It’s mid-December. The temperature ranges from the low 40s in the day to the high 20s at night. But we are able to continue working on the long boundary stone wall at this large-scale project in Far Hills, NJ. We spent two weeks digging, laying the footings and constructing the block base for the wall. All of it done in cold weather conditions.
As long as the soil beneath the footings isn’t frozen, we can build a perfectly sound structure. The footing depth is 42” and other than some water pooled in the trench after a few days of rain, we have worked steadily through the cold weather. We blanket the block base to keep it dry and warm overnight.
Brian and Master Mason Ramiro discuss strategies for using the larger pieces of stone in the wall layup. The big pieces will go on the bottom and the top. The natural stone will require some hand-work with the tools you see on the table to ensure a perfect fit. One-on-two. Two-on-one.
Yesterday the guys built a small section of sample wall to test the color of the concrete joints. We tint the concrete on-site and then color-match with the joints on the house. As it has been cold, the joints need one more day to dry completely before we can see the true color.
The galvanized steel tabs are wall ties. The guys will bend them to horizontal when laying up the natural stone block exterior and the ties will be cemented into the joints, making for a stronger bond between the block and the stone.
There are five to six weeks of stonework ahead of us on just these walls. Plus lots of planting in the early spring. It’s a big, complex project that has required enormous amounts of planning and design, site preparation, grading, coordination with local authorities regarding impervious coverage, drainage and environmental constraints, scenic highway setbacks, etc. And it’s starting to look really good.
Learn more about Cross River Design’s landscape stonework & masonry services.