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- Storm-Ready Design > Episode 2: Building a Reinforced Concrete House
Setting Aluminum Forms for Concrete Walls and Foundation
Bob recaps construction of the stem-wall foundation and integral concrete slab, the vertical steel reinforcing, steel mesh, window bucks, headers, and spacers put in place for the cast-in-place concrete walls. Cameron Parker and the crew of Solid Wall Systems spray the aluminum wall forms with an organic oil spray to prevent adhesion from the concrete and set the forms for the pour. Bob joins Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County Emergency Manager, to review cleanup, demolition, and repair one year after Hurricane Charley. sallade explains that housing built in the 1960s through the 1980s, before the Florida Unified Building Code, had stick framing, gable roofs, and siding. "It didn't stand a chance," he says. Looking at surviving 1920s Florida architecture, it's clear that unified construction, concrete walls, protected windows, and hip roofsare the way to design wind-resistant homes. Back on site, bob watches the pour, learns how the walls and window openings will be vibrated to eliminate voids, and sees the bracing set to hold the walls square before leaving the site to let it cure overnight. Once the forms are removed, Jesse Gonzalez explains how a traditional three-coat Florida plaster job will complete the exterior once the structure has cured for two weeks.
- Part 1: Setting Aluminum Forms for Concrete Walls and Foundation
- Cameron Parker, production manager for Solid Wall Systems, shows Bob how the aluminum forms are prepped and erected for the concrete pour at the Punta Gorda, Florida, storm-ready house. Parker explains that the setting of forms takes a six-person crew about five hours. The forms are first sprayed with a biodegradable form oil so that the concrete will not stick to them and will be easily removed once the concrete has begun to set. The forms are locked with a wedge and pin system, with wall ties installed to hold the forms together and clips to hold the forms to the slab. Parker shows Bob how the specialized window bucks are used to create the window openings without use of lumber or additional material seams that could lead to leaking and water intrusion later on. After seven days of steady rain, the crew is ready to pour the concrete for the foundation and slab at the Punta Gorda, Florida, storm-ready home. Bob explains how code now dictates that foundations be elevated and supported by a three-course block stem wall set on reinforced footings below the grade. These perimeter stem walls are reinforced with horizontal and vertical number five diameter steel rods or rebar. The stem walls and slab are poured as one to create a seamless slab and foundation. This integral foundation will protect against water intrusion and hydrostatic pressure that lifts slabs and compromises structures when storm surge comes. The concrete is floated and polished to finish the slab before the reinforcing steel rods and mesh are set for the walls. Vertical steel rods are spliced to the reinforcing rods protruding from the foundation, then steel mesh is attached with wire to the rods. Stirrups and rebar create the headers, and spacers are attached to the mesh to keep it centered in the new wall once the concrete is poured.
- Part 2: House Failures in Hurricanes
- Part 3: Building a Reinforced, Solid-Pour Concrete Wall
- Part 4: Removing the Concrete Wall Forms and Planning the Plaster Finish
When hurricanes strike again and again, as they did in Florida in 2004, the effects are devastating. Bob Vila and crew work to completely rebuild a damaged house, using new standards for storm-ready housing. Along the way, Bob investigates a home's vulnerabilities in extreme weather and learns why some building systems fail and others succeed.
Also from Storm-Ready Design
Bob is in hurricane battered Punta Gorda, Florida, to build a storm-ready home in Season 1 of Bob Vila. Bob visits two homes in the same neighborhood, one that was completely destroyed by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, the other that was built to exceed hurricane codes and was left unscathed by hurricane winds and water from the same storm. Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes shows how enhanced building practices and technologies can create a storm-resistant home, while Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Secretary of Community Affairs Thaddeus Cohen discuss rebuilding Florida. Building inspector Randy Cole and Mercedes Homes’ Jesse Gonzalez review the site and watch the pour of a three-stage steam wall that sits below grade and ties the slab foundation to the ground. The resulting foundation will resist water penetration from storm surge by allowing water to move around the foundation without encountering entry points. Bob reviews the house plans with Scott Buescher of Mercedes Homes and learns how the house is constructed as an integrated system. Building connections are emphasized and reinforced rebar and steel mesh are extended from the stem wall to the roof line in preparation for the solid concrete pour that will form the exterior walls.
This episode of Bob Vila will focus on roofs, how they are built and tied down to keep structures safe. Leslie Chapman-Henderson from FLASH, the Federal Alliance for Safe Housing, explains how FLASH brings information about safe housing technologies and practices to homes across America, to protect them against floods, winds, hail, and wildfires. Chapman-Henderson explains how a connected house works as a system to beat back the pushing and pulling forces of wind. Randy Shackelford of Simpson Strong-Tie shows Bob the embedded truss anchors that will tie down each truss member of the roof framing, as well as retrofit tie-downs and heavy connectors designed to fight wind uplift forces. Jesse Gonzalez walks Bob through the steel-framed interior that has a master suite and bath, and lots of open space. Bart Cox of Hanson Roof Tiles brings factory-extruded cement clay-look tiles that are pre-drilled for mechanical installation. Dave Peck of D. Peck Roofing explains that stiffer 5/8-inch plywood sheathing, 30 pound felt that is nailed, hot mopped with asphalt, and covered with 90 pound felt makes a strong, water-resistant roof deck for the tiles. Metal nailer boards keep cap tiles in place when wind strikes.
Bob visits PGT Industries to see impact-resistant windows being tested and assembled. Code Compliance Officer Dave Olmstead explains how windows break during a storm, allowing high-force winds to enter the home, pop off the roof, and cause catastrophic building failure. Impact-resistant windows are laminated to stay intact after impact so that wind cannot enter. Olmstead shows Bob the violent impact test used to certify windows to storm standards. He shows Bob windows made of standard annealed glass, tempered safety glass, and impact-resistant glass for comparison. A pneumatic cannon then fires a two by four at each of the windows. Traveling at 50 feet per second, the two-by-four completely breaks the annealed glass, penetrates the tempered glass leaving a hole, and bounces off of the impact-resistant glass leaving it shattered but held together with no holes to invite wind entry. Impact-resistant windows feature two panes of glass with a Buticite layer in between. The glass is pressure baked at 450 degrees for four hours before it can be set in the heavy-gauge frame with silicone adhesive. Bob watches the assembly process and learns that sales of these impact-resistant windows have risen 300 percent in the year since Hurricane Charley.
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