Hauling recycled aggregate

It is 5:00 a.m. and the alarm clock is making noises. The only reason why I am able to tolerate getting up this early is that I get to play with a whole lot of recycled material.

I found a material supplier that accepts concrete debris from demolition projects, such as our old basement floor, and turns it into various aggregates. We need to put a minimum of four inches of aggregate base under our new basement floor. It can’t just be any aggregate; it has to be ¾ inch stone, also known as ASTM C33 #57, or IL DOT CA7. And I want it to be 100% recycled material.

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Why am I so specific about the stone? Well, the ¾ inch stone lacks the fine particles and may have around 35% void space. With that size and void space, it acts as a capillary barrier, which prevents any soil moisture from migrating upwards to the concrete slab.

And then, of course, we have the soil gas issue. Any radon gas can readily collect in the void space and easily migrate toward the soil gas pipes, which will safely vent it out of the building.

Why do I need to get up at 5:00 a.m.? There is only one material supplier nearby that offers the 100% recycled ¾ inch aggregate. They open at 6:00 a.m. and close at 3:00 p.m. I need a whole lot of recycled aggregate and so I’d better get an early start.

I don’t have the smallest truck in the world, but felt pretty miniscule when it came to loading up. The whole truck could have fit into the bucket of the front loader that dumped the aggregate into the truck bed.

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Back at the house, I parked the truck at the basement back door. We built a simple chute into which we shoveled the aggregate.

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The chute dropped that aggregate into a wheelbarrow. My job for the day: driving the truck and wheelbarrow, all day long.

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About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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