Construction of foundations is one of the most commonly sought after services from concrete contractors. There are 3 major foundation designs that are usually employed. These include: poured wall foundations, slab foundations as well as pier or pillar foundations. Briefly put, here’s what these major types of foundations entail:
1. Slab Foundations
These are quite simple and economical and are mostly preferred because they do not require the need for major excavations, foundations walls or footings. 3 variants of the slab foundation exist, namely: cold area, wet warm area and desert. For all three, the area is usually staked out with batter boards and the top layer of soil or sod is usually removed. The materials and tools used are quite similar to those used for typical pour slab foundations.
2. Pier and Pillar Foundations
Pier foundations are simply individual footers that are meant to support a structural beam or post. Simple pier foundations are usually utilized for small structures that are built using a crawl-space design. Anchor plates and bolts are usually secured into place in the pier footer before the concrete fully sets in. Attaching the beam or post is thus simplified and as such, results in the most strongest of applications. Pier foundations are more often than not, set deep into the ground to avoid the upheaval and shifting processes caused by perennial freeze and thaw cycles. To save on the amount of concrete that is used, a truncated pyramid shape is usually employed. Plywood or any other strong lumber can be used to construct the forms.
3. Poured wall foundations
Unlike block foundations, poured concrete foundations offer the advantage of possessing no joints or any weak points. Throughout the foundation, no mortar or hollow openings are in existence. This results in poured wall foundations presenting a number of benefits such as:
– Increased water resistance.
– Increased fire resistance.
– Design flexibility
– Ease of maintenance.
On the other hand, concrete blocks used to build block foundations are naturally hollow and so they tend to be more vulnerable to damage especially when subjected to high compressive or tensile stresses.
Ordinarily, in the construction of poured wall foundations, large and heavy wooden forms are constructed and secured properly to ensure that they can sustain the amount of pressure that they will be subjected to during the concrete pour. In one continuous pour, concrete is then poured into the foundation forms to ensure that there no weaknesses. Poured concrete foundations are usually strengthened by making use of reinforcing steel.
For vertical reinforcement, steel bars will already have been strategically installed into the footing before the concrete pour has been done. The rods used may be typically one and a half inches in diameter and they are usually directly connected to the poured concrete footer that the foundation rests on. On the other hand, horizontal reinforcement requires that the steel bars be horizontally placed in the upper and lower sections of the poured foundation walls. The reinforcing steel possesses a very high tensile strength of about 40,000 lbs per square inch. This horizontal steel helps prevent the formation of vertical cracks in the event that the foundation heaves or drops.
After the client has selected the contractor, there are 7 key steps that are usually involved when a foundation is being poured. These are:
– Water Proofing
– Weeping Tile/Drainage Pipe.
– Back fill.
– Finishing concrete floor/pouring.
The strength, stability and longevity of structures be it roads, bridges, houses, high-rise buildings, drive-ways, walk ways, patios etc. is solely dependent upon the quality of their foundation, and as such, it is not that hard to see why the foundation may be arguably the most crucial component of any building or structure. It is thus highly advised that prospective clients only engage the services of professional, certified concrete contractors as they alone can guarantee superior and cost effective workmanship in the creation of any foundation desired. For more detailed and helpful information about the various types of foundations that are suitable for various projects, clients should not hesitate to book a consultancy appointment with a professional concrete contractor either online via their websites or through phone contact listings.
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