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Thread: Cabin Foundations

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    Default Cabin Foundations

    Hi all,

    In areas of permafrost above the arctic circle can you build where no foundation is in the earth at all? Where it can sit on flat blocks?

    Thanks


    Ron

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    Sure you can build on "blocks". Unless of course, the structure is to be designed to resist damage from the daily earthquakes known to plague the region. I suppose if you could figure out a method of tiedown.....It would really depend upon how many known natural forces you wish to ignore.
    Generally construction in a remote location has inherent constraints most of which are tied to your wallet. The trick is to not build yourself into a corner by building the structure to be "serviceable" for the maximum cost/benefit ratio.

    I built a structure next door to my current location that is 16'x24', standard conventional framing on two laminated 8" beams setting on 8 pier blocks. They are assembled as shown in the following image.

    cabin piers .jpg

    So far, after 10 years, it's still there just as the day it was built. (knock on wood)

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    Ron,

    It will depend on exactly what conditions you have at the site. What type of soil you have - peat, silt, glacial till? How much does it thaw in the summer? North facing or south facing? Some places blocks on the surface will work, others it won't.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Ron, alot of people drill pilings and build on top of them.

    There is a new foundation out now , its kind of a criss cross thing, forget now what the name of the system is. Maybe someone else on here can tell you. I think they used them in Kotz. and Nome, and other places.

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    Rockskipper was the new system you are refering to a self supporting steel truss system with adjustable legs/footers? I saw something like that a few years ago but I can't find anything about it.

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    It is. I'll see if I can find out what it is called.

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    Mics, I think this is the one that you are thinking of. www.arcticsurfacefoundation.com

    But there is another one that I was thinking of. I kinda like this one tho.

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    No I found that one too...I saw one a few years ago that looked like it was for smaller buildings. I bet we are thinking of the same one.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    lol you guys all crack me up... lets remember this is all remote and needs to be hauled on on a boat.

    how does a guy build a retirement cabin out in the middle of no-where.



    Ron you already know how i am sure. what are you capible of these days ?
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    What are you saying Vince?

    Did'nt you just haul out a couple of thousand pounds of meat, 'out of a remote area'?

    Heres another link for you all on the new stuff they are working on.

    www.cchrc.org

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    What are you saying Vince?

    Did'nt you just haul out a couple of thousand pounds of meat, 'out of a remote area'?

    Heres another link for you all on the new stuff they are working on.

    www.cchrc.org

    ES you already know danged well what i am saying.


    there have been THOUSAND of cabins and houses built with out the benefit of some new tech or gadget. most from local lumber...

    to my dismay most carpenters these days can not see past the book or the union that trained them and have little to know common sense for the benefit or treatment of natural lumber found locally.

    lets see...

    Grass lake ron...

    retiring.. that makes him WHAT?????


    okay 45


    so he gets 30 year at best in his cabin... and sells it off or wills it to some ungrateful kid back south.

    the kid will sell. it.

    new owner will have it 20 years... 50 years on a remote cabin is a good life...

    but then there will always be add ons or other... heck by then there might even be a road to the porcupine and condo's and the land will have increased in value2000 times and Ron sold it early and earned millions.

    comfort and cost effectiveness. as the cost of hauling all that stuff out there quintuples the base price of it.. and you know it.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    Sorry ron.. vince says you can't do it.

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    Perhaps you are thinking of the tridetic system:

    http://multipoint-foundations.com/

    They look like they would be awesome for poor soils or permafrost but they are not cheap. I contacted the company in ontario Canada about a year ago (the Alaska dealer has moved on). They sent me a draft foundation plan for a 20'X24' footprint designed to support three beams for my cabin. The quote for the package delivered to Anchorage was $13,500! (shipping was a big part of the cost if I remember. It come in pieces for assembly so transportation to remote sights might not be too bad.

    I eventually went with a bomb proof poured foundation for considerably less (no permafrost - truck access).

    Cheers Joel
    Last edited by Joel in Alaska; 09-30-2009 at 22:42. Reason: added link

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    Yes joe thats it...or one very similar. Seems to me some one in alaska was making them. That does seem expensive. Thanks for the link!

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    Member GrassLakeRon's Avatar
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    I'm 39. I have 13.5 years left till I retire. I have been looking at property now for 5 years. I have a couple of places in mind. I have enough in my 403B to both buy and build a 16x20 almost anywhere. I have gotten prices for both Alaska rail (thanks to the nice lady who works there originally from Michigan) and Evergreen in Fairbanks to ship what I need or fly it in. If I can do it by Boat, great, but if not, I will have in flown in. The sad thing is it is almost 1 to 1 for cost. 25k for the structure and 25K to have it flown in. I put lots of time and thought into what I do so a few years ahead is no big deal.

    I have looked into shipping crates, wood, and other forms of structures but foundations are of interest right now. I would love to get 20 years in a cabin. If I follow my genetic predisposition I have until 77. My boys, at this point, love the idea of an Alaska place no matter where it is in the bush. We as a family have lived in our "home lands" so to speak for a long time. Moms side since fur trapping days in Michigan in the 1700's and Dads side since 1715 or so in Tennessee. I would love to come back to Alaska and start a new tradition there. You guys need to look into land trusts for you kids..... Thanks for all the advice and help.

    Ron

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    Sounds like a plan to me. Some times the plan is more exhilarating than it's fruition...but you never know untill you..uh.. fruit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock_skipper View Post
    Mics, I think this is the one that you are thinking of. www.arcticsurfacefoundation.com

    But there is another one that I was thinking of. I kinda like this one tho.
    This might not be the most practical application but it could be used for inspiration. The jack pads on the foundation is not a new idea. I've known people that have built a cradle system made out of railroad ties with a jack pad on top. Even her down below the arctic circle we have to deal with frost heaves. You either have to drill down a piling/pier below the frost line or build directly on the soil. Either way it is not a bad idea to have jack pads.

    Check this book out. It doesn't go into great length on foundations but it gives you somewhere to start. The google version cuts out most of the book but you can at least preview some of it. It is a must have though so you should buy it someday.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=9KK...age&q=&f=false
    That's what she said...

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    I agree with yah there vince....to much fluffy crap.

    I start hauling all my building materials for my remote property in a few weeks. Guess what the materials are? A bunch of rough sawn lumber with my chainsaw mill.....real technical ehhh? Gotta cut 7-12 miles of trail just to tie onto an existing trail........and it'll all get out there with my trusty ol P. Widetrak LX. I's gonna be a whopping 12X16ft. with a loft

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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I agree with yah there vince....to much fluffy crap.

    I start hauling all my building materials for my remote property in a few weeks. Guess what the materials are? A bunch of rough sawn lumber with my chainsaw mill.....real technical ehhh? Gotta cut 7-12 miles of trail just to tie onto an existing trail........and it'll all get out there with my trusty ol P. Widetrak LX. I's gonna be a whopping 12X16ft. with a loft

    Your right...there are a lot of structures out there with little or no planning with the foundation. Quite a few are probably still standing. Sounds like you have either put a lot of time or money (or both) into this project. It would suck if it started sinking or frost heaving and destroyed your cabin.

    I think a little planning is not fluff.
    That's what she said...

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    Quote Originally Posted by matjpow View Post
    Your right...there are a lot of structures out there with little or no planning with the foundation. Quite a few are probably still standing. Sounds like you have either put a lot of time or money (or both) into this project. It would suck if it started sinking or frost heaving and destroyed your cabin.

    I think a little planning is not fluff.

    Don't indulge me.

    I have quite a few yrs building remote......and I also payed close attention to what species of trees were around before i staked a few yrs. back. I also listen up to what the remote locals had to say.....got it covered bub. actually....i've kept everything nice n cheap.....hence the chainsaw mill and all the craigslist windows, doors, sinks, and a used snow machine. my pilings are alllllll adjustable....................

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