Cheese Making with a Solid Foundation
On July 11th the cement trucks rolled in and the foundations were poured. The interior was back-filled with gravel and trench drains and floor sinks were secured into their respective positions. Thick sheets of foam insulation were laid down over the gravel and along the edges of the wall curbs. This insulation provides a thermal barrier between the cheese making environment and ambient heat in the ground and between rooms with different temperature requirements. This will help keep our energy costs down when outside temperatures are too high. It also minimizes temperature fluctuation in the aging rooms, reducing run time for air conditioning which dries out air and can negatively impact aging cheeses.
Supportive rebar was suspended over the foam. Zig-zags of radiant heating tubing were attached to the rebar. We chose to include radiant heating (hot water circulated through the floor) in the design as a precaution should the creamery get too cold in the winter. Radiant heating has the benefit of drying wet/slippery floors and yet doesn’t require the circulation of hot, dry air.
Wednesday morning the cement truck was back, this time to pour the first set of floors. Floors were poured over the course of three days, the final pour happening at 6am Friday morning. Our construction crew worked the cement into the forms, a difficult task considering the variable sizes of the rooms, the abundance of drains, and the required slopes of the floors (mandated by both CDFA and the Federal PMO standards) which must drain quickly and completely… which reminds me, time to call the local inspector and schedule another inspection!
Two 10,000 gallon tanks were delivered for the waste water treatment and recycling side of the project, and a load of lumber. Tomorrow morning the guys start laying down mud sills onto the foundations and from there we move onto walls, you can’t see it but I’m nearly glowing with glee at the speed of our progress these past two weeks!