July 15 , 2000
Under the Floor is a Real Drain
Before filling the trench or laying down the radiant floor tubing, the under-floor drains must be carefully placed. Much time was devoted to measuring and re-measuring the placement of the toilet, shower, vanity, washtubs and kitchen sink drains. There's only one chance to get it right. Once the concrete is poured, there's no way to fix mistakes.
Measuring the distances in a sixteen sided house is a little more challenging than a rectangular house. Using the house plans, triangulation with string lines, the measurements came together. Stakes were driven into the ground where all the drains were to be placed.
Once the stakes were placed, it was time to hit the plumbing books to determine what pieces went where to connect the drains to the septic line. After much reading, it was apparent that further consulting was required. (The books were very helpful, but the information was not complete.) So a phone call to Jeff the plumber was made. Jeff, if you recall installed our well and septic system last year.
Jeff came out and gave sound advice as to how to design the system in accordance with the county's plumbing code. Although our county does not require an inspection for this, Jeff's answered a lot of open questions regarding the design and gave quite a few tips as well.
The main line from the septic to the main vent stack is schedule 40, 4" PVC. 4" PVC is also used for the toilet. All other drains feeding into the main line are schedule 40, 2" PVC. Three P traps were used for the two floor drains and the drain for the shower. All of the 4" pipe was sloped at about 1/8" per foot while all 2" pipe was sloped at 1/4" per foot. To be absolutely sure that the slope would stay constant, the pipe was suspended slightly off of the ground using two stakes and strapping at most major connections.
Once all of the fittings were in place and glued it was time to test it out. It was rather fun to pour buckets of water in each drain and then time how long it took until the water made a splash in the septic tank. It was amazing how easy it was to hear the water gurgle its way to the tank. It took about 20 seconds for the water to reach from the furthest drain to the tank. Having a proper slope insures that the system will drain properly.
Again, it cannot be stressed enough that the drain placement be checked and rechecked for proper placement. There's only once chance to get it right. You will probably want to have a master plumber look things over before you make a mistake that cannot be undone.
Visit from Bun and Bear
What a great thrill it was to have Bernice (Bun) and David Fraser (Bear) visit our place last Tuesday. If you recall, our visit in 1997 to Bun and Bear's sixteen sided cordwood house (Hutchnden House) in Coe Hill, Ontario gave us the inspiration to build our own house. Since then Bernice and David have moved closer to town, but the house is still a bed and breakfast. If anyone is considering building a sixteen sided cordwood home, you might want to plan your next vacation to Ontario.
When they walked up to the house, their looks on their faces said it all. Happy memories of their own housebuilding experiences were once again rekindled and they seemed very pleased at how our house was coming together. It was a great honor to have them take the time to come visit our house in the making. We hope to see them again in a couple of years when the house will be complete and we can return the warmth and hospitality that they gave us on our trip in 1997.
On a final note, I opened the porch door the other morning (still half asleep) to find that something landed on my shoulder. As I slowly looked to see what visitor had made its startling arrival, I was greeted by a bright green frog. So I gently placed him on a tree stump and took his picture for this week's Beanie Baby photo. (I waited for it to grant me three wishes, but it just sat there and smiled for the camera.)