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TheBeetleGuy 09-17-2009 08:37 PM

Concrete or Steel Pier Foundations?

I am a complete newbie! I would really appreciate some help as we are in the planning stage of building a small cabin/cottage house.

First off, I would like to know if I can buy a pre-built concrete or steel pier foundation?? and estimated cost?

Thank you..

Termite 09-17-2009 10:08 PM

Concrete foundations are the norm. In residential construction steel piers are normally used as a means of stabilizing an existing foundation due to settlement. They're also driven down to bedrock in coastal areas where erosion due to storms can be an issue. There's not really any such thing as a pre-fabricated foundation or any sort of pre-made kit. Gotta do that on site using a number of different types of forms (metal forms, ICF's, etc).

Cost discussions are strongly discouraged here, as they vary widely depending on geographic location, scope of work, etc.

Willie T 09-17-2009 10:29 PM

HERE ya go.

( Gosh! Ya mean Willie T actually got it right? )

Termite 09-17-2009 10:56 PM

That'll be great until the first freeze/thaw! No frost footing...Not a good idea. :no:

Willie T 09-18-2009 08:03 AM

While I also prefer true poured-in-place continuous footings, the precast piers come in 48" to 54" heights (depths) with 27" x 27" bases. Essentially the exact same thing you would end up with once a standard poured-in-place pier was formed, poured, stripped, and back-filled.

It seems like a lot of work compared to Sonotubes, but if you are in an area that can handle this.... I guess, to each his own.

d.sharkey 09-21-2009 01:26 PM

Got a good jack? Willies method will work, but means shiming or unshimimg every spring, to level the cabin or cottage. Family cottage built in 1920, Nova Scotia, Canada, on wooden piers, jacked and shimed every few summers now. If available, concrete piles/piers below frost line.

d.sharkey 09-21-2009 01:50 PM

Steel piles, pipe or H need to be driven, can be costly. What are the soils conditions, rocks, clay, sand, water,etc.? Do you have a budget/access for any machinery, etc.? They do sell prefabricated pile forms, look like a reverse cone, made of pvc materials, not the cardboard sonotube.

MacRoadie 09-21-2009 02:57 PM

In looking at that website, it looks like they tried to account for frost heave by over-exing down below the frost line and backfilling with gravel. In theory, I don't see why that wouldn't work, especially for a small structure, but it looks like they only went down 16" and that seems pretty shallow (even for a Southern California boy).

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