The need for sewers in 19th-century Baltimore was abundantly clear to those who endured the “2,000-horse-power smell” of the city's harbor. There, streams of human waste, trash, and industrial runoff converged and stewed under the summer sun, breeding deadly typhoid fever. City code required indoor toilets, but it was up to individual property owners to build cesspools, cisterns, or gutters. These emptied into an unfortunate stream called the Jones Falls; its polluted course ran from the wealthier to the poorer areas of town and finally into the harbor. An 1890 news story claimed that harbor steamboat passengers “were known actually to faint from the effects of the vile smell.” Baltimore was one of the last major American cities to build a public sewer system.
How thick should I pour my floor? Do I need reinforcing? Which type of reinforcement is best? How much load can I put on it? Will my fork truck crack it? Do I really need joints in my floor? Should I install a polyethylene vapor barrier or vapor retarder underneath the whole slab? What about insulation? Do I need rock underneath? And how much do all these things matter?
Our very own Terry Feldmann, PE, along with Alan Schambach, PE, from FBi Buildings Inc., discuss this topic in the new issue of Frame Building News as published by the Construction Magazine Network.