Thursday, April 18, 2013


Wow, the driveway rough-in is complete and work on the foundation is nearing completion! This excavation crew moves fast!  (See pics with captions below).

A few thoughts about the foundation:

We decided a while back, during the designing phase, to go with a 4' high poured concrete crawl space, as opposed to a concrete slab, or a full basement, for a few reasons:

* The soil in our region, the Catskills, is very rocky.  When excavating, you never know how far (or how shallow) you'll have to dig before hitting"ledge," (rock too big to remove with standard equipment, requiring explosives which can blow your budget to pieces).

But we wanted some below-floor storage space, so:

* A poured concrete crawl space 4' high felt like a reasonable compromise/gamble in terms of mentioned "ledge" and is high enough to store things and does not require a staircase down which would take up living space in the cabin.  It can be accessed via a hatch-door  in the floor.

* A 4' high crawl space is high enough to house the hot-water heater ( a "Low-Boy" model) which again, takes up less living space in the cabin.

Now, a very common sentiment against a crawl space is this:

"You have all the equipment, cement and manpower already on site, why not just spend a few extra bucks to dig a few feet deeper and have a full basement?

This is a very good question.  What's misleading, though, about that sentiment, is the implication that the additional costs for a full basement are simply related to digging, cement and manpower (as significant as they are).  As I mentioned above, a basement would require a staircase to access it.  In our floor plan, that would require removing the closet and pantry, or, the half bath on the first floor.  Neither of those is an option for us. So, to then add a staircase for a basement, we would have to expand the total footprint of the cabin by four feet, thus adding an additional 300 + sq ft between the two floors of the cabin, as well the foundation.  Building costs are generally based on a Per Sq Ft ratio, so between the foundation and upper floors of the cabin, the additional costs become multiplied.

If this were our primary residence, we'd probably spend the money, expand the footprint, and dig deeper for a full basement.  But for budget minded cabin builders, I'm personally sold on the 4' high crawl space as a foundation.  And hey, we were successful in not hitting ledge!  We'll be able to store a lot of stuff down there too!

Thanks for taking the time to read this!  Check out the pictures below showing the progression of the foundation installation!  Framing is not too far away!

Poured concrete footers are in place.

"Forms" being constructed 4' high for the poured concrete crawl space foundation ("Forms" are the temporary walls that contain the poured concrete. 

Concrete walls have been poured, inner forms have been removed, and foundation floor is being poured.  

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