4 Things To Check Before Installing Any Kind Of Poured Concrete Footings

Posted on: 2 October 2015

Everyone knows that poured concrete footings are the best way to keep your deck, shed, and other structures sturdily in the ground for decades, but what most don't know is that you can't just toss some liquid rock into the ground and call it a day. In order for your project to run smoothly, there's got to be a considerable amount of prep work involved, and for that, here are four things to check before installing concrete footings. 

Dig Safe

Any contractor knows that giving any and all utility companies or a similar service (i.e. Dig Safe in some states) a call is mandatory for any sort of excavation project, no matter how small. Homeowners, on the other hand, often neglect this step as a simple formality, but that phone call is only a formality until a gas line is spewing and you need a serious emergency response. Even if you're just installing a footing for a mailbox, a quick couple of phone calls can save you a major headache in the long run. 

Building Codes

Town and state building codes don't just apply to full foundations, but quite the contrary. Any type of supporting structure will likely require a specific minimum amount of support in terms of material, depth, and diameter of the supporting structure, as well. Town building departments are a wealth of information, and can keep your seemingly small project from becoming a costly and inconvenient building code violation. 

The Frost Line

Believe it or not, your area's frost line plays a big part in the construction of additions like decks and freestanding structures like sheds. When a footing is installed above the frost line, the footing can shift and heave, since it will be spanning frozen and un-frozen soil in the winter. To remedy this problem, some homeowners opt for above-ground support, but this choice can be just as bad. When in doubt, sink that footing below the frost line to ensure a solid foundation. 

Footing Forms

When installing a footing with a custom or wooden form, like a retaining wall, you're going to want to take the form itself into account when installing the footings in the ground. This is less of an issue when installing cylindrical footings like those for a fence, but when doing any footings for flat objects, accounting for the size of the form is a must. This will keep your final product from having ugly gaps or uneven stress. To find out more, speak with someone like Van Doren Red-E-Mix.