enough to allow for enough pitch from the house out. UGHH~~and YIKES! I want our waste to exit our house without any hitches, and so. . . what to do? what to do?
*******Picture my hand up waving here~~
YES, it was my fault!
That was my fault! PERIOD. I admit total blame here. When the footer was being poured, I noticed that sleeve pipe for the house waste was down low under the rebar at the base of our footer. Not an issue really, EXCEPT>>>>> it was going out directly at the level of the drain tile placed around the base of our footer for purposes of draining the rain water away from our house. That meant (in my brain anyway) that the drain tile would have to ride over the protruding sewer pipe that will ultimately come out of the house through the footer to the septic system. In other words, the drain tile would not be able to do it’s job of draining if the water had to travel uphill over our sewer line, right? I definitely did not want that.
Sooooo, what was I to do?
Best visual I could find, however, ours did not extend out from the footer on either side. It fit perfectly inside the footer.
There was a ton going on. . . The concrete man was there, it was LOUD . . . cement was flowing into our footer frame, and so, at the last minute, I totally grabbed that pipe, twisted it to get it out from under the rebar, lifted it out of our footer framing, repositioned it on top of the rebar, and then pressed down on it so that it would lower the rebar. It now was positioned higher in the footer, high enough that it would allow the waste to flow out without hindering the drain tile flow of water from our house. Voila’! And kind of proud of myself that I saw to take care of that!
OH, that is too high? NOT good! . . . .
MY BAD! . . . . . . .
However there was some saving grace! Jay had already considered there may be a need for another sleeve, and put an extra one in in addition to the one for the daylight drain. So we actually had 3 drain sleeves placed. One for the waste (that I messed up), one for our daylight drain, and then, an extra one.
Hey, that extra was an option. ding, ding, ding
The only problem with the extra sleeve was that is was leaving the house via the footer on the south side and our sewer system is going to be on the east side of our house, so now that option would mean that the waste would have to ultimately make more of an angle to flow to the septic system. UGHH!
And with my slick (no pun intended) sewer sleeve maneuver, we now we have another issue! The sewer sleeve is too high in the footer to allow for proper drainage with the height that we were going to make the basement floor. It was only going to be 1 1/2″ above the footer. WHAT?!? At this point, the fellow quoting me on plumbing, and another fellow there to determine our septic system/leach line placement were wondering why we were only pouring 1 1/2″ above the footer.
That was something that had crossed my mind, but what did I know? I haven’t poured a basement slab, and didn’t know the norms. I had wondered if a 1 1/2″ top on our footer was deep enough. It seemed to me that with expansion and contraction of the concrete floor, the 1 1/2″ edge sitting on the footer would be more likely to crack??? Okay, so let’s consider that. . . .
A 4″ slab height on the footer would be much more solid it seemed, and when I started to investigate a bit more, a 4″ depth sitting on the footer is the norm. Soooooo. . . I need to talk with Jay and alter our plans.
He assures me that he has seen many floors poured with a 1 1/2″ lip on the footer. . . But here is the catch. . . the sewer sleeve is not low enough to accommodate the rough in plumbing I want. We need the 4″ depth to allow for enough pitch for the plumbing pipes under the cement.
So the concluding decision was to do the 4″ depth of concrete all the way around. . . .
Okay, so maybe there is hope for my sewer sleeve placement and all is not lost~~
But NOW! ! ! . . . NOW that 4″ depth causes a few other situations to consider. . . it raises our floor up 4″ more vs. only 1 1/2″. OH MY! Our walls are shrinking even more, making the walls now 7′ even. EEEEEK!
And NOW, that causes yet another issue with our door that we framed out. Neither I nor Jay took into consideration the floor height reducing the door space. When we do a 4″ slab, that means our door goes from 6’8″ high (technically was shorter with the 1 1/2″ floor height) to 6’4″ (so 6’6 1/2″ down to 6’4″ technically). Back to my husband>>>>>”Can we live with a doorway that is only 6’4″ high?” oh, that sounds awful to me. . .
Framing up the door here~~quite the dilemma we are in now with this.
UGHHHHH! Obviously, that was not given good thought to. So, the walls were poured, the forms taken off, and now our doorway is short!
Don’t do that when you go to build! Just saying!
So, I have gotten many suggestions, ideas, thoughts, options, etc. as far as how to handle this. One option is to saw off of the top portion to open area to make space for the normal size door. Sounds good, but then my rebar (strength/support for the door) would be compromised, and I am not sure I want that. (Note the story ~~~)
So here is the story: Once my husband and I were at a graduation party for a daughter of a friend of ours. We were all having a nice time, and about 6 of us were sitting, talking, and eating at the table outside on the ‘ce-ment’ porch. My oldest daughter (at the time about 9 yo) came out to ask me something, and no sooner did she make it to the back of my chair to whisper something in my ear, than the porch (about 4+ feet off the ground) collapsed. She may have been the straw the broke the camel’s back, even though she was a skinny thing. This incident occurred after 9-11, and we only fell ‘in’ 4ish feet, but that milli-second of falling was TERRIFYING! ! ! ! ! I can only imagine in the slightest way how horrifying it must’ve been for those unfortunate people falling stories in the Twin Towers that fateful day. Ohhhhh! It makes my skin crawl thinking of the fear that must’ve been running through their bodies as they were falling through floors of those buildings. And so, when we fell with this porch collapse, it was pretty awful. Then emergency vehicles and rescue persons were called and on their way. You could hear them in the distance. There were only minor injuries. I think I got scraped up on my ankles? Maybe one person had to go to the hospital? It really turned out well considering how badly it could have turned out. It was none-the-less quite the scare. Hence, the reason I don’t want to cut in to the rebar to compromise it in any way above the doorway.
Back to my dilemma~~It sounds great to trim up the top of the framed doorway to accommodate a door that is 6’8″ high like most doorways. HOWEVER, the thought of our wall being compromised in doing so sounds like a chance I am not sure I want to take.
Then Jay recommended we taper the floor at the doorway to allow for a more normal size door. I was all excited about. . . . then thought, DUH! We are back to square one with the minuscule lip on the footer at the door, and this, on the side of the house exposed to the elements. More possibilities of cracking. I do not like this!
I have a neighbor down the road who helped building the bridges along I-71, and he built his own house. He offered up a suggestion, and
So, I start googling, asking local builders, talking with others, etc. Everyone tells me . . . EVERYONE. . . there one guarantee with concrete: IT WILL CRACK!
NOOOOOOO! I do not want to hear that. la la la la la
What? Sad face here.
Seriously. . . EVERYONE I spoke with told me the same thing. I was holding onto hope that someone, anyone would tell me that the concrete will not crack. But alas, I kept waiting in vain, and continued to hear that in fact, concrete will CRACK.
I keep thinking big, gaping cracks and leaky basements. I DON’T WANT BIG, GAPING CRACKS, and a LEAKY BASEMENT FLOOR. I know other people with basements that don’t crack and leak. Why can’t I have a basement without cracks and leaks? *whining* yes, whining. . .
After asking enough people and finding out that just because it cracks, it doesn’t mean they are big cracks, or gaping cracks, or that the basement even leaks. What it means is that there will be points that may crack, but with good support underneath, it will at least prevent the cracks from being huge and gaping. OHHHHHHH! ! ! ! Now I get it. . .
Ahhhh! That’s better!
I am slow, but I can get it. It’s a learning experience for sure.
So, long story short. . . Lower ceiling height with floor beams and higher concrete slab pour, shorter door space, and manageable pitch with the rough in plumbing. Quite the challenges, but it is getting done.
Just “Thank you LORD!” for all of the challenges. I know I need you to face these challenges. We couldn’t do this without you.