Move That Dirt, Baby!

backfilling ICF basement walls For a chronological listing of our ICF (insulated concrete forms) building, please see the ICF Building Index found in the menu bar.

Our ICF (insulated concrete form) basement is finally beginning to look like a basement! There is now dirt against two sides rather than just dirt mounds. It looks amazingly better!

After finishing the first coat of the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) we decided to wait about the final color coat until the roof is on. But, until the lumber is delivered for the roof and interior walls, we began back-filling the walls that will not be exposed.

Disclaimer: This is one of those times that I use “we” loosely – I actually did not move any dirt but I was there to cook for the fellas, bring them water (hydration is important) and take pictures!

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3 Steps to Beautiful Stucco – DIY!

3 steps to stucco collage

I love the look of stucco!

Especially since we are going for the “Tuscan” look in our vineyard home, stucco is what I want!

Real stucco is applied in multiple layers and is very labor intensive. But, we have found something that gives the same look as stucco but is more durable and easy to apply – great for do-it-yourself’ers like us – it is the exterior insulation finishing system or EIFS for short.

For a bit of background, we have done several building projects using insulated concrete forms (ICF) including our house overlooking the vineyard, filter house, barn, and greenhouse. You can find a chronological index of these projects in the ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

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ICF Basement Expansion

icf building blocks - great for diy'ers

For a chronological listing of our building projects with ICF (or insulated concrete forms), be sure to look through the new ICF Building Index tab in the menu bar.

In January 2012, we finished phase 1 of what will eventually be our basement built out of ICF (insultated concrete forms). We have been enjoying being in our own home but are so excited to finally be expanding it!

During my absence from Cultured Palate, we did some work you don’t know about yet so, let me fill you in before I share what we did last week!

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Building with ICF – Phase 2

digging with the backhoe

Finally!

I really can’t believe we have started!

Yes, this week John began digging out the dirt to expand the basement walls of our home which overlooks the vineyard! If you have been following our adventure of starting the vineyard and building our own home, you know that we are now living in what will eventually be the basement – we finished phase 1 at the end of 2011.

As you might imagine, we have saved a lot of money by building ourselves and had a lot of fun in the process! But, like everything it takes time and patience. Building the house must fit around vineyard work which pays the bills! So, our primary time to work on the expansion is now, after harvest and before pruning which will begin in late January.

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EIFS on Basement Complete!

EIFS on basement finished

Hopefully, we are done with water leaks in the house! It will be so nice to enjoy a rainy day without worrying about mopping up puddles as the rain comes under the walls!

I am now in Georgia visiting my mother and sister but before I left, the EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system) on the exterior house walls was completed!

Since we are living in what will eventually be the basement of our home overlooking the vineyard, we wanted to wait to complete the exterior of the basement walls until the upstairs was finished. But, we got tired of puddles! So, what started as an effort to use up the EIFS materials that were left over from  building the barn, ended with completely finishing the walls of the house!

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Stormy Days and Water Leaks

storm is coming

One thing we do not see much of here in west Texas is rain. In fact just a few tenths of an inch are exciting! We do after all, live in a semi-dessert climate. It has definitely been hot with temperatures in the 100 – 108F range. And, since the first of the year, we had had a whopping 3 inches of rain.

This week, though, we have had rain – 2 1/2 inches! That brings the total for the year up to 5 1/2 inches!

We had water puddles!

We had beautiful storm clouds!

When I saw the scene in the photo below, I felt as though I was in an episode of Star Trek – the Enterprise was hovering in the clouds above and Captain Kirk was just beyond the barn saying, “Beam me up, Scottie”!  [Continue Reading]

The Barn Completed – EIFS and All!

ICF barn with EIFS completed

Yippee! The EIFS on our ICF barn is now compete!

It looks as though I am speaking in code doesn’t it with all the acronyms!

Here is the code:

  • EIFS = exterior insulation finishing system – It is like a synthetic stucco only more durable.
  • ICF = insulated concrete forms – They snap together like big legos and are used for their insulation value.

When I shared weekly the updates on the ICF filter house and the ICF greenhouse, each week was a progression of steps. So, I thought for the barn, I would just post pictures that had been taken throughout the process.

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Greenhouse EIFS Completed

eifs finished

A couple of weeks ago I detailed how we had started to apply EIFS to the greenhouse walls. Well, this week we completed them!

EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco. EIFS is applied in 3 steps – a thin layer of concrete is spread over the surface of your wall, then a fiberglass mesh is embedded into it and finally a color coat is applied for a more finished look. This color coat also adds more waterproofing to the wall. You can see the application of the first 2 steps by clicking here.

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How to Apply EIFS to a Greenhouse

first layer EIFS

Today on Family Friday I would like to share an update on the greenhouse.

Last week we poured the concrete in the ICF walls (insulated concrete forms). While the ICF has excellent insulation value, we chose it for the greenhouse just for ease. The ICF snap together like big legos and are so easy for the DIY’ers. We are using them for our home which overlooks the vineyard, the filter house and new barn. As you can tell, we are sold on them!

This week, we have been working on the the EIFS exterior for the greenhouse. EIFS is an acronym for exterior insulation finishing system and also provides insulation value. It is like a synthetic stucco but more durable than traditional stucco.

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Greenhouse ICF Walls Poured

greenhouse hoops up ready to pour

We have finally gotten back around to work on the greenhouse that we started way back when!

I think we have too many projects going on at the same time! And, when you do the work yourself on all of them, well, it just takes time. I know patience is a virtue but it sure can be hard to come by sometimes!

If  you have been around awhile, you will remember that a friend gave us all the parts to a greenhouse which had been blown away in one of our haboobs. All of the parts were there but a couple needed re-welding which John and the boys did.

We used ICF (insulated concrete forms) out of ease for the base. ICF are so easy to snap together and once filled with concrete make for a strong wall. For more information on how we are building our house with the ICF, click here, here and here.

The hoops had been put up and are secured by purlings of wood. These purlings are what the fiberglass for the roof will be mounted upon. So, after some final straightening and squaring up, we had concrete  delivered.

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