Newbie...Can I dig my own footings?

   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #1  

Pixguy

Super Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2010
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Location
By the lake in NH & FL
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2011 MF 2410 TLB
I have a SCUTtlb and I've been lining up the framer to start building my new 26X32 equiment garage in the spring.
After 2 local guys have not gotten back to me with pricing to dig my footings and frost walls, I'm asking myself, why not just do the job myself?

My questions would be:
How deep for Northern winters? How do I keep it level? Should I buy a laser level?

Clearly my confidence level is not there, so let me know if I should attack this or leave it up to the pros.:confused:

Thanks in advance, Bill
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #2  
I think you answered your own question with your confidence level. Having said that can be done? - sure can. Do your homework and read up on local building codes and permits. I was fortunate in that there are very few regulations were I live. I built my 28X40 from below ground and up. Do alot of reading on some threads here. I bought an optical transit tripod and stick to make everything level. Be sure of your skill level when using a transit. Having fun is also a must.:)

Dave
 

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   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #3  
I have a SCUTtlb and I've been lining up the framer to start building my new 26X32 equiment garage in the spring.
After 2 local guys have not gotten back to me with pricing to dig my footings and frost walls, I'm asking myself, why not just do the job myself?

My questions would be:
How deep for Northern winters? How do I keep it level? Should I buy a laser level?

Clearly my confidence level is not there, so let me know if I should attack this or leave it up to the pros.:confused:

Thanks in advance, Bill
------------------------------------------------------------------
Suggested frost depths for the US.
http://www.soundfootings.com/pdf/US_Map_Frost_DepthAVG.pdf
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings?
  • Thread Starter
#4  
Do your homework and read up on local building codes and permits. I was fortunate in that there are very few regulations were I live.
Dave

Thanks Dave, I too have few codes, but I want to do it correct anyways, as I'm sure you did. My soil is VERY boney in "The Granite State" so I will research and hope for more details.

Solid conctete walls in New England, and in a hilly area, ie: not perfectly level.
 
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   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #5  
If you have a backhoe it wont be any problem that's why you would have one right?! Talk to your county engineer about frost line.

As far as keeping it level a string line and 4' level is what I use. I have a laser also but I trust the string just as much and its visible in the brightest sun. Driving in stakes along the way at the proper grade level helps too.

One thing I found is when building a footing or wall with hollow blocks its not so critical at all trying to keep the whole thing perfect level if you have a form built to fill the blocks with grout the grout will take care of any irregularity's if you are following me?

Make your form say 6-8" above the last course of blocks drop in your steel and have the forms nice and level at the top and thats all you have to do get some j-bolts and stick them in at various places once the grout has started to setup to bolt your bottom plate down and use an insulating material between the footing and the plate that's it.

You can find how-to videos about anything you can dream up that will help a bunch also. Post pics btw!
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #6  
Yes; you can do the excavating yourself.

Check your local codes for frost depth.

Regulate the digging depth by placing offset stakes marked at a handy level. Then use those, a board, tape or stick and a level to check your grade. The stake level can be done with an ordinary level, water hose or a few other methods. This was pretty common the last time I was involved with digging trenches!:)

Step ahead 50 years, dig a hole, place the laser level at the desired height and direction and start digging! :thumbsup::thumbsup:
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #7  
Here is a couple pics of a block wall/footing I did last year.

I had the cement truck dump grout in my bucket of my tractor and then carried it to the forms and carefully dumped into the forms it worked just fine.

The footing was level as can be even though the blocks were an inch off here and there is what I was talking about. hth :thumbsup:
 

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   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #8  
Car Doc! Somebody stole your walls! :eek: :D
200768d1297957189t-newbie-can-i-dig-my-img_1080-1024x768-.jpg

Pixguy, if you do dig out your own footing and you dig a little too deep in some areas, don't try to backfill with the same material you just dug out and leave it loose. You have to compact it to the same density as the undisturbed soil or it will settle with time and your footing might crack. Better to use sand or gravel since they are easily spread, leveled and compacted.
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #9  
When you have the minimum specs from your local inspector remember that is the minimum. It appears that you want to do the job youself. So if you make it alittle bit better ie closer spaced supports or 1 size larger the only complaint the inspector will have is you did not need that extra support. But it is your project and there is no markup being made on the heavier grade of materials by a contractor. As in everything there is a point of no return on heavier gauge materials.

Craig Clayton
 
   / Newbie...Can I dig my own footings? #10  
You did say SCUT right. In Massachusetts footings have to be a minimum of 4 ft below finished grade. New Hampshire will probably be at least that deep, maybe deeper. I don't know how big your backhoe is, but I suspect that you will be constantly repositioning your machine due to lack of reach.

Also, I don't know about your particular soil conditions, but I would say it's very likely that you will run in to boulders that weigh more than your SCUT.


I will agree that it is possible to dig your own footings, I just question whether you have enough machine.



Stan
 
 
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