Monday, October 21, 2013

Digging for the Footings

With the site prepared, digging for the footings and foundation can begin. This morning Dan and Glenn shot the heights and today Glenn is scooping out the soil at the perimeter of the house site. I've always believed that figuring out the heights - whether on an addition where you want the new finished floor to match the existing floor, or on a new house where you want a certain amount of steps up (or not) from grade to finished floor - is one of the most difficult parts of construction. It takes some thought and calculation and it's so important to get it right to know how deep to dig.

This area is known for it's clay soil and high water table, so during the design phase, and in order to be economical, this house was planned with a crawlspace on grade only. This means minimal digging- scraping of top soil, really. (you can see it piled in the background of the photo) We end up with a slab that is on the grade level. It also means that we don't need to install a footing drain to keep that space dry - very valuable in this soil type, where I've seen a newly dug foundation filled with water like a bathtub.

Because we live in an area where the ground freezes, we do need to dig below the frost line for the footings. The footings are the wide base that distributes all the loads of the building to the ground. They need to be stable, and therefore, below the frost line where soil doesn't move.

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