12 Steps To A Reliable And Solid DIY Concrete Foundation

12. ENGINEERING

While it will not always be the case, there are some conditions where your project may require an engineer. This occurs when your local council, your general contractor or even you, feel that there is something unique about a home or piece of land that may need a seal of approval from an expert.

If you are building your home on a slope, then you may wish to seek out the help of an engineer who can determine what it will take to keep your house exactly where it should be. For instance, the walls of your foundation may require additional steel to stay strong or you may need a sturdier form of concrete. While it can be costly to employ an engineer, knowing that your home is safe, sound and ready for anything life throws its way will give you the peace of mind that you need to have the safest house on the block.

*Important Note: Any basement project that has a backfilled foundation wall that is higher than 7′-8′ will certainly require engineering help. Don’t skimp out. You do not want to have to rebuild later on after failed inspections.

11. EXCAVATING

Whenever the surveyor or framer is done marking where the house will be seated on the land lot, then the excavator should come in. They will dig the hole needed for your foundation. If possible, you may wish to go ahead and dig the service hook-ups while you already have the excavator out. You will need to ask your plumber and electrician about it.

The plumber will be the one to do the sanitary/sewer, storm and water connections. After they are in place, the city inspector and water company will be the ones to approve them.

The electrician you choose will be the one to lay pipes for BC tel, electrical and cable connections. These can be pulled through for the proper utilities when the time is right.

10. SAND AND GRAVEL

Depending upon the soil excavated, you are going to need a quality sand, drain rock and pitrun.

Each of the slabs that you lay should have a minimum of 6″ gravel fill underneath it. In some circumstances, you may have to bring in fill to raise the dirt level or due to an unstable dirt below. This specific layer is usually pitrun and will have to be leveled and compacted. Do not skimp out here. Spend what you must and be certain that you do a high quality job. You can rent compacting equipment from a rental company… just make certain that you choose the right size equipment for your specific project. Typically, these rentals are rather cost efficient as opposed to hiring a crew to do the work for you.

9. FOUNDATION

Now is the time to order what you need for your foundation such as lumber from the lumber yard and any forms needed from your concrete company. When these things arrive, the framers will be able to begin laying the foundation and you will be one step closer to getting your home up and running.

Make sure that you calculate the amount of concrete that you think that you will need to complete the task. Avoid trying to save money by ordering all of your materials at once. While it seems like a great idea in theory, you will only end up having to move it all when it gets in the way. Lumber yards are always willing to split up the materials you order into several packages depending on your specific needs. Ask for as many packages as you need to keep your workspace tidy and clutter-free.

8. PLUMBING, HEATING AND ELECTRIC

Call the heating, plumbing and electrical techs that you wish to use so that they can install anything that needs installing before the concrete goes down. You may be tempted to get frustrated with the time it takes for them to show up. Remember that things happen and the beginnings of a home build are the most difficult to maneuver. Be patient and nice. It will pay off if you ever need their services again.

7. FOOTINGS INSPECTION

After the framers have finished laying down the footing, contact your local council and put in for a footings inspection. Some framers will want to pour the concrete for the footings before they do anything else and then the foundation. Meanwhile, others will want to pour the concrete for the footings and the foundation all at once.

6. CONCRETE

You will need a concrete polisher to get your foundation finish spot on. If your footings are being poured first, then the concrete truck will need to come out twice. Once to pour footings and once more after your foundation is completed. If the foundation is built simultaneously, then the concrete for the footings and your foundation can be done together.

While pouring, please be sure that there are enough crew members for the job at hand, especially when the outside temps are below freezing. There will also need to be a vibrator on site as well as a pump trunk if needed.

5. STRIP FOUNDATION

Typically, the day after concrete has been poured is when the foundation can be stripped. Your concrete company will need to be called out to pick up the forms you recieved prior. Attempt to put the stripped materials in a space where they will be out of your way and will stay clean.

4. DAMP PROOFING

Water proofing is necessary on the portion of your foundation where the skim or slab is below grade level. Keep this in mind.

3. DRAIN TILE AND INSPECTION

Drain tile needs to be placed around the perimeter of your home when there is a space that will be below ground level. This will also include any storage or crawl space.

Remember that there are rules pertaining to drainage, but they depend on soil conditions and the type of home you are building. When your home is a slab on grade level, you may be able to go ahead and eliminate drain tile use… but it cannot hurt to install it. This is usually done by the homeowner with good quality wheelbarrows, shovels and several buddies. However, you may wish to hire a professional.

The top of your drain tile needs to be placed evenly with the foundation/footing joint. In some municipalities that have storm sewers, you will not be able to hook up your own down pipes that go into the perimeter drain. This is also true if you have a drain that is installed into a well window. You will have to install a second line that will drain into a gravel pit. Make certain that this project is done properly… you do not want a lake in your basement. Once you are done, call the inspector from your hometown council.

2. SEWER AND WATER HOOK-UPS

Plumbers are normally the ones who will hook up sewer and water. After this is done, you will need to call the council inspector who will come out and look things over. The water company will also need to inspect your hook-ups before they can be covered.

1. BACKFILLING AND GRADING

Once the drain tile is approved after inspection, the backfilling and grading can be completed in most instances.