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Thread: cisterns

  1. #1

    Default cisterns

    lct sent me a book about building in the tropics....

    The Lumber Arrives

    And So Does 6 Tons Of Rebar

    Time for Step 1...
    Find Mike. Last we saw him, he was floating. But he's back, planning the batter boards.

    Together with Jim, the head of this Anguilla construction team...

    They form a fine team and are fast becoming good friends. I understand Jim takes Mike's money Friday nights, playing pool.
    Anyway, I asked Mike for an explanation about batter boards, which were quickly positioning themselves within "the Big Dig," as you can see...

    There is a lot of activity that goes on in the actual working area. Batter boards are used to transfer key locations and dimensions to a place just outside the building area. In essence, we offset these actual points to an area where they will not be lost by the trampling of workers, equipment or other factors.
    With some string connecting key points, the batter boards provide points of reference. We also place batter boards in such a way that that we always have a level indicator. No leaning tower of Pisa here.
    We called back our surveyor, Baeeson. He locates and marks various pre-selected points of the house onto the ground. We then transfer them over to these batter boards.
    This home design is intricate in nature, with many walls at many angles, so everything has to line up and join properly.
    The transfers to the batter boards are set, the lines drawn and the team is ready to start forming the cistern. Calvin is getting a head start, working the rebar...

    Mike and Jim have decided to proceed in two steps, forming and pouring the footings and slab for the cistern area first. Then they will do the footings that will form the perimeter of the rest of the house.
    In the end, we'll have what is called the complete footprint. This is the contact patch of the house onto our base of rock.
    I asked Mike what the rebar was for. He explained...
    Rebar is embedded into concrete to give it additional strength. Although concrete is extremely strong in compression, it lacks in tensile strength. The rebar has to be properly placed in the areas of the concrete that will be experiencing a tensile force.
    Just imagine you are karate chopping the middle portion of a horizontally placed concrete brick. The top half of the brick wants to come together (compressing). The bottom part wants to come apart (tensing).
    It cracks and breaks from the bottom upwards. So we place steel rebar in the lower part of horizontally placed concrete to help it overcome tensile forces.
    Hey, I actually understand! And meanwhile, the cistern perimeter has been formed. They place a plastic liner over the ground inside the complete form area (purpose to be explained below)...

    Then they place the rebar inside of the form. The rebar has to be tied together and placed on spacers so that when the concrete is poured over and around it, it will remain in place.
    The Rebar Work

    Vertical rebar also has to be introduced at this stage to be ready for a later concrete pour that will make up the cistern walls. This creates a solid, concrete-oneness between the horizontal slab and the vertical cistern walls.
    Our cistern will have a separation wall (giving us "grey water" for gardening). So vertical rebar, including the support columns, has to be placed for all this before the first concrete pour. After a detailed check and review to make sure that all is properly in place, it looks like this...
    Ready To Pour Concrete!

    This initial pour of concrete will require 36 cubic yards, which translates to almost four truck loads. An average concrete truck can deliver about 10 cubic yards. A cubic yard (3' x 3' x 3') weighs about 4,000lbs. That's a lot of work if it had to be placed manually. To the rescue is a concrete pump truck...

    It does most of the placing of the concrete, pouring with that movable long arm. The trucks come in one after the other and the pumping doesn't stop until it's all in.
    Although a curing retardant has been added to the concrete (to keep it from curing too fast), the team has to work quickly. The quicker the concrete cures, the harder it is to manipulate and finish
    The final placing, leveling and smoothing is grueling work. The heat and sun is brutal, especially working in that breezeless hole...

    Anguilla concrete workers are amongst the best in the world at their craft. Since the big hurricanes, Luis in 1995 and Lenny in 1998, concrete construction has become the only way to build. And Anguillians have become masters at their craft.
    (By the way, I have learned that there are two areas where you do not skimp on price when building a home in the tropics... concrete and windows. Mike and Jim researched every concrete supplier on Anguilla, and we are still researching the best, energy-efficient, heat-reflective, hurricane-proof windows.).
    Back to the subject of heat and sun. For concrete to attain its maximum strength, it needs to have the longest "moist curing period" possible. Remember the plastic laid on the ground?
    It stops the concrete from having its water leached or drained out too quickly. And the guys hose down the cured concrete with water as much as possible for days after that. When building in the tropics, this is an especially important point.
    The basic curing period for concrete is 28 days before it attains its top strength. So you want to help it out as much as you can and give it its moistest possible curing period.
    The day is done, and so is the team. The final result is perfect...

    Do you see the trough that goes around the perimeter of the concrete slab, about a foot inside the edge? This groove is "a keyway." It is a water stop, which prevents leaks from joined areas. It also has structural significance...
    The concrete walls of the cistern will sit directly over this keyway. Once the walls are poured, the newly poured concrete will flow into, and harden in, this keyway, forming a very solid unit that resists the shearing effects of lateral forces.
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  2. #2
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Yep...this is pretty much how Little Corn looks now ....all re-bar and cement pumps and giant cranes.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  3. #3

    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Yep...this is pretty much how Little Corn looks now ....all re-bar and cement pumps and giant cranes.
    thanks for the book, here's the site for the post above: http://www.anguilla-beaches.com/buil...cs-cement.html

    anybody have cistern experience in nica? i was thinking about a cistern for the dry season on the pacific side.....
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  4. #4
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    My opinion is that cisterns are cheap in terms of cost to build ... they do not have to occupy the whole size of the house.

    Also found out that they need to be sealed with more than cement... you need a product like ....I think it is called "damtite".

    http://www.damtitewaterproofing.com/
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  5. #5
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    DDT you got to be kidding us, All this to bury a Turd or two?

    Damn Son You need a break....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  6. #6
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    My Bad I thought it was a septic tank.....
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  7. #7

    Default Re: cisterns

    how about burying plastic ones surrounded by sand? is there any reason you couldn't use beach sand? salt wouldn't affect the plastic would it?

    lct, i found your words by googling;

    "A few of the companies that make the black & blue- water tanks you see all over are now building clear water storage tanks. I would use them instead, build a slab off the back of the house or one side with a shed roof over it, get one or two of them, they will most likely cost less than the digging for the cistern, when you compare the cost of materials & labor I think you will see a huge difference, cement blocks are 28 cord each right now (down from a high of 32). The tanks can be unsightly but I would figure a way to incorporate them into the plan.

    The cistern idea has merit & I know it is popular in many places, but here I think you are asking for more trouble than benefit. The builders are not experienced with it & if things don't work out they usually do not offer any "warranty work".

    I am still trying to figure out a rain water collection system to irrigate with during the dry times, but right now no one here is thinking about collecting it, with over 130 inches in the past 5 months we just want rid of it.

    One very good reason for a cistern or collection area is that in the future rainwater collection may become important. Constant discussions about the Islands' aquifers ,I have never heard from a reliable source how many people these aquifers can support. Contamination, another future possibility. Rainwater collection suddenly becomes more than just a good idea."
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  8. #8
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    I think Melissa had an above ground cistern but it had problems...dunno what they were though.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  9. #9
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Demento View Post
    how about burying plastic ones surrounded by sand? is there any reason you couldn't use beach sand? salt wouldn't affect the plastic would it?

    lct, i found your words by googling;

    "A few of the companies that make the black & blue- water tanks you see all over are now building clear water storage tanks. I would use them instead, build a slab off the back of the house or one side with a shed roof over it, get one or two of them, they will most likely cost less than the digging for the cistern, when you compare the cost of materials & labor I think you will see a huge difference, cement blocks are 28 cord each right now (down from a high of 32). The tanks can be unsightly but I would figure a way to incorporate them into the plan.

    The cistern idea has merit & I know it is popular in many places, but here I think you are asking for more trouble than benefit. The builders are not experienced with it & if things don't work out they usually do not offer any "warranty work".

    I am still trying to figure out a rain water collection system to irrigate with during the dry times, but right now no one here is thinking about collecting it, with over 130 inches in the past 5 months we just want rid of it.

    One very good reason for a cistern or collection area is that in the future rainwater collection may become important. Constant discussions about the Islands' aquifers ,I have never heard from a reliable source how many people these aquifers can support. Contamination, another future possibility. Rainwater collection suddenly becomes more than just a good idea."
    DDT I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK pardon the upper case but I don't back down and just go on with it.

    Yes in MHO a swimming pool Plastic liner is the way to go with a top and sand around it.

    God Speed JW.
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  10. #10

    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    DDT I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK pardon the upper case but I don't back down and just go on with it.

    Yes in MHO a swimming pool Plastic liner is the way to go with a top and sand around it.

    God Speed JW.
    back at you, i like the way you think! don't back down and just go on with it....

    a good motto for life....
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  11. #11
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    I say your young men'll be frittern!
    Frittern away their noontime, suppertime, chore time too!
    Get the ball in the pocket,
    Never mind gittin' Dandelions pulled
    Or the screen door patched or the beefsteak pounded.
    Never mind pumpin' any water
    'Til your parents are caught with the cistern empty
    On a Saturday night and that's trouble!

  12. #12
    Active TRN Member StickMan's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    OK, I can't help myself. Talk of cisterns brings this gem to mind...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzabmVIU6EQ

    "Find out what it is in life that you don't do well - and then don't do that thing." -The most Interesting Man in the World

  13. #13
    Para aquí para acá Jonh's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by StickMan View Post
    OK, I can't help myself. Talk of cisterns brings this gem to mind...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzabmVIU6EQ
    Ahh, a classic piece of Americana!

  14. #14
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    And very apropoos.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  15. #15
    TRN's fiesty redhead catahoula fan's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Tom, we built a 20,000 gallon cistern above ground using piedras canteras, rebar, etc. The roof on the barn, 1,000 sq ft, would collect 600 gallons with an inch of rain. Never did find the proper sealant for the inside though, as we were only there for 6 months. The sh*t kinda hit the fan, you know the story, so we never did bother looking for sealant. There's a cement store over by the Montoya statue in Mga that probably carries the ideal stuff.
    "Patience is a virtue, but persistence to the point of success is a blessing."

  16. #16
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    The above ground cistern makes a lot of sense to me and can be incorporated into a sensible house design. Too bad that one little flaw and other circumstances prevailed.
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  17. #17
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    I found out an above ground water storage does not work unless you want to invest a pile of money for the strength to hold the water, and water is very heavy. and it needs to be round for strength if you are looking cost effectiveness Whereas below ground the earth will help support the weight of it.

    Time and money determine any job
    .
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  18. #18
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Time and Money, you said a mouthful. That is what makes the plastic tanks so attractive, of course you would need a pile of them to hold 20,000 gallons.

    Having pulled water the past 2.5 years I will never view it the same. I probably used more in a few days back in the States than I do in a month here. Amazing how little water you really need.

    Still trying to figure out a viable option for irrigation of the garden, electric pumps will solve the problem, but then there is the issue of electric usage. Someday, I might just figure it out.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  19. #19
    Viejo del Foro Just Plain John Wayne's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Build you a wind mill man don't reinvent the wheel, with the breezes you can have all the lift you need and put a partial below ground tank in the highest place.

    And it ain't got to be nothing fancy.

    You have worked out the distribution and it will siphon to your plants.
    To be called a "Has Been" I must surmise, is much Greater than to be called a "Nevah Been"... JW...



  20. #20
    Dog Whisperer cookshow's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    I have seen some pretty "rustic" windmills on the Main and have kicked around the idea.
    Going to have to dig another well. I had my wells dug (one on the front acre complete, one on the back acre never finished) before I moved onto the land. My original idea was to put the garden on the back acre, which at the time seemed the logical spot as it is fairly flat and was clear with only a few fruit trees. I quickly figured out no way that would work, theft.

    Ended up clearing nearly an acre at the back of the first acre, house and garden next to each other, going to be easier dig a well at the top of the garden then to run pipe from the current well, if I eventually expand the garden that would place the well in the center of the garden. Hindsight.

    May all be a non issua anyway, if the garden does not show some improvement over last year I will just plant the majority of it in Cassava, and local sweet potato, crops that require nothing more than planting and will grow with little or no outlay of labor.

    My time is plentiful and cheap or I would have gave this gardening up already, too much work and little to show for it. Mango trees are loaded with buds and small fruit right now as are the avocado, lots of plantain and papaya, even some banana, not going to starve.
    ‎"You know what you say when people tell you you can't do something? Fool, shut your mouth up!"
    Ernie K Doe

  21. #21

    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Just Plain John Wayne View Post
    I found out an above ground water storage does not work unless you want to invest a pile of money for the strength to hold the water, and water is very heavy. and it needs to be round for strength if you are looking cost effectiveness Whereas below ground the earth will help support the weight of it.

    Time and money determine any job.
    good point!

    jonh, you've seen my hillside lot, do you think i could dig down for round plastic storage tanks? i worry that i'd run into rock.

    that's why i like the idea of a cistern under the house....
    All this for a flag? Michelle Obama http://hotair.com/archives/2011/11/0...our-years-ago/

  22. #22

    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by catahoula fan View Post
    Tom, we built a 20,000 gallon cistern above ground using piedras canteras, rebar, etc. The roof on the barn, 1,000 sq ft, would collect 600 gallons with an inch of rain. Never did find the proper sealant for the inside though, as we were only there for 6 months. The sh*t kinda hit the fan, you know the story, so we never did bother looking for sealant. There's a cement store over by the Montoya statue in Mga that probably carries the ideal stuff.
    I have watched a man build the concrete lavatory's or wash bays and his method of building these water containers was to use three classes of concrete, all using variable courses of sand; course (regular), fine screened, and ultra fine sand. I would watch these sinks for days as they stood with water. He obviously knows the art of sealing a vat?

  23. #23
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by robertharvey View Post
    I would watch these sinks for days as they stood with water.
    Man...you know how to have a good time!
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

  24. #24

    Default Re: cisterns

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Corn Tom View Post
    Man...you know how to have a good time!
    One of my favorite pass-times; watching paint dry and grass grow are also right in there near the top!

  25. #25
    House SOB Little Corn Tom's Avatar
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    Default Re: cisterns

    Don't forget watching the zinc rust....
    Life's different here ... It's a whole 'nother pace.

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