This is the “before” picture of a Fence block column that we repaired for a customer in Mesa Arizona. We found that the Column didn’t even have any re bar inside of it.
Here is the “After” Picture. We epoxied rebar into the footing, and left our customer happy and content with a column that is stronger than it ever was.
Once the Stem wall is built, rebar installed, and Integra bolts layed out, it is time for it to be inspected, and grouted.
On larger jobs, a concrete truck and a grout pump is used to fill up the block wall. Most stem walls are grouted completely solid. You can see in the photo below , a concrete truck, the grout pump, and the hose leading to Jason and Aaron while they place the “grout”. (Grout is concrete that has smaller rocks in it so it will pass through the hose and flow properly inside the wall)
Once the grout is placed, the grout is scraped level to the block, and the integra bolts are placed into the grout according to a plan outlined by the Integra Engineers.
Once the stem wall is complete, it is time for the plumbers and electricians to place their “underslab” piping in its position. Then the stem wall is back filled with dirt, and compacted, a layer of ABC (rock and sand) is placed on top of that leaving about 4″ remaining for the concrete floor to be poured to the top of the stem wall.
The photo below is of a footing that was recently poured for a custom home that we are building in Central Phoenix. (A footing is a foundation usually out of concrete that is used as a base to support the weight of your house. ) Many houses start out this way unless they are using a Post-tensioned slab. (We can discuss that at another time.) You can see rebar coming out of the footing that will provide a connection between the footing and the stem wall.
The stem wall is used to raise up the outside perimeter of your house to the future level of your floor. (See Photo below)
In the photo above, you will notice a channel running through the top row of block. This channel is an opening for the masons to place horizontal rebar into. When grouted, (filled with concrete) that top row of block is called a bondbeam. A bondbeam adds strength to a wall. It combines the weight bearing properties and rigidity of block, with the strength and bendability of rebar.
The Integra wall system, http://www.superliteblock.com/integra_introduction.htm was invented in the 1980s by Paul Scott; a structural engineer in the Phoenix area. He partnered with Superlite Block to produce this energy-efficient building system. It didn’t take long for homeowners to see the advantages of Integra… Combining the strength,and durability of Post-Tensioned block construction with the energy efficiency of a proprietary polyurethane foam insulation that is sprayed into the masonry cores after construction.
The above photo is of an integra block shop that we built for “Grandma’s Farm” in southern Phoenix. We used 8″ wide C.M.U (Concrete Masonry Units). As you can see, the Integra Block looks just like a conventional Masonry building once the construction process is complete. An Integra wall can be finished just like any other block wall with Paint, Stucco,or even a Brick veneer.
In the next month, we will be building another large custom Integra Block home in the Phoenix-Metro area. We will be documenting the wall construction process so that you can see the differences, and advantages of the Integra wall system.
Here is an example of what can happen when you burn wood in a fireplace that was designed for gas. The Homeowner burned wood in his fireplace for a while, and then decided to switch back to gas. He neglected to clean out the ashes that had piled up over the burner. When he turned on the gas, it built up under the ashes and exploded when he tried to light it. This fireplace was not built properly and could not withstand the explosion. The insurance company called us to rebuild and repair it because they knew it would be done right!
This outdoor fireplace was constructed without rebar (reinforcing rods) and grout (concrete) in any of the open cells in the walls. The result was a destroyed fireplace,and a seriously injured homeowner. There would have been considerably less damage to the fireplace had it been constructed properly. As it was, the homeowner was lucky to be alive after being knocked unconscious and blown into the swimming pool with 100 lb. chunks of the fireplace found up to 50 feet away. Luckily for him, his wife was inside the house, heard the explosion, and decided to investigate.
There are many people who trust landscapers, or unlicensed contractors to build their fireplace,or repair your wall, fence, or BBQ. You wouldn’t trust a plumber to do electrical work at your house would you? You can count on The Darrin Gray Corporation to make sure that your masonry barbecue, fireplace, home,fence or block wall repair will be done right.