What is a footing and what is it’s purpose?

First off, here's the basic order of construction for a home up to the framing of the walls.

Understanding the order of the process will help you to understand the definition we provided below. The steps provided are generalized descriptions to help you visualize the construction process.

  1. Dig the footers.
  2. Pour concrete solid to a specified height.
  3. Build the foundation wall on top of the footer.
  4. Carpenters frame up the walls.

A concrete footing or footer can be defined as a support, located below grade to provide ample surface area for a foundation wall to be built.

In essence, it's a foundation for the foundation wall. It is created by digging a trench in undisturbed soil. Try to visualize a 16-inch wide dirt channel that extends around the perimeter of your home.  The purpose of a footer is to spread the weight of the home over a larger surface area, to prevent sinking or foundation failure. Also, footings are wider than the foundation walls being built on top of them. This provides projection or extra width so that the foundation isn't built right on the edge of the footer.

Typically, a concrete footing for a residential structure uses either a 16-inch or 20-inch wide by 8-inch deep continuous block of poured concrete. First, you must excavate a pre-determined perimeter footing of the correct size, conforming to the blueprints. After a successful inspection of your footers, you can then pour the concrete to the necessary height or thickness. After one final inspection, this completes the footing.

If you will look at the image at the top of this blog post, you will notice a sample footing and foundation plan. This is not a complete blueprint but it shows a bird's eye view of what a footer looks like. So now, if someone asks you what a footer is you can tell them that it's an excavated trench that is filled with concrete and provides a flat and solid surface for the foundation wall to be constructed on.

Four Oaks Residential are experts at footing excavation and we've been doing it for over 30 years! If you are in the state of North Carolina and in need of reliable contractors for this type of work, you should contact us using the form here.

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