Footings & Foundations

Footings & Foundations

Footings and foundations are what houses or any other permanent structures sit on. The footing itself is the concrete that supports the weight of the structure. Concrete in the north east part of the country is installed below the frost line which is 36” below earth grade. The ground itself is excavated to 36”. If over excavated, it should not be backfilled with dirt. The ground should be properly compacted and firm.

 After excavation, the forms and rebar reinforcements are installed. Once prepared, the footing is poured. A footing for a house is typically 2 feet wide by 1 foot thick. After the footing is poured, the foundation is built. In our part of the country, foundations are typically built with concrete block. After the foundation is built, the outer wall of the foundation is coated with a mortar cement mix. If the foundation is for a structure where water or moisture is a concern, the walls should be moisture proofed. Moisture proofing will prevent moisture penetration through the wall, but it is not considered water proofer. If your structure is in a high water table area, water entry is a main concern.

 Proper waterproofing is performed by installing a layer of a thick waterproofing tar with a spackle knife. A mesh is then placed over the first layer and another layer of the same tar is installed over the mesh. Whichever procedures you wish to perform, you need to wait until the tar has dried at least 24 hrs or as indicated by manufacturer before backfilling with earth. Backfilling should never be performed the same day as tar is placed. The solvents in tar will not evaporate properly and therefore tar will remain soft and not acquire the proper water or moisture proofing that’s needed. Back filling should be done with proper care. Slamming big rocks against in the foundation can cause cracks in the wall, and also remove the moisture or waterproofing tar in certain areas. This defeats the purpose of the work performed. If all the work is performed properly, there will most likely never be any issues with footing and foundation work in your lifetime.

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