A strong house foundation is the starting point for building a quality house. Foundations are to houses what legs are to humans. They anchor the building to the ground and carry the weight of the house. Even though foundations have been made using various materials such as blocks, stones and even woods, mixed concrete is used in majority of new houses.
There are three major types of foundations, which are: full basement, slab-on grade and crawlspace foundation. The same steps are used in construction of all types of foundations with the only difference being the use of concrete block in creating a basement foundation which is popular in Houston, Texas.
What you’ll need for a new construction:
- Polyethylene barrier
- Concrete mix
- Sand or gravel
Laying a foundation to a custom home requires these steps:
Step 1: Pick the right site – Make sure to properly investigate the conditions of the soil. There are some soils that require special foundations because the soil might have some properties that could be problematic in the future. Next, have the land surveyed to locate proper corners for forming the entire foundation.
Step 2: Prepare the ground – After you are certain on how thick you want the foundation to be, you need to prepare the ground by clearing the area of any branches, large stones or other harmful objects. In this step, you’ll require a shovel. Next, use a compactor to level and compact the soil to prevent moisture from interfering as you lay the concrete slab. Whatever the type of foundation you’re constructing, the walls and footings are made to work together in supporting the weight of the house, transferring that weight to the ground.
Step 3: Construct a frame – Build a wood form by using a 2×4 lumber according to the dimensions of your plan. Be sure to have screed rails on the exterior and opposite sides of the perimeter before laying a straightedge across the expanse of the built frame. For the rails to firmly stay in place, support them with metal stakes after you’ve poured the concrete.
Step 4: Mix and pour the concrete – After constructing the frame, fill a wheelbarrow or bucket with concrete mixed with water. Adjust the consistency always. Pour the mixture into the foundation frame while sliding the 2×4 straight edge across the rails to keep the surface leveled. Once the concrete is poured, create stem walls by using a concrete block.
Step 5: Finishing up – While the concrete is still malleable and wet, use power trowels or hand trowels to clean up its smooth texture, then leave the foundation to dry up. Different concretes require different lengths of time to dry, so be patient and follow the instructions given on your mix to get the best result.