Block Wall Construction, Day 2

We had a super long day yesterday, and an early start this morning. Bob was over again, helping us out for another full, solid day.

As part of the morning prep, I cut down 15 10′ lengths of rebar into 5′ lengths (two for each block). Then I drilled holes in the concrete, and Bob and I pounded the rebar in.

We’ll eventually pour concrete into each concrete block opening, and the rebar will help strengthen everything.

Bob, doing some custom cuts for the end block pieces.

Liz and Bob, getting the first corner blocks in.

Liz, who is now very adept at mixing mortar.

Getting more corner pieces built up.

You can barely see it in this photo, but we have a dirty trick: we’re using 3/8″ nuts, and placing the between each course of block. This ensures that we’ll have the proper distance between blocks, and serves as a kind of guardrail.

It’s not what the professionals do, but… we are far from professionals. So long as things are consistent, no one’s the wiser.

At around this point, with the corner more defined… Liz and I took over. Having worked with Bob, Liz had a good sense for what to do… and I took over her job as mortar mixer.

Liz, applying the mortar. As was the case yesterday, she again did the brunt of the work today.

She would put down mortar for the next block, on top of the existing course. Then she’d get the mortar along the side of the topmost block (a really difficult thing, as the mortar kept falling off, repeatedly).

Then, she got the mortar onto a new block… which I helped slide down, over the rebar. Once settled, Liz would then reposition the new block… and mortar some more.

Rinse and repeat, over and over again. Block after block. As Liz was fine-tuning, I kept a semi-steady supply of mortar mix at the ready.

We unfortunately had yet another small collapse of soil, near where the steps where. This was a continuation of what happened the day of the cement pour.

Honestly, we got incredibly lucky. The soil pushed in the retaining walls, but the walls didn’t touch any of the block we put down. Things could have been really bad, but everything just came right up to the cement blocks.

The ground collapsed where Bob was standing, and he was mostly ok (albeit a bit stunned). Bob ended up digging out enough soil for us to put on a brace, and to push the retaining walls back a bit more.

I ended up putting almost all the soil back. Things should hold now, but I’m not going to rest easy until we fill these cores with concrete, and it’s all set up.

At the end of the day: three courses done, and a fourth ready to go. Our plan is to pick up on Tuesday, after work, and hopefully we can get another course done.

We have a total of six courses, so we’re about halfway. The top course will be a bond beam, and will require us to pour a bit more cement… and cut the blocks so that we can bend the rebar down. It’s a bit more work, but should provide a lot of added support/strength.

Block Wall Construction, Day 1
The Back Porch Cement Pour

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