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Chronicles of the Design & Construction of Two Waterfront Hurricane Proof Dry Stack Modular Green Custom Homes
1. Villa Lagoon, Wilder Italian Style Home
2. Nasello Italian Style Home


Concrete Panel Delivery and Concrete Acid Stain Testing

Monday, February 11, 2008

DAC-ART Concrete Panel Delivery

This past Friday we received a truck load of blocks and our three large concrete panels that go on the upstairs bedroom walls between the two windows on each side. The blocks were unloaded first and our three panels came next. After that, the remaining two panels were taken down to the Nasello job down the road a bit.

Now that the first row of blocks is on the upper floor, I feel a bit more comfortable getting close to the edge of the room to take a full length photo of the upstairs floor. This is looking north across Fort Morgan Road. I am standing near the doors that will go to the upper deck.

This is looking South, of course, across Little Lagoon. I am standing in the master bedroom area.

The men have placed bright orange protective plastic caps over the sharp ends of the rebar that are sticking up and out of the center of the block walls. I am so glad that they have taken this safety measure. It would be way too easy to be leaning over, focused on something in the distance and just not see that dark lethal spike near your eye.

After the regular blocks were lifted from the flatbed truck and placed on the ground, New Stone Age Builders re-threaded the crane's cable thru the pulley at the end of the boom (rather than the boom extension that they had been using) to support the greater weight of the large flat panels we received from Ted Dial and DAC-ART. One of these panels goes between each set of windows on the master bedroom walls on the top floor. There are five panels on the truck because two of them go to the Nasello job down the road.

The cotter pin had been removed and replaced so many times that it broke and my guys had to improvise.

The DAC-ART Co cast lifting handles into the side of the panels for ease of placement. We set the panels on scraps of floor joists to keep them off the dirt and grass and keep them clean. The back side will be fully exposed in the master bedroom I believe.  If I lived in a cooler climate, I am sure that they could be constructed with insulation sandwiched between the panels and an interior wall. It is so mild here that I prob won't need to take any steps to add insulation to them. But if we have climate change it I get cold (which happens easily :o), I'll do the old castle thing of hanging thick tapestries over them in winter.  But maybe they are planning to do an insulated thin half-block on the interior, not sure.

Then it was back to work stacking the regular blocks. Look at the blue sky - we have had a wonderful winter with mostly sunny, warm days. No complaints here. My utility bill was under $100 for last month (January), that is pretty good considering I can't keep the thermostat low and suffer in cold. Too warm is OK, too cold won't do.

Mike is beginning to lay out the blocks that will make up the top row of the upper floor, just under the cornice. He is doing this so that I can do a free-hand design on them using concrete acid stains. The product is runny like water , so I need them tipped over and flat on their backs, which he will do for me later. The old pallets are there to keep the blocks clean while they are lying on their backs. He is lining them up in order, so my design can be continuous from block to block. the DAC-ART blocks vary in length so the design will flow across the grout lines as if they were not there.

Testing Concrete Acid Stain

I have started testing concrete acid stain on my DAC-ART blocks in preparation for my big job of adding a multi-color design around the entire top row of blocks that go just under the cornice.  I had two colors of SuperStone Concrete Acid Stain left from the construction of the Phase I Guest House. I had the colors SuperStone calls Aged Copper Green (actually blue) and Palmetto Green. This product had been in my mini-storage for about 5 years and looked OK, but I don't know if constant hot-cold cycles plus time caused any change to occur. I took a small paintbrush and made these marks, several coats, on a piece of scrap concrete block.  The blue looks kinda blue but the green is definitely not green. But it did leave a permanent mark, so it could be useful.

Meanwhile, I met a super guy who is a concrete acid stain professional. His name is Chad Blackwell. Chad's business is:

Xtreme Concrete Designs
1-251-269-4368

He is opening a new showroom in Foley near Reynolds Concrete. Ck my Villa Lagoon Partners page for the address and phone there.

When first applied.

Cad was kind enough to give me a small sample of all of the colors of Kemiko Concrete Products that he uses. I did a sample on a piece of broken block. You can see the original look immediately after painting it (above) on the bare concrete and then a day later (below left). I poured water on it and the photo on right below shows how it looks wet. Keep in mind that these blocks already have some color added into the body of the mix. Chad is going to purchase some of the Kemiko Product in their green and blue colors for me to try. We both think that this will be the first example of anyone using concrete acid stain on the exterior of a residence to create a polychrome frieze.

Many homes on the Lido, the beach island resort of Venice have colorful friezes. I made photos of several when I was there. I think this is a perfect effect for a water's edge Italian style home here on Little Lagoon.

Same Block the Next Day.

Same Block the Next Day Wet.

Below are a couple of photos to show you the cuts and odd corners we have to deal with. Mike and crew are really good at planning. They 'measure twice and cut once' so we do not have much waste and they label each block for its placement in the house construction. The newer DAC-ART blocks are made with the thin fins that you see on the ends in the photo below. This is a big help when blocks have to have slight adjustments in length. The thinner fins or flange is quicker and easier to cut than the full thickness of a block. Don't know how this would effect insulation properties if you were building in a very cold climate. I suppose Ted Dial could devise a way to add insulation to the small cavity the flange ends create.

Continue to Concrete Acid Stain Continued...