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Old 03-09-2013, 09:32 PM   #1
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Do you need forms for a footer?


Is there any reason to use wooden forms for a footer? I'm planning on just digging a 2' wide trench with a mini excavator and filling it with concrete.

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Old 03-09-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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Do you need forms for a footer?


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Originally Posted by tibberous View Post
Is there any reason to use wooden forms for a footer? I'm planning on just digging a 2' wide trench with a mini excavator and filling it with concrete.
Where are you at geographically?
either way a foundation floats in the earth.
If you did that I would still use Styrofoam forms. I think you want that smooth edge against the earth so you foundation floats in the earth properly. with a rough edge you run the risk of heaving because the earth has a harder time sliding past the footing when it freezes & thaws.

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Old 03-09-2013, 10:09 PM   #3
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Do you need forms for a footer?


#1 Please go back and add your location to your profile!!
Just go to quick links and edit.
I've never seen anyone use forms for a footing, just grade stakes.
You really would be far better off getting a foundation pro to do this for you.
Done wrong and the rest of the building will suffer
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Old 03-10-2013, 06:57 AM   #4
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Do you need forms for a footer?


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Originally Posted by mech_gui View Post
Where are you at geographically?
either way a foundation floats in the earth.
If you did that I would still use Styrofoam forms. I think you want that smooth edge against the earth so you foundation floats in the earth properly. with a rough edge you run the risk of heaving because the earth has a harder time sliding past the footing when it freezes & thaws.
Footers are supposed to be below the frost line. What you describe shouldn't happen.
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:49 PM   #5
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Do you need forms for a footer?


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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
You really would be far better off getting a foundation pro to do this for you
Thought about it, but the guy wanted ~$3,000. DIY price is gonna be like $1,300, and $250 of that is renting an excavator which I'd probably have to rent regardless.

That said, I might actually get him to do the slab. I've done concrete, but nothing this big.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:01 PM   #6
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Do you need forms for a footer?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mech_gui View Post
Where are you at geographically?
either way a foundation floats in the earth.
If you did that I would still use Styrofoam forms. I think you want that smooth edge against the earth so you foundation floats in the earth properly. with a rough edge you run the risk of heaving because the earth has a harder time sliding past the footing when it freezes & thaws.
Maybe they do things very differently in Michigan, but normally you are better off having the footings in direct contact with the ground so they don't move! Since are below the frontline heaving is not a problem. You get much more stability with direct contact with undisturbed soil.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:21 PM   #7
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Do you need forms for a footer?


One reason to use forms is so you can level it.
We use 2x8 or 2x10 built at 18"-24" wide and set them level so you can screed off the top of the 2x and have a nice flat, level surface to set your wall forms onto.
We make them this wide so after they set up, you can snap chaulk lines and set your forms square

Using the ditch as your form walls is not going to work.
You can't dig a perfect wall.
Just pouring concrete into a dug ditch is going to spread all over the place.
You'll use twice as much concrete as you would with forms.
....and what happens if a wall caves in when the concrete truck backs up close??

You'll never get it level and you can't get down in there next to it to hand trowel it smooth.

Watch how the pros do it. There's a reason they do it that way.
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Old 03-10-2013, 11:41 PM   #8
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Do you need forms for a footer?


Hey Tom, back when I first started building working with my dad, we dug all of our footings by hand. The ground in West Tennessee is a lot different than it is here is East Tennessee. The ground there is firm no rocks, good solid ground,

When we dug the footings we had to pull strings and keep the footings exact, my dad made us use a hatchet to square the sides up and use a level to be sure they were as close to perfect as could be. He even made us take a whisk broom and dust pan to sweep any dust out. We used grade stakes and we did have to hand trowel the footings. I can imagine up in your area the footings are quite deep because it is much colder up there. Down here the footings only have to be 13 inches down (frost line) so getting to them isn't a problem.
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:17 PM   #9
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Do you need forms for a footer?


I always form mine now. I did a few icf walls and it is so much easier having everything perfect. I drill and place the rebar in there exactly where I want it. The strength is in how wide the footer is. I know you can snap level lines in your wall forms then just take up the difference when pouring the walls but no thank you. Everyone has a way of doing things and this is how I like to do my footers
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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Do you need forms for a footer?


It's all about location. In Oregon, We punched out the crawler 2 ft below grade set up footing forms- then stem walls.
Same here in north Idaho, only a little deeper for frost.
Southern Cal- I saw them strip the top soil, set strings for the outside wall lines, then use a ditch witch to exc. for a grade beam. Then they set edge forms for the perimeter and poured a monolithic slab w/gradebeam- all in one day

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