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7 important things to consider when building a foundation

Reinforced concrete means unshakable. Isn’t this what we want to see the foundation of our house? To get a reliable, durable base, high-quality materials alone are not enough. A competent, sensitive approach to construction technologies is also required here. Below are 7 important conditions that are important to consider when building a foundation. A reliable foundation means a strong house

1. We start work on time

The best time to start building a foundation is late spring or early summer. And it’s not a matter of tradition, but of the climate: if you start work early, there is a risk that after thawing the soil the foundation will deform. Of course, there are methods of winter construction, additives, and additives for concrete mixtures, but all these measures require financial and time costs.

If you start construction in the middle or end of summer, then the construction of walls, roofing, and everything else will fall into the winter. Or you will have to leave the foundation until next season. It is not recommended to do either of these (except log cabins). The ideal option for stone and brick houses is to build the box before frost. Frame houses can generally be brought to the final stage of readiness in one season if start on time. It takes 4 weeks for concrete to gain strength, but walls can be erected on it within 14 days after pouring. In heated soil with stabilized groundwater and stable positive air temperature, it will have time to do this in such a time. Start construction on time so that you don’t have to preserve the foundation for the winter

2. We study hydrogeology and build the foundation pit correctly

You need to understand that the integrity of the foundation depends on how the soil behaves. Before construction begins, it is necessary to conduct hydrogeological surveys. With their data, you will be able to correctly select the most suitable type of foundation, and estimate the height of groundwater and other important characteristics.

By the way, during hydrogeological surveys, not only the level of groundwater is determined, but also its aggressiveness. If it turns out that they contain solutions of acids, alkalis, and salts, then additional protection must be provided for concrete and reinforced concrete building structures. Because such aggressive substances can destroy both waterproofing and load-bearing concrete structures, and even cause corrosion of steel reinforcement right inside the foundation. To prevent this from happening, even at the production stage, special additives are introduced into the concrete solution to increase water resistance, and the surface of the concrete structure is treated with protective compounds, for example, polymer mastic.  

Also, the choice of foundation type is determined by the design of the building. After this, you can begin preparing the pit.

Important! When preparing a pit, it is necessary to completely remove the fertile layer of soil. It contains a large amount of organic matter – roots, stems, and green mass of plants. Over time, they rot and become compressed, causing the soil to sag significantly. Before you start building the formwork and pouring concrete, the bottom of the pit must be well compacted and a sand and gravel cushion laid on it.

3. We don’t save on formwork!

It would seem that for formwork you can use construction waste – and sometimes even do without it. However, such savings can result not only in financial losses but also in a decrease in the quality of the foundation itself. What happens if you decide to pour concrete mixture directly into the trench, without strengthening and leveling the walls with formwork? Firstly, during pouring, soil that has crumbled from the walls will fall into it. These “additives” are completely unnecessary for the concrete solution: they can negatively affect its strength. Secondly, due to crumbling, the geometry of the foundation is disrupted, which is unsafe for the structure as a whole (high-quality formwork allows you to pour the foundation without vertical deviations of the wall). And thirdly, you will probably have to deal with excess consumption of concrete mortar. A good formwork must be strong (to withstand the pressure of the concrete solution), sealed (so that it does not leak out), and level (to obtain a concrete surface without cracks and sagging).

4. Remember: the strength of reinforced concrete is determined by high-quality reinforcement

Concrete reinforcement is necessary so that the foundation can withstand the load from walls, roofs, and ceilings. To do this, you only need to use fittings! There are exceptions to this rule, for example, monolithic structures may have rolled elements in their reinforcement – I-beams, channels, angles, rails, etc. Such elements significantly strengthen them. But if you have accumulated rusty metal trash on your site, you don’t need to dispose of it in the foundation of your future home.

Reinforcement must be carried out in strict compliance with the rules.

  1. Do not skimp on reinforcement and do not use rods of smaller diameter than specified in the project. 
  2. It is forbidden to bend reinforcement using heat: because of this, the material seriously loses strength. Although this is practically not done in private housing construction, such advice can sometimes be seen in video blogs of self-builders. There is no need to follow them.
  3. Observe the thickness of the concrete protective layer by regulatory documents. 
  4. If you have to use rebar with surface corrosion, treat it with a rust converter or remover.
  5. Be sure to reinforce the most loaded areas of reinforced concrete structures with reinforcing bars or meshes by the design. Otherwise, you risk the formation of cracks in the concrete.
  6.  Follow the reinforcement spacing by the project.

Read more:

How to make a simple device and easily bend reinforcement

5. We strictly follow the technology for preparing the concrete mixture.

Only precise adherence to proportions when mixing the mortar will ensure the required characteristics of the foundation. Use only high-quality concrete with attached strength test reports, preferably at least grade C25. If you buy low-quality concrete (without a certificate, from anonymous manufacturers), you risk simply losing your house; it may simply collapse!

The quality of Portland cement and its additives also plays an important role. The strength, moisture, and frost resistance of the foundation depends on this. Sand should not contain clay impurities; crushed stone is used to wash. And even water needs cleaned! 

There are also important aspects to pouring technology. For example, poor mixing of the concrete mixture and insufficient compaction with deep vibrators can lead to the formation of voids or the appearance of sand on the surface of the concrete. 

Another common mistake is to stretch out the foundation pouring process over long periods. Many private owners prefer to mix the concrete solution themselves and pour the foundation into fragments as they have free time. We don’t argue, this provides huge financial savings compared to ordering concrete from production. However, mistakes when performing cold concreting joints can lead to the appearance of unconcrete cavities, pores, and cracks in the concrete. As a result, these areas will be the most vulnerable to cracking and leaking.

Perhaps it will still be easier and more reliable for you to order concrete from production. To indirectly convince of its quality, non-destructive testing devices are used.

6. We insulate the foundation and blind area

This measure allows for to minimization of the influence of soil on the foundation. How it works:

  • you create a contour around the house that is least susceptible to heaving;
  • reduce the risk of foundation cracking due to uneven freezing of the soil;
  • reduce heat loss. (Without insulation, up to 20% of the heat can escape through the base. In the case of an uninsulated basement floor, problems with the microclimate in the house may arise.)

7. We provide reliable waterproofing and protection from damage

Being in the ground, the foundation is constantly in contact with moisture: there is both precipitation and groundwater… There is an opinion that concrete will not absorb moisture if, after pouring, the solution is compacted with a surface vibrator. But even after compaction of the mixture, the concrete hardens, gaining strength, and its structure becomes crystalline-porous (that is, the fusion of crystals and cement grains occurs). During such hardening, small pores and microcracks will remain and will appear: this is a feature of concrete as a material. Such small pores and microcracks cannot be removed by vibration, even the best quality, since they are formed at the stage of hardening of the concrete mixture, that is, after the vibration process. Once in such areas, water will rupture them when it freezes.

Under such conditions, concrete, as they say, wears out and gradually loses strength. Waterproofing will help protect the foundation from such troubles. For this, you can use coating materials or self-adhesive membranes; some private owners prefer polymer membranes (for example, PVC). When choosing waterproofing, the main attention should be paid not to the method of application, but to the quality, because during the operation of the house, it will be very difficult to eliminate problems arising with the protection of the foundation: this is the most inaccessible part of the house. A reliable foundation needs reliable waterproofing It is important to understand that the soil, especially if it is heaving, is mobile. And the foundation is stable, it remains in place, constantly resisting the pressure of the soil and withstanding its movements up and down. Accordingly, the waterproofing is subject to a serious mechanical load, and any pebble, root, or something hard under such pressure can damage the integrity of the protective layer. This can happen already during backfilling. This will leave the concrete vulnerable to moisture penetration, but you won’t notice it for years. Problems can come to light when the point of no return is passed. What can be done? Make waterproofing that is not afraid of mechanical stress.

Read more:



1. Roofing mastic
2. Reinforced concrete foundation structure
3. Membrane
4. The base of the wall in the reinforced concrete foundation structure
6. Crushed stone preparation
7. Foundation soil
8. Backfill soil
9. Transitional side (fillet)
10. Sand preparation

To ensure that the waterproofing remains intact under any operating conditions, it is protected with profiled membranes. This is a durable, elastic material that is resistant to mechanical damage. You can be sure that both when backfilling the foundation and during operation it will reliably protect the waterproofing from any damage.

Membranes have molded projections 8.5 mm high, so they can absorb and evenly distribute loads over a large surface area. This reduces point loads on waterproofing to a minimum.

In addition, the profiled surface forms a ventilation gap between the foundation and the ground. In this way, the most favorable operating conditions are created for the foundation of the house.

Membrane installation

Installation of the membrane is simple and does not require specific knowledge. It is easy to handle even alone, which is especially valuable for independent developers. The process takes just 5 steps.

1. We glue pieces of special tape 5-7 cm long onto the waterproofing.

2 . Remove the protective layer from the tapes and glue the membrane onto them with the protrusions facing the waterproofing.

3. We join adjacent membrane sheets overlapped, 4 protrusions wide.

4. We glue the joints with bitumen-polymer tape.
5. We fix the membrane above the waterproofing level using special tape.

Reliable waterproofing protection is ready. You can begin backfilling the soil.

The foundation is the foundation of the house, and like any foundation, it must be impeccably reliable. During construction, we must not forget about psychological comfort. In this context, this is confidence in the quality of housing. Therefore, it is important to use proven materials and strictly follow developed technologies.

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