With the prevalence of so many DIY shows on television, it may seem like digging your own foundation would be an easy job to handle. Just rent some trenching and digging equipment, grab a level, and entice a few friends to help…right?
Wrong. Here’s why digging your own foundation is a big mistake.
Foundations are…well…foundational to the overall integrity of your structure. They need to be designed and built to perfectly fit the structure’s size, weight, and capacity. If something as simple as a footing is not placed precisely, windows could be off-center, doors may be ill-placed, or sections of the flooring can buckle and collapse.
In addition to calculating the foundation requirements based on the structure, the soil and climate conditions of the specific location must also be considered. For example, extremely moist soil does not provide a substantial enough surface to support a structure. In those cases, a licensed professional may likely decide to use a material such as concrete to give the strength needed.
Here are four common examples of DIY mistakes that have led to failing foundations:
- The dirt used to backfill around the foundation has too much water content. If the ground used for the backfill contains high amounts of clay or nonorganic matter, the excess water will end up seeping into the concrete foundations. Additionally, the water is heavy and puts too much pressure on the concrete, leading to cracks and leaks.
- The concrete foundation doesn’t cure properly. If the builder doesn’t allow enough time for the concrete to cure fully, the structure’s integrity is lost. It should take several days to a week for the concrete to fully set and cure.
- The dirt in the foundation’s base isn’t compacted correctly. After the soil is dug out, the construction crew should cover the ground with a thick layer of gravel. The gravel needs to be properly tamped down to create a solid structure to support the concrete poured on top. Without proper compacting, concrete will seep into the stone, and that can cause the concrete structure to shift and crack.
- The entire concrete pouring job isn’t completed in one day. Concrete will begin to dry and cure as soon as it is poured. If the wrong amount of concrete is estimated and a crew has to come back the next day to finish, the new layer of concrete will not properly adhere to the first layer. As a result, there will be a seam in the foundation susceptible to moisture, leaks, and cracks.
The best place to start on a new building project is to contact the professionals at Excavation Oregon.
If you’re planning to build a new home, barn, or other permanent structure, ensure your project starts off right with a professionally excavated foundation. Our team at Excavation Oregon will assess your site and develop a plan for creating sufficient access roads, clearing brush and trees, and digging your foundation. Contact us today for more information and a free quote.