Masonry Techniques and Building Concrete Foundations

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  1. Intro (this page)
  2. Laying Out the Site
  3. Building the Footings
  4. Slab Foundation
  5. Poured Perimeter Foundations


Many of you have carpentry skills good enough to frame a shed, workshop, cabin, or even a house, but are stymied by the seeming complexities of foundation work. As a result, you may be reluctant to start such a construction project.

Some foundations are considerably easier to form than others. You can form a frame for a slab foundation for an 8-foot by 12-foot workshop, for instance, just by nailing together some 2 by 4s and laying the frame down on level ground.

A foundation for a garage or cabin requires much more preparation. Building a good foundation requires patient work, careful attention to details, and good carpentry skills. The great majority of your time will be spent in framing, squaring, and bracing the foundation forms; the actual pouring and finishing of the concrete will be simple by comparison.

Two types of foundations are covered in this section: the slab and the perimeter foundation. Of the two, the slab is simpler to form but must be built on ground that's level or nearly so. The slab is ideal for garages, workshops, and other similar buildings. The disadvantage is that all rough plumbing must be completed before the concrete is poured.

The advantage of a perimeter foundation is that it can be built on irregular or sloping ground. A perimeter foundation also raises the house off the ground and allows easy access to plumbing.

Even a novice can achieve professional-looking results by using the correct techniques and tools. An edging tool forms a round, smooth edge that reduces chipping and cracking.

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Updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:44