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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Slipform Stone Walls...

1:33 pm - 50 degrees - raining...

I have mentioned before how we are kind of doing everything backwards, with a lot of shoulda’, coulda’, woulda’s being learned along the way.  That was not intentional, that is just how it has turned out. 

What do I mean by ‘doing everything backwards’?  Well, the second floor is further along than the first floor.  More accurately, the first floor doesn’t really exist yet... our home kind of looks like a one level on stilts – I currently park my rig under the house, in what will one day be the foyer.  Now you understand what I mean by doing stuff backwards.  Instead of building from the floor up, we are building from the roof down.  Once again, that was not intentional, that is just how it has turned out.

The other day Tony jokingly said that my summer project could be to slipform the downstairs exterior walls.  I had no clue what that was, so after a quick Google search, I said “YES!  That is going to be my summer project!”  I don’t think that is the response he was expecting.

Slipform stone construction has been used for over 100 years.  It is a method for making a reinforced concrete wall with stone facing in which stones and mortar are built up in courses within reusable slipforms. 

Slipforms are short forms, up to 2 feet high that are placed wall thickness apart, these forms serve as a guide for the stone work.  The flat-faced stones are placed inside the forms with the good faces against the form work.  Any stone with a flat face on at least one side can be used, and they don’t have to be very thick to cover a fair amount of wall.  Concrete is poured in behind the rocks, filling in the concrete with what are called “uglies”, or stones without a flat face, to use less concrete.  Rebar is added for strength, to make a wall that is approximately half reinforced concrete and half stonework. 

(photo source: Pinterest)

(photo source: Pinterest)

The slipformed walls can be faced with stone on one side or both sides.  After the concrete sets enough to hold the wall together, the forms are “slipped” up to pour the next level.  With slipforms it is easy for a novice to build free-standing stone walls.

Slipforming combines stone masonry and concrete work to form a wall that shares the attributes of both.  Slipforming lets the builder create a flat or plumb stone wall that has the beauty and strength with the reinforcement of concrete and steel, without using masonry skills, making it less expensive and more accessible to the layperson.  The final product is long-lasting, low maintenance, and virtually weather and fireproof.

(photo source: Pinterest)

I have been very adamant about wanting stone to go all the way around the house on the first level, but we have been hesitant because of the cost.  This is a perfect solution, although extremely labor intensive.  There will still be the cost for cement and rebar, but I believe we can dig up enough stones around our property to build the exterior walls, which will be a foot and a half thick.  And it will be progress!  I’m always excited when there’s progress on the house.

I have one month to research and gather supplies before the kids are out of school and I will have the time to start slipping rocks and concrete together. 

  X  Level
  X  Wheelbarrow
  X  Buckets (haul cement and small rocks)
      Cement Mix (gas or electric)
  X  Scrap lumber to build slipforms
      Stones (various sizes)
  X  Used motor oil (paint faces of slipforms –easier to pull away from dried cement)
  X   Stone House by Tomm Stanley research book
  X   Our Home Made of Stone by Helen Nearing research book

My two research books just arrived from Amazon!

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