The Project: A 2,163 square foot house utilizing dry stack concrete block construction with a central courtyard and based on the Spanish colonial-era missions in San Antonio.The Challenge: Can a forty-something married couple design and build an attractive, efficient and mostly paid-for house while remaining sane, solvent and married? With no actual prior construction experience? Hmmmmm - let's check in on our Contestants and see how they're doing...
|This week, like last week and next week, will be spent cladding our dry stack block walls with our own bit of DIY genius: meshcrete. Here, we drape a bolt of nylon mesh fabric over the roof parapet and let it drop to the ground. Meanwhile, we've got a 94 pound bag of #4 sand, 45 pounds of Portland cement and a judicious amount of water getting ready in the Jim Hodson Memorial Mixmaster.|
|This week's bilious shade of mesh fabric (which we're calling Soylent Green) reclines supine on our dry stack block walls. After cutting it at the foundation line, we smooth the fabric onto the walls to eliminate wrinkles. The fabric self-adheres nicely to the blocks, but will tend to lift up a bit when the cement is applied, situating it nicely in the middle of our cementitious stucco.|
|Our partially-finished product after hand-troweling the cement into the walls and over the mesh. The darker, wet portion of the walls represents around 175 pounds of cement (about 2/3 of the mix described above).The walls will be coated with an elastomeric white paint compound which will seal the walls, reflect the Texas summer sunlight away from the house and finish smoothing the walls out.|
|We've made this point before, but it bears repeating: if you can't burn your site trash this close to your house without worrying about it, maybe you should consider building with concrete. I like to use this spot because it is shielded from the prevailing winds.|
|This isn't house construction, but is typical of the kind of site-improvement work that is always ongoing. I use the scrap pieces of roof grid and small loads of leftover cement to help fill in the low spots in the driveway. After we finish the house, we will pour a full concrete drive here. A member of management, at left, thought there was food involved and decided to supervise what I was doing. And so it goes...|
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