January 29, 2010

Foundation work

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2010

I am starting to lay some of the foundation stones. I have created a separate foundation riser structure that the house wall and the floor sit on top of. Makes life a little easier for me being able to work on smaller segments of house and I am less likely to cause damage to work I have already done.. The walls are not yet attached to each other or to the foundation, good old duct tape is holding the corners of the upper structure in place.

Before I lay the stone work I first put on a skim coat of grout over the substrate. That way if I miss getting a good grout fill between the stones it won't be very noticeable as there is a color match. A little missing mortar here and there will look as if the mortar between the stones fell out from the land settling, the timbers sagging or weather related events such as freeze thaw cycles.

My substrate is a tile backer board so putting a skim coat of mortar on it works fine. I like that I can use push pins to hold the stones in place until the Quick Grip brand of glue dries. This glue does grip fast and dries fairly fast. Another advantage is that it dries waterproof which is important when I apply the wet grout between my stone work. I like working with this glue where the object I am adhering has an uneven surface that needs gap filling. These natural stones do not have a truly flat surface on the back side. I can use a coarse carborundum file to flatten areas if needed. You can find those files in the tiling supply stores.

Now I am running out of split stone, that means I will have to open my mini quarry box of stones up and start breaking up the bigger chunks into smaller chunks. You can see why I liked this color of stone for the project it is a nice complement to the timbers. The stone has shades of gray and browns to it as well as subtle blues and green, a little purple too. It might look like a miss match of stone between the area with the sink drain and the foundation but it is not. What you are seeing is that the sink area has had grout on it and it has been scrubbed to remove excess grout. That has removed some of the brown surface oxidation caused by the stones sitting out in the weather for many years. There is iron around in the soils and in the stone, also some algea green and brown and that gets scrubbed off too. But I will later use washes of acrylic paint to put some of those colors back on.

A sand dune landscape will be coming up against the foundation area. I don't have a straight line on the bottom edge of the stone work as I will be creating a loose, windblown, hilly look with sea grass type plants here and there rather than a manicured lawn.