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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


Backfill Pour of Concrete in DAC-ART Dry Stack Modular Block House

November 2007

Mike and Don, our block layers have been doing tests with various grout products. We had a ton of rain down this way a week or so ago and one DAC-ART house, over in Gulf Breeze, FL has noticeable migration of water thru the grout they had used. We sure don't want that same problem, so we are re-considering what we have been using. We tried a new (to us) product from L & M Concrete Products, but it did not perform as well as a combination of Thoro brand products. The blocks were sealed on the bottom edge and grouted. The next day they were filled with water in the open cavity of the blocks.

These openings were cut into the top blocks that will be the above ground basement for vents to be inserted. A nice looking, non-rusting brass or aluminum register can be screwed into the blocks to cover the opening later. A register with movable vents will be inserted in the vent holes. This is the west side.

The vent openings in the east elevation.



I went to Memphis for a week. Along the way I stopped at a roadside BBQ vendor. I bought a pulled pig sandwich, a Cornish hen (he was out of ribs, I passed on the snout)

The area under the porch was filled with sand, wet and tamped down. The water didn't really have any place to go, so it is real obvious that the grout mix that my guys started with would not be watertight. This area of grout will have to be removed and re-grouted. The wood boards are form boards for the porch's slab that got poured the next day.

You can see the window and door openings now.

The entrance stairs will hug the side of the wall and come down both south and north. The ones on the south side will require a couple more steps since the ground slopes towards the water. The men dug a footing for the outside wall of DAC-ART blocks that form the staircase.

Everything had to be inspected before we poured concrete. The inspector came Tues. Nov 13, 2007. The concrete was poured the next day, Wednesday, November 14, 2007.

The joists for the first floor are attached to a band of wood that is bolted into the DAC-ART blocks. We are using Georgia-Pacific manufactured joists from Swift Supply in Orange Beach, AL.

When I got back after about a week's absence, the joists were all in place as was the rebar in the garage slab and the porch.

This man is grouting the block joints on the inside of the garage. The steel is in place for inspection and the photo below shows the outer edge of the garage, the opening, where there is a deeper trench and extra steel.

Next day, Wednesday, November 14, 2007 was a beautiful day to pour concrete. The pumper truck arrived and a series of concrete mixers showed up like clockwork. Some had interesting paint jobs.

These workers are finishing the slab and it's newly poured concrete in the garage.

The photo above is looking deep into a stacked dry-stack block wall. You can see the rebar running laterally and vertically. The wire near the top is the lift handle. This area gets completely filled with concrete when the blocks are back-filled.

The openings for the vents were boxed in so the back-fill concrete would not flow out thru them.

By the time I got over here on Thursday , Nov 15, the sub-floor was in place and the temporary stairs from garage to first floor were in built.

At one time we talked about putting the washer and dryer in this area beside and under the stairs, i am glad we moved them upstairs. It would have been really cramped and this way we can make a nice wide staircase into the entrance hall.

Stairs from garage into the entrance hall.

These temporary stairs will be replaced with permanent stairs later.

First floor looking north. Advantech sub-flooring sheets.

The first floor feels so high up. It is built to the new code that requires the living area be much higher than when we built the Phase I. From this level we can look down upon the Phase I guesthouse / office. This floor, looking north in these photos, will have the large entrance hall / library and the guestroom and bath. Both areas will be generously sized. The guest room will have French doors out onto the porch. One of the nice advantages of being up high on the waterfront side is that if the air is still and there are 'no-see-ums' about, there is often an absence of bugs and even a bit of extra breeze the higher up you go.

I am looking into the possibility of using Magnesium Oxide Wall Boards in place of gypsum boards (Sheet rock) . So far they look like a great substitute. I have spoken to several of the importers. Luckily the Port of New Orleans is not too far ways.