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Special Report 08: Interviews with foundation contractors - Electronic Edition

Special Report 08: Interviews with foundation contractors - Electronic Edition
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Author: Mark A. Smith

[This is the Special Report 08 in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Format. Our electronic products download immediately to your computer upon purchase.]

This is the part of your project that everything else rests on. You can't afford to have it off by even one inch. But the guys who do quality work vary in their pricing by a wide margin. How to find good workmanship and what to pay for it. Eight pages, revised and updated with new reader tips, web links and comments.

Topics Include:

  • Width and depth needed for code
  • Concrete stamping and cutting
  • Poured concrete vs. Gypcrete for radiant floors
  • Fastfoot fabric footing forms
  • Poured vs. block walls
  • Superior Walls pre-cast foundations
  • Adequate rebar
  • ICF foundations
  • Surface bonded concrete block
  • Permanent wooden foundations
  • Rebar grade and strength
  • Drain pipe options for walkout basement
  • 9-foot foundations, thickness vs. engineering
  • Problems with Superior Walls
  • Dirt work and trenching

Excerpt from Report:

"...Q: What will you need from me to do a bid?

A: B&B will bid on foundations, and I will bid on footings, garage, driveway, porch, sidewalks, steps, patio, any pads. For handicapped, you'd need a ramp. You need an extremely good plot plan. Walter Jex can do that. As for the accuracy of measurements, that's your responsibility.

A: You need a building permit. Need steel there, all the rebar there. I can order it, and the same for concrete. I will tell you what to order. I cut some grade stakes off the rebar, and set my forms to grade. When you order the rebar specify 60 grade. The prices are the same. You can check ClydeCo in Mapleton, or Superior Buck and Steel in Sandy. Take total footage, linear, divide by nine, and add about 15 pieces for grade stakes and odds and ends. You can throw anything left over in the foundation. You still have your vertical steel to deal with. Talk to the supplier for your J bar tell how high the foundation is gonna be and to send the appropriate steel. For foundation man, Tri-L is the best. Tell them I'm on the job. They are hard to get. If you get on their list, be serious about it. For framing, Keith Taskett is great, a bit expensive.

A: Complete set of plans. I'll give them back to you at the job.

Q: Can you give me an idea about cost?

A: 10X20 inch footing. If you have a custom home it's more angles. $2.50 a foot, two strands of rebar. Verticals are 24? apart. If it's wider, more horizontal rebar, or the verticals are closer together, it's more. $8 a vertical foot for step-downs. Ask a foundation guy about wheelchair access.

A: Four foot $7.50 a running foot. Labor. Three foot labor and materials 8 inches thick $21, roughly $24 for a four foot wall."...

Sample Reader Tip Excerpts:

"We are doing a basement out of pre-insulated concrete panels. The way this is done, you excavate the hole, lay down your drain tile, dig in your plumbing lines, 8 inches of gravel, or rather crushed washed limestone, screeded and compacted. We went to Superiorwalls.com. Prestudded, ready for insulation and drywall. Cost: About $22,000 for 2,400 s.f. and a built-in tornado shelter. This house is seismic and hurricane standard. Lots of strapping, and the floor is bolted to the basement. Hurricane hangers for the trusses, and Kevlar strapping for the roof is also available."
Dave & Sheila A.
Boone, IA

John is absolutely correct about steel being the best insurance. I would never consider a 10’ 6” wall without it being engineered. Personally, I would not engineer a 9’ wall myself. That is why I suggest talking to your local wall contractors about it. They are familar with your local soils and may want an engineered wall since their name will be on it. The steel placement is very critical. If it is not in the correct location, it is not worth putting it in. A good wall contractor will explain it in layman’s terms so you understand why. With 18” above grade and backfilled up to it, you will not have as much hydraulic pressure as 6” or so above existing grade would.
by Joe in Cincinnati, OH

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