Do Basements Have Footings? [Your Guide To Basic Basement Construction]

Residences and commercial establishments need to be on stable ground to prevent issues like foundation cracking and settling. But if a home or commercial space has a foundation, does it have a basement footing? We researched for you and consulted with niche experts to give you this answer.

Basements generally have footings to provide the necessary support for the lot. These structures need to possess the required depth for them to supply optimal structural integrity to the foundations and homes above.

Although digging a basement footing is possible using DIY techniques, it can be better to use heavy equipment to complete the job. Keep reading to learn more about how to dig a basement footing. We’ll also talk about other pieces of relevant information like the difference between a footing and a foundation.

Concrete footings and basement walls finished ready for next phase of new home construction, Do Basements Have Footings? [Your Guide To Basic Basement Construction]

What Is The Difference Between Footing And Foundation?

Concrete footings and basement walls finished ready for next phase of new home construction.

A footing rests beneath a basement foundation and helps support the house’s weight. Generally, footings have concrete constructions reinforced with a reinforcing bar or rebar. This structure rests in an excavated trench, reducing the risks of settling.

On the other hand, a foundation supports the property’s overall structure by interacting with nearby elements. The interaction takes note of different conditions to help support the residence or commercial establishment.

If you’re wondering about the possibility of digging deeper than the basement, read our post to learn more about that matter.

How Deep Is A Basement Footing?

close up of brick and block footing being built-for a garage for private dwelling

The required depth for the footing often depends on the measurement of the basement, the foundation, and the footing’s thickness.

For example, an 8-foot foundation wall surrounds an 8-foot basement. Moreover, the footing that you’re going to use is 1-foot thick, which makes the total thickness of the foundation and footing to be 9 feet.

Next, subtract the height of the foundation wall that’s visible above ground, which might be 2 feet. If so, the footing’s depth will be 7 feet.

Take note that the example mentioned above isn’t the end-all solution to figuring out a basement footing’s depth. Contractors also take into account other factors, such as the underlying soil.

Cohesive and granular earth will require dissimilar footing depths. Moreover, the size, depth, and material used for the foundation can also play vital roles in calculating the correct depth for the footing.

What Are The Different Types Of Basement Footing?

Houses and commercial spaces use different kinds of footings, depending on the site’s topography, soil type, and local government demands. Some footings used in different constructions are:

Continuous Wall Footing

Also called a continuous footing, it generally has supports made of two or more columns. This model is ideal for supporting a long masonry and needs to be twice the foundation wall's width. Continuous wall footings are also excellent options for carrying heavy structures.

Isolated Footing

Unlike a continuous wall footing that can support an entire structure, an isolated footing is typically a good option for holding up individual foundation columns. Constructing this variant can result in one of two outcomes: steeped or concrete-base projections.

Strip Footing

Strip footing isn’t the same as a continuous wall footing, although both models provide sufficient support to a long masonry. However, strip footing is oftentimes best for low- to medium-rise residential buildings.

Combined Footing

Combined footings generally have two or more columns constructed in a straight line. However, this construction is typically only ideal when each column overlaps. Also, structures over the soil with low load-bearing capacities can take advantage of combined footings.

How Do You Dig Basement Footings?

Backhoe at construction site digging soil with bucket of backhoe

Before proceeding with this project, it’s important to mention that digging basement footings generally isn’t a DIY-friendly job. The task often requires heavy equipment use, particularly a backhoe or an excavator. You also need sufficient knowledge of the needed materials and tools.

Furthermore, proper safety procedures need to be in order. For instance, wearing long-sleeved tops and pants is a must. The boots worn should also be waterproof to allow moisture to wick against the footwear's material, which would otherwise cause hindrances during work.

Also, ensure that you know your city’s building code with regards to footing dimensions. Making basement footings that aren’t up to code may yield expensive fines.

Finally, you need to know the correct depth for your basement footing. If the footing is too shallow, it may not provide adequate support for the house. On the contrary, a footing that’s too deep might promote unwanted settling.

After completing the preparations, you can proceed with the rest of this project:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Slowly dig the soil using the backhoe. Start from one corner and work your way around the perimeter. Make sure that you don’t box yourself into a corner.
  2. After digging your first trench, exit the backhoe for a while and measure the depth of the hole. Another option is to have an assistant assess the trench’s depth for you.
  3. If the trench has the correct depth, continue digging the rest of the basement’s perimeter. If not, dig more of the soil.
  4. Once finished, change the backhoe or excavator’s attachment to scoop up the dug soil.
  5. Fine-tune the trench with a shovel if needed.
  6. Place the leftover soil into a truck bed to complete the cleanup.

Watch the video below to see how to use heavy equipment to dig a basement footing:

Keep in mind that the video shows the digging of a footing for a walkout basement. You may also need to calculate the slope for the space. Read our post on the ideal slope needed for a walkout basement to help you build a stable structure.

Do You Put Gravel Under Footings?

Pouring gravel under concrete footings is essential as it serves as a strong base for the dispensed material. Without the gravel, the concrete will be prone to cracking and shifting. Additionally, gravel is usually spacious, allowing moisture to drain properly and prevent setting into the concrete.

Homeowners and contractors should prepare about five tons of gravel to pour into a dug basement footing. But the total gravel used may depend on certain variables.

Can You Pour A Footing Without Forms?

It’s possible to pour a concrete basement footing without relying on forms as mentioned by some members of the construction community. Take note that forms for concrete footings are temporary structures to provide a stable shape to the poured material.

Pouring concrete to a footing without the form may require additional work and sufficient expertise. Otherwise, the result may look like an uneven concrete blob.

Some states also require forms before pouring concrete into footings. In particular, Florida requires a reinforced steel structure to serve as a precast for concrete foundation walls. This standard should also include footings.

How Much Does It Cost To Put In Footings?

Concrete footing construction

Lot owners should prepare to spend anywhere between $225 and $3,600 to construct a concrete footing. The average costs are approximately $1.50 to $24 per linear foot. Additionally, the overhead often depends on different factors, including the construction’s width.

Certain professionals often include the costs of their services into the final price. Therefore, homeowners may save some money by initiating some of the steps to reduce the overall procedure done by certified technicians.

Final Words

Although sometimes interchanged, footings are different from foundations. A typical basement footing will rest underneath the structure's foundation. Digging the correct footing depth is essential to prevent problems with the foundation and the rest of the property.

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