The General In His Labyrinth The Music That Rocks This House

Gimme Shelter!

Page 68: Running The Marathon

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...
We're going to take a closer look at our ferrocement roof construction this week. A good, solid set of kneepads and a willingness to get down and dirty are indispensible. Next to my workboots is a bolt of the nylon fabric we are using to build our laminated "meshcrete" over ferrocement roofing. Actually, this photo is just a chance to show off my legs. Doesn't it make you feel better about how yours look? Making My Stand
We've nailed down our sheets of 3/4 inch insulating foam board and are laying approximately 1/2 inch of ferrocement on top of that. Note the pitch (slant) of the roof here to facilitate rain runoff towards the parapets, which double as built-in guttering. The barrel-vaulted thermal chimney pictured here is the center our house design and layout. We'll lay our roofing around the house from one side of the barrel vault to the other. Note the heavy rubber gloves we use to apply our cement. The Start And Finish Line
On the aforementioned kneepads, we start hand troweling cement on over a layer of our nylon mesh fabric, a combination we call "meshcrete". After our initial layer of ferrocement, we apply two separate thin layers of meshcrete, using lamination to increase our structural strength. This smooths the surface to facilitate runoff and reduces cement cracking during curing - an important consideration for a monolithic roof. Smoothing Things Over
The seam between the barrel vault arch and the flatwork is built up with several layers of ferrocement and meshcrete. You can see the smooth, seamless nature of our roofing where the ventilation blocks pierce the vault. Interested parties might check previous episodes of Gimme Shelter to see how these were put together. An elastomeric sealant coating swabbed on with a mop and we'll be close to moving in. My magnum dopus
We are building the roof towards this corner of the house (photo taken from atop the barrel vault arch). Recent rains have filled up our water feature nicely, as you can see. The driveway runs along the top of the earth berm you see at right and curls around to the other side of the house.

With another beautiful Texas spring upon us, we near the end of our house construction marathon and are already thinking about the pleasures of planting our olive grove...
A cover up?
Want to see a rough floor plan?

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Next installment: Spring In My Step Click HERE
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