13 Steps To Create Solid DIY Concreate Foundations

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Sometimes, an engineer is required: You, your general Contractor, or City Hall may believe that an engineer is needed to sign off on something about the lot or your house.

If there is a slope to the lot, you may need an engineer to help ensure the house stays in place. For instance, additional steel may be needed in the foundation walls, or stronger concrete should be used. It may be a little more costly to use a professional engineer, but in the end it will be well worth the added expense. Professional engineering help is definitely required when creating a basement with backfilled foundation walls more than 8 feet tall.


Once the surveyor or framer has marked the location, the excavator can then come in and dig holes for the foundation.

Surveying is Optional

While it might be an added expense, when the situation is tight it is good to have a surveyor mark where the corners of the structure should be. Many areas require that a survey is completed after the foundation is complete. By having the survey performed prior to pouring the foundation, you can save money and a lot of frustration. Too many foundations have had to be entirely redone because they were in the wrong place.
1. Excavating

Ask the Electrician and Plumbing Contractors about digging the service hook ups during this process.

Professional plumbers generally contract to complete the water connections, sanitary sewer and storm drains. Since City Inspectors and Water Company want to see these connections, you will want your plumber involved at the beginning.

Electricians lay pipes for electrical connections as well as cable and telephone lines. Utility providers will pull their lines and cables through later on. Of course, if necessary these connections can be dug later too.
2. Gravel and Sand

You will need the right kind of sand, drain rock and pitrun for the excavated soil.

At least 6 inches of gravel fill is required under all slabs. Often, fill will have to be brought in to stabilize the dirt or level the lot. This is typically pitrun which must be leveled and compacted. Refrain from trying to go cheap on this if you want a good final outcome. Rental companies generally offer compacting equipment so you don’t need to buy, but be sure you get the right equipment for the job.

3. Foundation

The materials needed to lay the foundation can be ordered from a lumber yard and concrete companies should have the forms. Once the materials are on location, the framers can get started on the foundation.

Foundation concrete calculation:

This is not the time to order all your building materials because you will end up moving it around yourself. It is not unusual for lumber yards to split up materials orders into two or three packages for your convenience.

4. Heating, Plumbing and Electrical

Get in touch with your professional plumbing, heating and electrical contractors so they can begin placing lines that should go in prior to the concrete slab.

For instance, the electrician may want to lay the cable in the concrete.

Be patient while you wait for all these trades to get their part completed. If they are not willing to get to it on your schedule, leave it up to them to do the digging after the concrete is poured. Remember, be nice.

5. Inspecting the Footings

Request a City inspection of the footings after the framers finish with laying the footing.

Framers sometimes pour the footings first and the foundation later, but others pour them both at the same time.

6. Concrete

Two trips from the concrete truck will take place if the footings are poured without pouring the foundation at the same time.

The framing crew is generally on hand to work the concrete as it is poured, so make sure there are enough helpers on hand for the job. This is particularly important when temperatures are below freezing. A vibrator will be needed during this process and the concrete company can arrange a pump truck when necessary.

7. Strip Foundation

The day following the concrete pour, is the right time for the Concrete company to pick up the forms which should be kept clean and straight and placed where they are easy to get to.

8. Damp Proofing

You will need to water proof the slab or skim coat when it is below grade level.

9. Drain Tile

When living space, crawl space or storage is to be below grade level, drain tile should be placed around the perimeter.

It never hurts to install drain tile, but rules pertaining to drainage depend on condition of the soil and grade level.

10. Drain Tile Inspection

Your local council can help locate an inspector.

11. Water Hook-Up and Sewer

Plumbing contractors typically hook up water and sewer connections followed by a City inspector. Hook-ups should also be inspected by the Water Company. The Gas Company installs hook-ups for the gas meter.

12. Grading and Backfill

Backfilling and grading can take place once the drain tile and inspection is complete.


One of the best investments you will ever make is to prepare a good foundation for your home. The builder is responsible for making sure this is done. If you the home owner are unable or unwilling to take on such a large project, consider hiring a General Contractor or engineer to help. Even though it will add to the cost of the home, I would never think about taking this on myself. Regardless, common sense is in order no matter what. Whenever you have doubts, don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.

It is crucial to use high quality materials for the foundation, driveway, sidewalks and garage. This is not the place to skimp on compacting for these areas. Steel is necessary for keeping things in place and for strength. Some settling is inevitable, so you will get some cracks in the slab and garage floor over time. The majority of these are easy to fix.

13. slab or Skim Coat

If the weather permits, your slab or skim coat should go in quickly.

Use Poly for sealing against Radon Gas
Calculate how much concrete is needed for your concrete slab.
Metric: Concrete Slab Calculator- http://www.spikevm.com/calculators/slabs-metric.php

The slab or skim coat is made up of a layer of gravel with a layer of poly which is intended to seal against Radon Gas. Next comes a layer of concrete. You can do the finishing on the skim coat if you like, but you really should hire a professional concrete finisher to finish the slab. Except for a tight crawl space, the concrete work can be completed once the framing has been completed.

With the concrete slab complete, it is time to start on framing the walls. Of course, if you plan to use the concrete as a building feature, you could hire a professional concrete polisher or you could rent concrete grinding equipment and polish the concrete yourself. If this sounds like too much work for you, hiring a concrete grinding professional is always available. That way you won’t even have to break a sweat to get a nice surface.

Author: John

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