EZ-Crete EZ-Tube Modular Footings
Designed to replace a conventional pier footing
Last fall, my local lumberyard began stocking EZTube modular footings from EZ-Crete (e-zcrete.com). Designed to replace a conventional pier footing with a spread base, each stack of precast concrete sections is tied together with a galvanized-steel rod. I recently gave the product a try on a small deck to see if it’s an easy and costeffective alternative to conventional pier footings.
Once you’ve dug the hole to the required depth and leveled its bottom, you insert the galvanized rod through the 80-lb. base section and lower the assembly into the hole. Because the rod helps position subsequent sections, it’s important to get the base location right so that the top of the pier ends up exactly where you need it.
With the base placed below the frost line, you slide the 60-lb. upper sections over the rod until the footing is sufficiently above grade. Each section is 12 in. tall and has a 1-1/2-in. crown on the top that mates with a recess in the bottom of the next section. Because of the 1-1/2-in. crown, each section creates 10-1/2 in. of pier height.
The manufacturer recommends applying mortar or a sealant between the section joints. There’s no structural benefit to this, but it helps keep water and damp soil from collecting in the joints and expanding in freezing weather. There’s some play in the stack of sections, so you can shift the stack an inch or two in any direction to get the top in the right position. It takes only a little longer to place the EZ-Tubes than it does to set footing forms for conventional cast-in-place footings.
Despite this method being a little more expensive, it would have advantages over poured footings when freezing weather or rain is in the forecast. Another plus is that you can begin building on the footings immediately, instead of waiting days for concrete to cure.
The footings themselves can handle loads similar to cast-in-place pier footings. The chart below shows the load-bearing capacities for the 22-in.-dia. base and the 12-in.-dia. upper section based on the 2015 IRC.
Currently, EZ-Tubes are only stocked at dealers in New Jersey, New York, and New England, but the company hopes to expand distribution nationwide.
Materials: Four EZ-Tube upper sections, one base, and one galvanized rod = $157
Labor: 30 minutes (move and place the sections) = $30
Total: $187 per footing
Materials: One 12-in.-dia. footing form, one plastic footing-base form, rebar, concrete, and anchor bolt = $48
Labor: 1 hour 30 minutes (mobilize equipment, move materials, place forms, mix and place concrete) = $90
Total: $138 per footing
EZ-Tube bearing capacities
Soil capacity (lb. per sq. ft.): 1500
22-in.-dia. base (lb.): 3960
12-in.dia. section (lb.): 1178
Soil capacity (lb. per sq. ft.): 2000
22-in.-dia. base (lb.): 5280
12-in.dia. section (lb.): 1571
Soil capacity (lb. per sq. ft.):3000
22-in.-dia. base (lb.): 7919
12-in.dia. section (lb.): 2356
Soil capacity (lb. per sq. ft.): 4000
22-in.-dia. base (lb.): 10559
12-in.dia. section (lb.): 3142