Pouring the footings

Tuesday morning July 22, the cement finishers showed up just before 8, and about 20 minutes later the first cement truck arrived. It was then a mad couple hours with pouring the cement, troweling it an putting the rebar “L-bars” in at precisely the right points to connect to the vertical reinforcement that will continue all the way up to the roof edge in the structure. Everything went smoothly, and according to several knoledgeable people in the building trades, my footings are really done very well. I have gone around the whole house with my 6′ level and there are the occasional small “high spots”, but the whole footing structure is amazingly precisely level.

Wednesday morning the crew was back to take off the forms and there it was ready to contemplate putting blocks in place. My next task was to convert my flatbed trailer into a “dump truck” with side boards for hauling stuff like sand and gravel for all the cement work I will be doing, below is a picture of the finished product.

The finished footings

The finished footings

My dump truck substitute.

My dump truck substitute.


4 Responses to “Pouring the footings”

  1. Pete Says:

    Hi Ted, I’m curious about your footings. They appear to be only 12-16 inches below grade. How do you get the 42 inch depth to satisfy code?
    I am thinking of using a frost proof shallow foundation which uses perimeter horizontal wing insulation and the heat from the building to prevent frost heave and allow a shallow footing i.e. 12-16 inches. Frost depth here in Kansas is 30 inches. Thanks for the blog.

  2. tedspassivesolarhouse Says:

    The water table here is very close to the surface, and the strategy is to have the footing above that, and then back fill to get the 42 inches. I have a well on the property that is all of 10 ft deep, and has lots of water, filling up to 3 ft below grade. If you look at the posts about building the foundation wall, fill will be used to bring the grade up to the bottom of the top course of blocks. If you have dry soil, (sounds like Kansas šŸ™‚ ) you could use shallow frost protected techniques and not have the tall stem wall that I need here. There is a fellow just down the street from me who is building a strawbale house on a shallow insulated foundation. It will be interesting to see how it pans out. I am worried for him, that he will lose a lot of heat because the wet soil will be too close to his slab. The code here allows for the insulated approach, with 3 ft of 3 inch foam, 4 ft would be better. My friend Craig, who is building a dome house which I worked on with him all this past winter, has that around his footing, and the footing itself covered to the insulation on the dome with 3 ” of spray foam. Anyway, I hope this is useful info.

  3. Steven Perez Says:

    Ted I am going to break ground to do a dry stack house next month.
    I live in Central Texas and I will have about 12 months in which I hope will be favorable weather.
    I am planning on doing the footings first just like you did.
    I wish that you would have taken pictures just before pouring the slab for the house. Did you have any footings for the slab?

    • tedspassivesolarhouse Says:

      Because of my particular code and site requirements, my footings had a foundation wall built on them and the actual house wall built on that solid concrete and rebar reinforced foundation. The slab floats on the sand bed inside the foundation, being tied to the foundation wall by rebar “L’s” coming out of the wall at that level except for two regions . Those thicker footings are where a masonry stove may be placed, and where the interior masonry wall was constructed dividing the great room from the master bedroom. At those places there is a rebar reinforced “footing” 10 inches thick to support the extra weight of those structures. If you are allowed to use a shallow foundation, such as one frost protected with wing insulation, then the footing and slab can be poured at the same time. I did that with the slab which is under my screen porch, and is documented on the blog back in October. The blog section starts September 28. If you are doing radiant heat in floor, that means you must have the sand bed, insulation, pex tubing, manifolds etc in place at the pour event. Alternatively, the footing can be poured first and the slab poured later, tied into the footing with rebar. The negative is that the bonding between slab and footing is not as secure as when it is poured as a single unit.

      Anyway I hope that gives you some useful information.


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