Foundation is the root system of a structure. It is usually referred to
as footing by most construction professionals because of its natural
design and function. Its job is to transfer the entire load (dead and
live) created by the structure to the soil. In turn, the ground exerts a
counteracting force equal to the load transferred by the footing. Without
a footing, the structure can exert different distributive forces on the
ground that may result in uneven settlement. Footing can be
categorized as deep or shallow. Deep footing is the foundation used for
skyscrapers or tall buildings that need significant degree of stability.
This normally requires deep excavation, piling, extreme compaction and
wide range of concrete spreading. On the other hand, shallow footing
refers to the footing of a typical house, where there is not much loads
involved. Unlike deep footing, this only involves a few feet of
excavation and concreting.
Shallow footing follows simple construction procedure. However, sizes
and shapes of the feet should fit with the specifications and standards.
The shape of a footing slab varies according to the area to be covered.
Most slabs are parallelogram (square, rectangle, trapezoid or rhombus).
In special cases, a footing slab is designed circular. The efforts
involved in structuring a footing diverge in terms of size and thickness.
Professional construction usually designs footing with well-arranged
lateral and vertical steel bars, and positioning of underground columns
are based on enclosing perimeter. In DIY build a house techniques,
footing design is usually neglected because of the impression that it is
a concealed structure. Lateral and vertical forces acting upon the
footing must be considered well in designing the foundation. Remember
that the soil does not only vertically counteract with the base of the
footing but also exerts lateral pressure as soon as the backfill
encapsulates the column. If planning a DIY build a house project, it
should be taken to account that the stability of the footing should be
greater than any structural membrane above the surface. Also,
footing concrete mixture is usually higher in class than for off-surface
beams and columns. Class A mixture, with high content of cement and a
more saturated CW ratio, is poured and curing period is longer than the
rest of the concrete-containing membranes. This must be strictly followed
in DIY build house project to keep the house from immediate collapse.
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