Besides the footers and piers, which you can read more about here and here, we also had to do some extra work where the enclosed front and back porches need to be rebuilt. In fact, prepping the new foundation in these areas was quite a task.
You may remember that we had to completely rip down both of these porches. Between rot, termites and questionable building practices, both structures had to go completely. Ripping everything down took care of most of the problems, but the ledger boards needed reinforcing (due to that aforementioned rot and termite damage).
In the back, the block contractor took care of building the footers needed to support the new structure (See last week’s post for what this looks like). But in the front, the remnants of a stem wall remained. We chose to build on it rather than break it all down and start over.
Prepping the Front Porch Stem Wall
Before we could even get to the stem wall, we had to install the new ledger board so that we would know exactly how tall that new stem wall needed to be. The new ledger board sits just below the subfloor on the main house. This will bring the level of porch floor even with the living room. (This is definitely going to be an improvement over the step down we used to have to take to get into the porch.) Considering that we haven’t finished re-leveling the house and one side is sitting about a half inch higher than the other, installing the new ledger board was a little tricky. We compensated for that difference and should end up with a nice level board once everything is in place.
Once we had the ledger board, we could start putting up the forms to bring the stem wall up to the level needed to support the new floor. Using a laser level, we shot off a point on the house that will allow a sole/sill plate to sit directly on the stem wall and create a level line with the bottom of the ledger board. The new floor joists will hang from the ledger board and sit on top of the sole plate to create a strong foundation for the new walls.
We formed up the new wall by attaching sheets of plywood with tapcons into the concrete. Because the original structure was pretty uneven, we also added some expanding foam to ensure nothing leaked out when we poured. Then we drilled into the existing wall to add rebar to help tie new and old together. Concrete glue went on as well to get the strongest bond possible.
Once the forms were ready, it was time to start pouring. The size of this job didn’t really justify bringing in our concrete contractor. So, out came the wheelbarrow and we started mixing.
Despite a bit of rain right after we finished pouring everything turned out well. Next – framing. Yeah!