The last week has flown by as we've happily watched our house start to take shape. Last Wednesday we received our first insulation shipment from StyroRail. The first shipment of foam is for the insulated tray that will hold our structural slab. The foam is called SRP 400 and is a high density expanded polystyrene with a compressive strength of 40 PSI (aka strong enough to hold up our house). StyroRail shipped all of the pieces of the insulation tray cut to size, so aside from cutting holes to pass the plumbing through there was no cutting or waste on site!
Before I get too far, I should explain what had to happen before the foam went into the hole. After installing the ground loop we backfilled with 6" of stonedust to protect the loop and create good contact with it. It was then time for the underground plumbing and electrical preps, which were very cleanly executed by Ackland Plumbing and Portage Electric. Then 12" of additional fill were laid in two lifts. Each time fill was added it was compacted to provide the bearing strength we need to support the house. The last pass levelled the gravel pad to within about an inch of level all over, simplifying the installation of the foam.
At last it was time for the foam. After laying the first few pieces we noticed that even though the gravel was nearly level there were still voids under some of the pieces. In order to get as close to perfection as possible we decided to use some extra stone dust to fill the voids and truly line up the foam blocks. It worked like a charm, and with only 2 days of work the team from Cornelis Grey had all the pieces in place, secured with straps and foam and gravel ballast.
Next steps are to install the frost skirt and drain tile around the perimeter of the tray, after which we will backfill over them to provide extra support to hold everything in place. We will then lay the 6 mil poly vapour barrier and rebar into the tray prior to pouring concrete early next week!
This stage has been really exciting to watch as I think it really showcases how smooth and clean the process can be when well planned. The whole team is doing a great job so far. I can already picture the concrete slab nestled nicely into its insulated tray, safe and warm and comfortable. The robustness of our building shell starts with this foundation, and it's off to a great start.