Progress, page 38
Progress is quite rapid now that we are putting up foam panels and don't have to move dirt or
rocks. We plan to lay three courses of panels (already in place on this side of the house) and
then bring the pumper back to fill them with grout (concrete). We originally considered mixing
and placing the remaining concrete ourselves, but we'll save several weeks and a lot of very
hard work by having someone pump it. You can see where the doors and windows will be, but we
still have to fit wooden frames (called bucks) in the openings before we can do the concrete.
After that it will take another three courses to reach the top of the walls for most of the house,
minus the parapets. The family room walls are higher and will require two additional courses.
Here we are about three weeks later. It has taken that long to add the window and door bucks.
The bucks serve two purposes ... they keep the concrete from oozing out of the walls when we fill
the foam panels, and they provide a fastening point for the doors and windows. We want the
windows to be mounted roughly in the center of the 11 inch thick walls, so we've used two 2x6's
(which are actually 5 1/2 inches wide) to make the bucks. The inside 2x6 will remain in place, but
the outer one is temporary and will be removed once the concrete is in place. The windows will
mount to the outside face of the inside 2x6. I assume that has been done before by someone but
I've not seen it mentioned anywhere so we're claiming credit for the idea until we see
documentary evidence otherwise. All of this requires that the frames be precisely square and
the correct dimensions for the windows, so it has taken some time ... and a heck of a lot of 3"
screws ... to assemble the bucks for the 37 different openings we have sprinkled around the
house. The screws give better dimensional control than nails and also allow us to disassemble
the portions that get removed later. Each window required an average of eighty screws to
assemble and brace, but out of 37 bucks (some as long as ten feet) the worst case difference in
diagonal measurement (to check for square) was an eighth of an inch. I'll settle for that.
You might also notice that the walls look darker now. That's because my wife spent several
backbreaking days painting them battleship grey (the cheapest paint we could get) to protect the
panels from the sun and to cut down on the glare from the white panels.