Build Your Own House

Concrete Foundations

Concrete Foundations - Home Improvement - Concrete Foundation Cost

Summary: Foundations are the most basic structural element of a house. As a rule, footings and foundations are better today than they were 100 years ago.

Well-built new homes of today will probably last years longer than those built long ago. Technology has improved home building materials such as concrete, and our knowledge of how to use them has increased.

I say this to help ease your mind about this important home building step.

I have a foundation contractor that stakes the house on the lot, clears the land, excavates the lot for the basement, digs the footings, pours the concrete footings and forms and pours the concrete walls.

For your first house, I recommend that you find a foundation contractor who does the same.

I found that the cost of having one foundation contractor who does it all costs less.

The finished foundation should be waterproofed from the footing up to the finish grade line.

I recommend hiring a professional waterproofing contractor for waterproofing the foundation. Don’t let some laborers do it in their spare time like I did on my first house. Read my page on Waterptoofing Foundations.

Also, depending on your locale, you may need to have the soil treated for insects and pests, particularly termites. Hire a professional. This job is done after the foundation is in, but before any concrete is poured for either the basement or the garage.

The foundation wall for any type house needs to be high enough so that water will be diverted away from the house by the final grade of the soil around the house.

It must also be high enough so that the wood finish and framing of the house will be at least
8 inches above the finish grade and thus protected from soil moisture.

Your foundation contractor needs to be one of your better subs. Next to your carpenter, he is the most important.

Your carpenter probably can recommend a good one, as he usually starts his work soon after, if not directly after, the foundation contractor is finished.

He knows the good ones. I’m sure he’s had to follow bad ones and probably remembers having to shim walls or compensate in some other way for an out-of-square foundation.

Houses can and should have square corners.

Here's a concrete calculator from Concrete Network for those who plan on ordering the concrete:

Carl Heldmann