Digging foundations is the first step in building any structure or adding an addition. It is also the most important part of construction. A foundation that is strong and solid will ensure your addition, commercial building or house does not suffer from water damage, cracks or other problems.
Digging foundations is more than just laying the footings and pouring concrete. Different types of buildings, crawlspaces, and basements require different foundations. Some foundations might need to be thicker to resist moisture buildup, as well as to support the heavy structure.
Excavating any size or type of excavation is more difficult than you may realize. It can also be dangerous. You might not be able to manage foundation excavation, digging for footings, or any excavation or trenching work on your own. Here are some reasons you may want to hire professionals instead.
What is the purpose of a foundation?
It might seem that a foundation’s sole purpose is to support the structure’s weight. A foundation is essential for any commercial building, home, or large shed to be able to support its weight and not sink into the ground. A foundation is more than a support structure and a solid foundation for a building.
- Foundations keep moisture away from the structure. A solid foundation of concrete or other dense, durable materials is essential to keep moisture out of the home’s wood frame. Without it, it can absorb moisture and cause cracking, splitting, and mold growth.
- A foundation protects a structure against cold. Even in summer, the ground beneath a building can be quite cold. Wood and paper building materials can absorb this frigidity. The foundation acts as a protective layer between the structure and ground. It protects a building from becoming too cold.
- A foundation that is solid will help protect your structure from the effects of gravity. The ground beneath a building does not move during an earthquake. However, running water, vehicle traffic and other disturbances can cause the earth to shift, shake and vibrate. This movement can cause walls, ceilings, floors, and framework of a structure to crack, split and chip if it is not supported and secured.
- What makes a good foundation?
The foundation must fit the structure or project. It should be tailored to the individual wearing it. Without precise footings, a structure’s dimensions will not be accurate. Inaccuracy can lead to windows that are not in line with the structure’s dimensions. Concrete may need to be stronger and thicker in cases where soil is too dry or very moist. Stronger foundations might be required for heavy structures, such as homes with stone floors or countertops.
Why foundations fail
A foundation should be able to last decades, if possible, even forever. Foundations can fail, and foundations may eventually crack or chip. These are some common reasons foundations can fail. Make sure you avoid making these mistakes when digging foundations or having new footings pour for your structure.
- Too much water is retained in the backfill around a foundation. Clay and other non-organic matter contain a lot of water which is then absorbed into concrete foundations. Leaks and cracks can also be caused by excessive water pressure on foundations.
- It is illegal to allow a foundation to fully cure. Contractors rush to finish a job and begin work on the foundation before the concrete has fully cured. To ensure concrete is durable, wrap cement in plastic.
- It is important to properly compact the foundation’s foundation base. Concrete is usually poured over a crushed stone base to ensure that it doesn’t seep into ground. If the gravel isn’t properly compacted and tamped, concrete can still settle in its nooks and crevices, leading to concrete cracking.
- It is not possible to pour a foundation all at once. Concrete takes several days to dry properly. However, it starts drying immediately after it is poured. Concreters who interrupt foundation pouring might decide to return the next day. This could cause a seam or joint between the two sections. This seam can allow moisture in between concrete segments to seep through, causing foundation to shift and settle or crack.
This post was written by Tanner Brown. Tanner is the Owner and operator of Greenbar Excavation. Greenbar Excavation is a fully licensed, insured, and accredited Excavation company based in Prineville, Oregon. Greenbar Excavation is one of the top companies for residential excavation contractors. Don’t look further, go with the company with your best interest in mind!