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Can I pour my footings and foundation now and have them sit through snow/winter?

Can I pour my footings and foundation now and have them sit through snow/winter?

Old 09-19-11, 10:32 AM
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Can I pour my footings and foundation now and have them sit through snow/winter?

I live near SLC Utah, and we want to know if we can excavate, do footings, and foundation, before it gets cold. Will the snowy winter have a bad effect on this? Would it be good or bad to back-fill or do the basement slab?

The reason were are anxious, is because we need a TON of fill dirt...over 100 loads. We can get it for free if we have enough time to organize efforts with excavation companies (Saves us about $9K). It's hard to tell however, when to stop bringing it and where to dump it without excavation and footprint in place.

Thanks for any expertise and advice here!
Old 09-19-11, 10:45 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Yes, you can do this. Around here, the cost of a builing permit increased dramatically a few years ago but the loophole was while you had to pour the foundation within six months of getting the permit, you didn't have to finish the structure for two years. Thus, a lot of permits were bought and foundations poured before the price increase went into effect and most of them sat over a winter, many over two.
Old 09-19-11, 10:49 AM
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Call your local concrete suppliers and ask if they rent blankets. As long as you can complete any finishing (floating) while temperatures are near or above freezing, you should be OK.. We have poured and finished slabs where the overnight temps went as low as 18F without problems, but we were done floating while still above 28F, or so.

OK, so what if my location says SE NM. We're actually at 7,000 ft in the Sacramento Mountains where it hit minus! 35F this past Feb.
Old 09-19-11, 12:05 PM
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I assume you mean having someone do all of the work for you. As a DIY project this would be a big one.
As for leaving a foundation exposed over the winter, it all depends upon the soil and moisture conditions. Personally, I would not plan on leaving it open. In an emergency, like winter closed in too fast, you might have to. As for calculating the amount of fill needed and where to store it, a much easier job and even if you picked up a bit less than needed the remaining would cost average rather well.

Old 09-28-11, 01:30 PM
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Not a problem with the footings and foundations. Just do it before your ground freezes. As for a basement slab, that's a different story. Exposed concrete sitting around all winter with snow and ice on it is a no-no. The freeze-thaw cycle will eat it up.
Old 10-05-11, 11:07 PM
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A few random thoughts and/or questions:

1. What's wrong with having your cheap backfill dumped and stockpiled on site, for you to use for backfilling as your schedule allows?

2. Foundation footings and walls sitting over winter shouldn't be a problem, as long as a few precautions are taken. Including covering with blankets for the first several weeks, to hasten strength-gain and prevent freezing of the concrete before it has a chance to properly hydrate. And make sure to specify AE (air entrainment) in your concrete--the tiny bubbles prevent frozen moisture in the mix from cracking the concrete.

3. The basement slab is another matter. If you can get it poured and properly cured before the freezing weather sets in, you might be OK. But it still wouldn't hurt to cover with black plastic and blankets (or even straw, or hay), to prevent it from freezing. Once curing concrete freezes, it will never recover and restart its curing cycle with the return of warmer weather. I've been around enough (hundreds of yards, actually) of frozen concrete to know--the stuff actually develops a unique smell as it begins to crumble and turn into gravel.

4. Don't let any concrete "professional" tell you he'll shorten the set time by adding calcium chloride. It's the worst possible thing you can do to your mix, and will greatly increase the reinforcing steel's corrosion rate.

5. Whatever you do, don't backfill the walls without properly bracing them from the inside, or loading them with the framing of the house. You will run the risk of bowing them inward if they are free-standing, without any vertical or lateral loading to counteract the forces of the compacted backfill. Seen it done a few times, and believe me, it's not pretty (not to mention being quite expensive to correct).
Old 10-06-11, 03:11 AM
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I agree with BridgeMan45, and have one thing to add. When you cover a slab with plastic or plastic-backed blankets, the slab will discolor. The condensation pooling wherever the plastic touches the slab, and the dry spots where the plastic is wrinkled just above the slab will cure differently. You will always have a ghosted image of the plastic on the concrete (like the Shroud of Turin). It will never go away. Therefore, if you want the concrete to be the finished basement floor with no covering, it will look rather ugly. You see it all the time on exterior concrete that has been covered with plastic. Yuck!

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