Last month, after we cleared the building site for our cottage, we started work on our foundations. With some instruction from Rick, we built our first-ever concrete form: a wooden frame to contain the frost-protected slab for our house. After mentally gauging the size of every room we've been in against the imagined size of our cottage for the last year, it was really exciting to see the real perimeter!
After a relatively simple assembly, we staked, leveled and squared the form. With this complete, we were surprised to see just how uneven our site was. With our future cottage sitting just above a bedrock ledge, there wasn't much leeway for grading the area flat, so we compensated for the slope by lining the interior of the form with 3/4" stone in order to make an even surface.
Once the interior of our form was reasonably flat, we draped a sheet of 6 mil plastic over it to prevent ground moisture from wicking into the slab. On top of that, we laid an insulative floor and sidewall with our EPS foam. This part of the process was pretty painless, as the size of our cottage worked almost perfectly with the 4'x8' sheets. There was very little waste, and when the job was complete we had essentially created an insulated bowl to hold the concrete.
Next up... shaping the future slab with more 3/4" stone, laying wire mesh and rebar, installing radiant heat tubing, etc.