Building a German House

I have really enjoyed our time living in Germany! The kids are indeed getting to see a different culture and find out what they like or don’t like about the way America does things. One of the new items we are learning about here in Germany is home building. We have a new German house going up right behind ours and every new, different step they take just fascinates my little engineers. I will be updating this post as we go, but I wanted to get this up to share.

The first thing they did was dig out the basement foundation area. I was very impressed that this big digger made it through our narrow streets to the vacant lot. Even the trucks here are built on a slimmer scale than American trucks and the drivers are fun to watch as they navigate the ‘course’.

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My first reaction to the huge pile of dirt and huge hole in my backyard was to grumble. With 4 boys in the house, I was just thinking through all the possible ER runs we would be making for injuries. But as we have watched this house being built, my boys have learned a lot!! We knew our German house was solid and it echoed a bit, but we are about to find out just how they make these homes.

Next they poured a cement slab for the foundation of the house.

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Next came a familiar scene as they framed up the basement walls to pour concrete down them. The way they did the concrete was very interesting: the crane! This crane does all the heavy lifting and allows for the building crew to be much smaller than an American building crew.

IMG_3556 IMG_3552IMG_3555This little hopper delivers the goods and a hand crank will open or close the hopper. I found this fascinating! These guys weren’t wearing hard hats or any sort of protection as this massive metal hopper swung above their heads, coming and going. The crane operator does not sit on the crane in a control box, but uses a wired switch box to manage the crane. It is really amazing to see!

The frame for the cement walls only stayed on 24 hours. They removed that and began to spray this black sealer on to the outside of the basement walls. While one man sprayed the walls, the other two were stacking what looked like cinder blocks into the pattern for the interior walls of the house. They rigged the house with these beams that looked very funny to us.

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Next, they layered flat boards and rebar on the funny frames. While two men were doing this, the other two men were cutting and nailing what appears to be a high-grade styrofoam on to the exterior basement walls. Once these were in place, he braced the white portion up with wood sticks.

IMG_3572 IMG_3573Once the rebar was in place, they poured a cement slab for the top of this section of the house. I believe they will be removing those funny braces from under the slab when it is ready because I have never seen those inside a German house. It amuses my husband that there will only be one place for the stairs in the entire house. It is going to be a spiral staircase just like ours.

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German construction crews are similar to American crews in that there are teams that handle different parts of the job. There was a 4 man crew for the foundation laying and a different 6-man crew for this part. Another interesting aspect of this German construction was that the second crew for insulation and the top cement layer were not German. Their language sounded Slavic.

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4 thoughts on “Building a German House

  1. Kay, this IS fascinating! I will enjoy seeing this! I will tell my daughter about your blog so she can see how her own house was built! She is also in Germany. I will be there again in a few months for the birth of her third baby and to help her. So fun seeing your German experience.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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