7 Steps to Pouring a Concrete Foundation

When I arrived on Friday (June 6th) the foundation was poured and ready to start building. While I wasn't present for much of the time that my contractor was putting in the foundation, I did make a few trips on prior weekend to see the progress. There are 7 basic steps to creating a foundation:

1) Excavate
The hole is dug, usually using a backhoe or shovel. The whole must be bigger than the area of the foundation in order to accommodate the workers

2) Pour the Footings
The footings are created using forms, place on undisturbed ground. The footing is always wider than the concrete walls. Also a number of smaller footing to support various posts inside the cottage are also usually poured at this time.

The forms for the footing are removed the day after they are poured, but must cure for at least 720 hours. This is to ensure they are strong enough to support the poured concrete walls.

3) Pour the Concrete Walls
Like the footings, forms are used for poured concrete walls. Prefab forms are used 99% of the time. You can see the outline of the forms left in the walls in the various pictures in this post.

Again the forms are taken off and the walls are cured before the next step.

4) Wet Proof
The exterior of the foundation walls are coated with a material which seals the concrete from water. This is often a black asphalt material. Only the portion of the exterior wall to be covered by the soil needs to treated in this way.

5) Weeping tile
Another means to keep water away from the foundation, and hence out of the basement, is to surround the outside of the foundation with a weeping tile. This comes in various forms but in this installation it is a 4 inch diameter flexible pipe with lots of holes in it that is place in a cloth sleeve and covered in washed clean stone. The idea is that any water flowing in the the soil near the foundation collects in the weeping tile and is is carried away from the foundation.

6) Backfill
After the weeping tile is in and the wall wet proofed then the outside of the foundation is backfilled. The soil that is put back is graded such that it slopes away from the foundation, again to ensure water flows away from the wall.

7) Basement floor
The last part of the foundation is the basement floor. This is usually poured when the cottage is built so that the floor is covered so that rain does not ruin the finish of the floor. Most of the time this is done when the house is 'closed-in' but in our case we are going to do it once the main floor is in and covered with a tarp. The reason is that we would like to have the basement completely finished so that we can use it during the rest of the building process for storage and to allow us to continue to work if it rains.

[NOTE: as of today the basement floor has not yet been poured - we are hoping that will be done the week of June 16-20]

Next Post: We will share more details about foundations.