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The footings are
the portion of the foundation that transfers the weight
of the structure to the soil. Generally the footing
and foundation will be built by the same contractor.
After the the excavation is complete you are ready
for the footings. The footings are generally made
of concrete with steel reinforcement. Most residential
footings are between 16"-24" wide and 8"-12"
thick. The width of the footing helps spread the weight
of the house to prevent excessive settlement.
Steel reinforcing bar also called rebar is run horizontally
through the footing for added strength. The rebar
is overlapped and tied together. "L" shaped
rebar is placed vertically into the footing after
the concrete is poured with about 2' sticking above
(click on photos icon to see example). This rebar
strengthens the connection between the foundation
walls and the footings.
The footings are formed with 2 x 8 or 2 x 10 boards
(laid on edge) and held together with stakes on each
side and straps or longer stakes across the top. Once
the footings are connected they are set to grade with
a laser level or transit. Setting the footings to
grade is the process of leveling them. If the footings
are not set to the same height the house will not
be level (flat).
After the footings are formed and reinforcement placed
they are inspected by the building Inspector. The
footings are poured and the concrete is allowed to
cure for a day. The forms are then removed and reused
on another job.
It is probably a good
idea to hire a foundation contractor that will pour
both footings and foundation. Sit down with the contractor
and review the plans for special problems.
Footing and foundation contractors generally price
the job by the size of foundation, the number of corners
in the foundation, the number of windows and doors
in the foundation walls, and the height of the walls.
The following items should be agreed upon in the contract/specs:
Price for the job.
• Price for change orders.
• Hourly charge for work not covered by the
• Description of work to be performed.
• Type and strength of concrete mix to be used.
(compressive strength, slump, etc). Or if block, the
size of block, the grouting requirements, and the
• Type and size of anchor bolts, and hold down
straps and their respective locations.
• Requirement that the foundation walls be mechanically
• Size and amount of rebar to be installed in
the footings and foundation (this is usually specified
by the local code and shown on the blueprints).
• Engineering calculation that pertain to the
It is critical that the footings and foundation are
constructed according to the foundation plan. Make
sure that they conform to the plans. Check the foundation
walls for square. Most foundations are not perfectly
square (as framers will tell you). A foundation that
is slightly out of square (1-2 inches) is usually
not a major problem. Use a transit or laser to check
the level of the foundation. It should be within 1/4"
inch throughout the structure. The framers can compensate
for a foundation that is slightly out of level, but
most won't know if it is "out" unless you
Keep the site secure
especially during the footing and foundation construction.
As soon as the forms are stripped here are some of
the tasks to follow (see construction schedule):
• Have truss maker measure for trusses.
• Have the framing lumber package ready for
• Have the excavator ready to begin the backfilling,
installation of water and sewer laterals and the rough
• If the foundation is a basement the sub-rough
plumbing and heating can begin.
• Complicated foundation designs cost more.
The more corners in the foundation the higher the