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Old 09-11-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
FunfDreisig
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Default Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem Wall

I've seen a lot of concrete foundation walls on this site. Surely they have at least half of the cores filled with concrete. So...

Just how did you guys fill the cores of concrete blocks?
And how did you keep from making a mess of the wall?
Did you mix it up a bag at a time by hand or in a concrete mixer?
Did you use a soup spoon, ladle, coffee can, grain scoop, shovel, wheel barrow or a pump truck to pour the concrete in the cores?

Background:
I've laid roughly 2/3 of the 8x8x16" concrete blocks for my 4' high stem wall on the back and part of two sides of my new 25x42' garage. These walls sit on top of the 12"wx24"deep perimeter beams that are integral to the nominal 5.5" thick 4000 PSI slab. Every other core in the wall has a 48" high stick of #4 rebar wired to a 6" stub of #4 rebar that was placed at the time of the pour. The corner and ends the walls have additional rebar in each core (i.e. 3 in a row every 8"). All this leaves me with 55 cores with rebar to fill with concrete. And each of these cores will require close to 2 60lbs bags to fill. IOW I need to dump 100+ 60 lbs bags of concrete down 55 holes with small openings (e.g. 4x5") 4 ft in the air

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Last edited by FunfDreisig; 09-12-2008 at 07:59 AM. Reason: Fixed Title
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:20 PM   #2
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Take the time to make a funnel out of plywood that matches your block size. Doesn't have to be anything fancy - you just need to give yourself a big target to aim at. Use a mixer and dump it into the wall with 5 gallon buckets. Use a loose piece of rebar to vibrate the mix as you pour it into the cores to eliminate air pockets.

You only really need to put grout in the cores that have rebar or are directly under the bearing point of a beam, column, lintel, etc. The empty cores of the other blocks actually give you some r value and help insulate the wall.
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Old 09-12-2008, 01:27 AM   #3
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

I would NEVER bother to hand mix, or run mud with a wheel barrel to grout block walls.

Pumper is the only way to go. Quick, precise, and clean.

I have 7 yards of grout mud in this wall. Cost me an extra $150 or so for the pumper, but it saved a TON of labor and time. Took all of 20 minutes to grout.



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Old 09-12-2008, 02:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Filled my foundation block the old fashion way. Sand, gravel, portland cement and water into the mixer. Dump into wheel barrel, 3# coffee can into block while working with rebar to settle out. FUN
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Quote:
Just how did you guys fill the cores of concrete blocks?
A pumper truck was used for my job.
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Old 09-12-2008, 06:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

rented a barrel mixer for $50 - made a trough funnel out of osb and away we went. Its really not that bad compared to the block work. Granted while laying the block I had the pleasure of mixing mortor by hand.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

My 12 ft wall is solid filled up to 7 ft, and every 4th cell after that. The guy that did mine built the plywood funnel mentioned above and just had the concrete truck dump right into it.

A pumper would be the easier, but hard to justify on a small job.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:24 AM   #8
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem Wall

Thanks for these great replies guys One of the best things about this site is the diversity of the advice that provides good ideas and options

100 60 lbs bags is less than 2 cubic yards so I think this job is too small for a concrete delivery and pump truck. The pump truck I used for the slab cost me $570 extra (i paid the bill) over the turn key price of the 30 yd 4,000 psi slab.

Based on your advice and a little thinking, here's the plan...

I'll use a rented 2 bag mixer and ladle the grout into the cores with a 3 quart feed scoop. I'll drape a little 6 mil plastic sheeting over the wall in the area of the core being poured and build a crude trough style funnel that fits over two sides of the wall so I don't have to hold it steady. I'll use a spare chunk of rebar to settle the grout and avoid air pockets.

FWIW i hate these rented mixers. I seem to spend more time cleaning them than using them So I plan to keep the mixer running continuously. I'll mix a bag and dump it into one of those little plastic mixing troughs for transfer to the wall and mix the next bag while filling a core. Since the wall is 4 ft high I'll use the fork lift of the Kubota to lift the plastic mixing trough onto a 4 wheel dolly with enough pallets to raise it up to easy reach.

Did I miss anything?

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Old 05-06-2010, 07:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Anyone got a pic of these trough funnels they built?
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Old 05-06-2010, 09:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

We've had to grout bond beams on top of block walls before and built a plywood
funnel/trough with a beveled 2x4 inside on each side to support the apparatus allowing
the plywood to extend down on the outsides of the block a couple of inches. Cap each
end of the trough with plywood. The square bottom edge of the 2x rides on the top
edges of the block and the beveled edge does away with a ledge for the grout to catch
on.
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Old 05-06-2010, 11:23 PM   #11
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

I'd drop a piece of rebar in every hole, and hire a pump truck. If I was worried about a minimum order of concrete, I'd find another piece of the project to place; an apron, staircase, fence posts, retaining wall, sidewalk, pad for the garden shed...something
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:49 AM   #12
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Just a stupid question here, but what is the main purpose of a stem wall? I've seen buildings with and without them. Is it just to raise the lower level of the stud wall to above ground level?

Thanks
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Old 05-07-2010, 11:42 AM   #13
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Default Re: Core Filling a 4ft high Concrete Block Stem WallI've seen a lot of concrete found

Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieK View Post
Just a stupid question here, but what is the main purpose of a stem wall? I've seen buildings with and without them. Is it just to raise the lower level of the stud wall to above ground level?

Thanks
A few reasons.

- If building into the side of a hill or grade drops off fast then used to keep moisture sensitive building materials far enough above grade. Plus in this situation when backfilling higher on the outside than the inside the block wall ends being a retaining wall and block can be grouted and vertically reinforced.

- Used in a lot of buildings where you anticipate washing down the floor or lower walls. Also if you anticipate possible banging/damage to the lower wall from what ever you are doing in the building.
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