Forming and Pouring Footings
Fill up a trench with concrete -- what's to know? If a house is going to stand on those little sidewalks, they'd better be straight, level and correctly placed.
Synopsis: Good foundations start with good footings. In this first of two articles on the topic, the authors show how to lay out and form concrete footings for a full foundation, with some tips for adding steel rebar and a keyway once the concrete has been placed.
Over the years, we’ve built homes on almost every type of foundation imaginable. However, a concrete foundation always seemed to provide the best base for a home built in Rhode Island, our part of the country. In 1996, Rick bought a concrete-forms company, and our firsthand knowledge of footings and foundations increased exponentially.
With every house, we do everything in our power to keep the house and its foundation from settling and cracking, which can cause problems ranging from drywall cracks and sloping floors to doors that won’t close. The best preventive medicine is putting the foundation on top of poured-concrete footings.
The price for this medicine is usually reasonable. On a 26-ft. by 38-ft. house, footings add only about $600 to $700 to the cost of the house. Prospective homeowners will spend that much in a blink to upgrade a kitchen. We figure that it makes more sense to upgrade the whole house by adding footings to ensure that the new kitchen stays put.
Most of the footings called for in our work are a foot high and 2 ft. wide. We normally reinforce footings with a double row of 1/2-in. (#4) steel rebar unless plans specify otherwise. For the project featured in this article, the soil at the bottom of the excavated hole was like beach sand, so footings were a must. We went with standard-size footings to support the 10-in. wide by 8-ft. high foundation walls that would be poured on top.
But before we can think about footings, we have to lay…