How to Build a Slab Foundation

What You'll Need
Tape measure
2x4 or 2x6 wooden boards
Nails and hammer

A slab foundation functions as a base for new homes, garages, sheds, gazebos, and other construction projects. To build such a foundation, one needs to have at least a basic construction skill set. Building a well-made slab foundation will determine the longevity of your project and potentially the stability of your home or other structure. It requires a lot of patience, knowledge, and skills to make one. Here are some basic steps to follow.

Step 1 - Plan the Project

Determine how wide the slab foundation will be. Its width will depend on the ground area as well as on the design of the structure it will support. The slab foundation should be the same dimensions as that of the planned building. You will need to be precise in these measurements and change them if the home design evolves.

Step 2 - Prepare the Ground

metal stake with red rope

Remove any impediments on the ground. They include sticks, rocks, and pieces of debris. Levy the ground using either a backhoe or a pick and a shovel. Backhoes make the work much easier to complete. You can complete this work yourself or higher out to the get the job done.

Mark the perimeter of the slab foundation. Drive stakes at every corner around the perimeter to suit this purpose. Measure the perimeter to check if it fits the dimensions that you pre-planned. Check and double check for accuracy. Tie a string around one stake and connect it to the other stakes to mark the perimeter in a straight line. Make sure the string is equal distance from the ground all the way around.

Dig footers around the perimeter afterward. Facilitate digging by using a backhoe, but you can also work with a pick and a shovel. The depth of the footer will depend on the estimated weight of the entire structure to be built. The footer will serve as a foundation for the slab foundation, providing support to the building as well.

Step 3 - Pour Cement on the Footer

Mix mortar and sand to create the cement, sticking to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pour the cement into the footers to cover the entire perimeter of the foundation. Allow some time for the cement to dry.

Step 4 - Lay the Foundation

cement foundation

Surround the whole perimeter with 2x4-inch or 2x6-inch wooden boards to lay the foundation. Make sure the wooden boards form the entire lengths and widths. They will hold the concrete that you pour to create the foundation. Nail the wooden boards together at the corners and make sure they can support the concrete.

Before you start pouring the concrete, lay the rebar across the foundation to make the concrete structure a lot stronger. Afterward, fill the entire area with concrete mix. Typically this comes directly from the concrete truck and will be poured from deeper sections to more shallow sections. Using a trowel or a piece of wooden board, level the poured concrete. Allow the concrete to cure completely before construction begins. The curing time will depend on the type of mortar that you use and the weather at the time of the pour.