Hubby had to lean on the foundation guy to get him to come back on Saturday and finish up the foam and rebar he had to do so that we could run the tubing for the in-floor heat, or he would have put us off another week. And it did take some leaning and some guilting, because I happen to have overheard foundation guy arguing with someone else on the phone, who also sounded pretty upset, and who he had promised he'd be out first thing in the morning....I wonder what he told that guy.
Fortunately, he did come back and finished up enough framework for us to do what we needed to.
One of the things we've done to keep costs down is to find contractors who were open to the idea of us doing some or most of the labor and bringing them in for the parts that really require their expertise. Our HVAC guy was completely behind this idea, because that meant we would run the tubing - and he didn't have to. He was thrilled about that, and even drew up a plan for us and gave us all kinds of advice and information.
So, bright and early Sunday morning, Hubby and I got up there and got to work.
We quickly learned two things:
1) With the deep well footings we have, and the need to extend the tubing out over them on all sides, this was NOT a two person job. One of us had to be jumping in and out of the trench constantly as we ran the tubing back and forth. (The photo above shows the tubing running along the rebar, but what you see there is about the only place we did it like that - the rest of the way around, we did it so the loops were sticking out over and could be zip-tied to the rebar much easier, and provide much more stability.
2) If we had it to do again, we would have special ordered 300 ft rolls if we'd had to. When we went to buy the stuff, they didn't have any - they only had 1200 ft rolls, and we thought, "no big deal, we'll just cut it into 300 ft sections, same thing right? NO. As it turns out, having unwound it all - and then coiled it up again - had created big orange monsters that were not easily controlled. Hence - another reason this wasn't a two person job. We need one in the trench, one to staple the tubing...and one just to wrangle the damn coil.
Here's the first coil's worth:
See that silver truck up in the left corner there? That's the cavalry coming in to save the day! Just as we were finishing up coil 1 of 8 and wondering how in the hell we were going to get all that done ourselves, our very good (and very loved and very appreciated) friend, Rusty, showed up to help.
As a THREE person job, it was MUCH smoother, MUCH easier and MUCH MUCH faster. Also, quite a lot of fun.
We got all the rest of it done by late afternoon and still had time for beer and cheese curds at the bar! (Welcome to Wisconsin, y'all)
We did NOT end up following the HVAC guy's plan, and I was a little worried about that, but when he went out to inspect it a couple days later, he said we did a better job than most plumbers he knows, and left us a hat!
We did take the HVAC guy's advice and did NOT try to do the manifold set up at the end of the day. He strongly recommended coming back to do that the next day when we were rested up and had clear heads. It was good advice - it takes a certain amount of puzzle solving and a LOT of patience to get all those tube ends to line up neatly in a tiny little space and say put.
In the end, we triumphed over tubing and bent them all to our will. (Literally.)
The only thing we did wrong was not taping off the ends of the tubes to keep anything out of there. Fortunately, the HVAC guy did that for us while he was inspecting. And STILL thinks we did better than most plumbers! HA!
So, all that's left now is for the foundation guy to come back and lay his rebar over the top of the tubing and then POUR THE CEMENT.
After that, he is out of our hair, and the flow of work rests pretty squarely on us, with a little input from the weather.
I'm so excited to finally get MOVING on this!!