While I finished off the thistles, John poured footings for new posts in the basement.
The basement isn’t finished and no floor has been poured, although there is a thick bed of gravel sitting on top of the dirt. And while the old house is sitting on a new foundation with two large and new wooden beams supporting it, the posts supporting the beams are simply sitting on blocks of wood on top of the gravel on top of the dirt — meaning that really there is nothing supporting the house! As the house settles and weighs down on the beams, the beams push down on the posts and the posts push down on and into the ground! (China, here we come?) The wood in the beams is actually twisting as a result.
To add to the problem, the previous owner had cut some notches out of the beams, weakening them, and neither John nor the building inspectors were happy about that. So we have ordered two metal I-beams and John is busy preparing for their arrival. A bonus to using the steel I-beams is we’ll only need two support posts in the basement — much less than the seven currently breaking up the space.
(Note the wooden block under the telepost in the left of the picture — sitting on gravel, sitting on bare ground.)
The task of pouring footings for the new posts was not as simple as it sounded. You try digging through four inches of gravel, then a couple of feet deeper into the ground, before inserting your form and mixing and pouring the cement.
Each footing is 24 inches in diameter and 20 inches deep. Lots of rebar was used, both vertically and horizontally. John also pounded down the vertical rebar (seen in the photo) until it hit bedrock, so it is at least another two feet deeper yet than the footing itself. As he says, once the house is properly positioned and supported on his footings it will not be going anywhere! The job was tough enough; he had no intentions of ever having to redo it.