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  • Footings

    Hope this is the correct place to post this.

    I am volunteering my time to help a friend build his house. Most of the labor is being volunteered by friends and family.
    When I go out to the site to help pour the footings they are dug just straight in the ground about sixteen inches wide and deep. I questioned them about this and I seemed to be their common practice, so I didn't push the issue as I am no expert on footings. Is this common practice?

  • #2
    Re: Footings

    How far are you from Arkansas?
    It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

    I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

    ParkWest Homes LLC
    Working Man Online Store
    Living Healthy

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    • #3
      Re: Footings

      Originally posted by parkwest View Post
      How far are you from Arkansas?
      Not very far. :)

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Footings

        Typical useless response by parkwest.

        In some places, footings are poured directly into trenches. It's not done here, but I'm not sure it's prohibited, I think it's just regional custom to form them. There are at least a couple of advantages to forming. One, you can get the top of the footing level instead of pouring into a trench and making it sorta level. Two, you can overdig the trench and install drainage around the foundation before backfilling. Three, you can go ahead and form the stemwalls right on top and pour once instead of twice, if using poured walls. But as long as you get the footing size right, I doubt there's any structural issue with pouring into a trench.

        Are the walls going to be poured or block? Any rebar to be used?
        Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
        Website - Facebook

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        • #5
          Re: Footings

          We do it here at times if were forming a frost wall, not for basements though because of the drainage.

          It has to work out that the cost of forming a footing is more than the slop and extra concrete it takes to use soil as your forms. You have to consider that you're putting wall forms on top of the footings and a wood framed building on top of that so you better hope you have dead-eye-Dick for an operator. You're kinda limited in forming steps and you have to accommodate weeping tile and under slab drainage. We do quite often in commercial for mass footings and sometimes for column footings, in those cases we can float it level and then get our level grade on the next pour.

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          • #6
            Re: Footings

            Originally posted by Boogie View Post
            Not very far. :)
            The reason I asked is that I've helped build some houses in Arkansas and the foundations required there were quite different from the foundations for the houses I've built in Michigan, Florida, Utah and Idaho.

            Getting advice from someone from another locale, say the Seattle area, would be next to worthless, or even possibly hazardous, in my opinion.

            Check with your local bldg dept, would be my advice at this stage... unless you can find a response from a local foundation contractor that you personally know to be a reputable contractor.
            Last edited by parkwest; 04-28-2012, 08:14 PM.
            It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

            I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

            ParkWest Homes LLC
            Working Man Online Store
            Living Healthy

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Footings

              Originally posted by David Meiland View Post
              Typical useless response by parkwest.

              In some places, footings are poured directly into trenches. It's not done here, but I'm not sure it's prohibited, I think it's just regional custom to form them. There are at least a couple of advantages to forming. One, you can get the top of the footing level instead of pouring into a trench and making it sorta level. Two, you can overdig the trench and install drainage around the foundation before backfilling. Three, you can go ahead and form the stemwalls right on top and pour once instead of twice, if using poured walls. But as long as you get the footing size right, I doubt there's any structural issue with pouring into a trench.

              Are the walls going to be poured or block? Any rebar to be used?
              Can you tell us exactly how many foundations you've poured or even seen poured in the area in question?
              It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

              I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

              ParkWest Homes LLC
              Working Man Online Store
              Living Healthy

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Footings

                I've poured 100's of footings in trenches and 100's in forms. There's no right or wrong. On many houses with a slab on grade addition on the side we would form the basement footings and trench the slab footings. If the soil was firm and not to rocky it was quicker to dig a trench and pour into it. Getting the footings level was never a problem.Several ways to do it. Stakes in the trench with the top of them at the top of the footing is one way. Nails with flagging tape on the sides of the trench about every 6' is another. My favorite was to pull a level line directly over top of the trench and then mark the rake where the top of the footing should be. You could check everywhere. Most of the commercial jobs I did were checked with a laser at regular intervals - no stakes, strings or nails. Pouring in the trench was much quicker than forming. No forming costs, no dismantling forms and cleaning them.
                On the last two houses I've built for myself I formed the footings. It's easier to tie rebar and set dowels for walls. I've learned, having built in many states that there are accepted practices in different areas. Sometimes that translates into "this is the right way- the only way" Not so in my opinion.

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                • #9
                  Re: Footings

                  So what's the deal with Arkansas & SW Missouri, Parkwest?

                  Expensive soils?

                  Inquiring minds wanna know.
                  Francois


                  Truth is just one man's explanation for what he thinks he understands. (Walter Mosley)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Footings

                    One other way I've poured many footings is without a trench, or forms. You can dry stack them. Keep the slump very low and pour right on the surface. You set the height by a continuous string, mark a rake handle and tamp the piled concrete down until you're at the right height and width. It's not as neat looking as a trench or a form but when you're pouring 2-3 houses a day it makes for quick production.
                    Because the concrete has to be stiff it makes for a decent footing. You can't "soup it up" and let it find it's own level. The truck driver has to be skilled enough to dispense a controlled accurate amount along the footing line. Once you have a level subgrade you drive an iron pin in
                    each corner, pull a tight string, mark a rake handle and you're ready to go. When the last concrete comes out of the chute you're finished.
                    I have a nephew who's been pouring pools for 35 years. For the first 20 they dry stacked the majority of them. Once the hole was dug and rebar/plumbing/etc. was in place they would dump anywhere from 30- 100 yards in the bottom of the hole and start shovelling up the walls until they reached the height they wanted. The floor was done last It took a lot of men, usually a crew of 8 and it was fast paced. He was (and still is) extremely strong and loved it. He never finished HS but it was a way for him to make decent money. For a 40 yard pool they got 200$ per man and would often do 2 per day, and if the pools were close enough they did 3 on occasion.
                    Today he still does pools but it's all done with Gunite. Probably good because he's in his early 50's.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Footings

                      Originally posted by frenchie View Post
                      So what's the deal with Arkansas & SW Missouri, Parkwest?

                      Expensive soils?

                      Inquiring minds wanna know.
                      Where I was at, I doubt the soil was very "expensive"

                      When I was down there I saw houses being framed on top of cinder block piers... similar to what you would see in mobile home parks. They poured a series of square footings spaced about 10 feet apart and then placed a couple of blocks on each one. Then they skirted the house to cover the spaces.

                      This was years ago, and was quite an experience for me. It was like being in a 3rd world country. One thing I noticed right off was all the workers moved about as fast as they talked. (they all complained I talked too fast. lol)

                      As I said, this was a few years ago and I don't know if things have changed there but it would be hard for a Northerner to go there and tell them how to pour a concrete foundation. They would think you were speaking a foreign language. lol
                      It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

                      I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

                      ParkWest Homes LLC
                      Working Man Online Store
                      Living Healthy

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Footings

                        Originally posted by Norm Yeager View Post
                        One other way I've poured many footings is without a trench, or forms. You can dry stack them. Keep the slump very low and pour right on the surface.
                        I've never seen it done that way. This is what I like about this forum, always learning something new.

                        I've seen the curb and gutter guys free form curbs like that. They use the same mix the slipform paver uses and it stands up beautifully about 12". After I saw them do that I started grabbing a bucket full off the paving guys whenever I had a wall or a curb to patch. It's a really rich mix and sticks to anything.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Footings

                          Originally posted by parkwest View Post
                          Where I was at, I doubt the soil was very "expensive"

                          When I was down there I saw houses being framed on top of cinder block piers... similar to what you would see in mobile home parks. They poured a series of square footings spaced about 10 feet apart and then placed a couple of blocks on each one. Then they skirted the house to cover the spaces.

                          This was years ago, and was quite an experience for me. It was like being in a 3rd world country. One thing I noticed right off was all the workers moved about as fast as they talked. (they all complained I talked too fast. lol)

                          As I said, this was a few years ago and I don't know if things have changed there but it would be hard for a Northerner to go there and tell them how to pour a concrete foundation. They would think you were speaking a foreign language. lol
                          Most houses in this area of SC that have crawl spaces are still built that way. I live in a 47 lot subdivision and as far as I know have the only poured walls in the neighborhood. Some of the "crawl" spaces are higher than my basement walls. The block piers are built around the perimeter with a double or triple beam bearing on them and then the joists either on top or ledgered into them. I've seen many houses with 40-50 piers around the perimeter and also throughout the floor system. It seemed strange to me , coming from Pa. where many houses have full basements. It's different, but not right or wrong.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Footings

                            Originally posted by Norm Yeager View Post
                            Most houses in this area of SC that have crawl spaces are still built that way. I live in a 47 lot subdivision and as far as I know have the only poured walls in the neighborhood. Some of the "crawl" spaces are higher than my basement walls. The block piers are built around the perimeter with a double or triple beam bearing on them and then the joists either on top or ledgered into them. I've seen many houses with 40-50 piers around the perimeter and also throughout the floor system. It seemed strange to me , coming from Pa. where many houses have full basements. It's different, but not right or wrong.
                            Here's a conversation I overheard between the builder in Arkansas and his window salesman when I questioned him on egress windows and he didn't have a clue what that meant so he called his window guy;

                            NO NO not the bird... E_G_R_E_S_S

                            has something to do with FARmen (firemen) climbing through the bedroom window.

                            I don't know why they wouldn't come through the front door either but that is what this Yankee says it's for.

                            After the phone call he told me the window guy knew nothing about any egress windows either.

                            I suggested he call the building dept.

                            He said he had been building houses fer (for) over 20 years and the inspector never said nothing about no egress windows AND he sure as hell wasn't going to wake him up to this new-fangled window that no one had heard of.

                            LOL
                            Last edited by parkwest; 04-29-2012, 02:44 PM.
                            It is a simple matter of being patient. I do patience very well, except for the waiting part. That's the one aspect of patience that still bites me.

                            I'm not saying I'm Superman. What I'm saying is no one has ever seen me and Superman in the same room together.

                            ParkWest Homes LLC
                            Working Man Online Store
                            Living Healthy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Footings

                              Originally posted by parkwest View Post
                              Here's a conversation I overheard between the builder in Arkansas and his window salesman when I questioned him on egress windows and he didn't have a clue what that meant so he called his window guy;

                              NO NO not the bird... E_G_R_E_S_S

                              has something to do with FARmen (firemen) climbing through the bedroom window.

                              I don't know why they wouldn't come through the front door either but that is what this Yankee says it's for.

                              After the phone call he told me the window guy knew nothing about any egress windows either.

                              I suggested he call the building dept.

                              He said he had been building houses fer (for) over 20 years and the inspector never said nothing about no egress windows AND he sure as hell wasn't going to wake him up to this new-fangled window that no one had heard of.

                              LOL
                              That is kinda funny if not a little scary.


                              Phil
                              It's better to try and fail, than fail to try.

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