How to Pour Concrete Footers

Lead Image for How to Pour Concrete Footers
  • 6-10 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-2,000
What You'll Need
Concrete mix
Measuring tape

A concrete footer is a kind of foundation for structures like outdoor decks, swing sets, and even wooden playgrounds. Pouring concrete footers is one of the first steps to building a strong and sturdy structure because the footer goes into the ground, giving a weighted base which helps keep your project from falling or sinking.

Step 1 – Dig Deep!

The first thing you should do to pour your concrete footer is to dig below the frost line, which will vary by region. Dig deep and make sure the hole is even. It may be possible that you have to either dig a little deeper or fill the hole with a little bit of sand to recover any uneven ground you may have dug.

Step 2 – Measure

The reason measuring is second is because you now have to take error into consideration, which is generally uncontrollable when it comes to concrete. It’s a suspension of liquid and solids but flows like a liquid, and so you will have an absorption rate of up to 15% if you’re not careful. Find the volume of the hole, and then multiply it by 1.15 in order to find out how much extra concrete you will need.

Step 3 – Pour Concrete

Mix and pour your concrete evenly into the hole. Make sure it’s even and there are no inconsistencies in the concrete mixture. You can do this by poking at it with your shovel or spreading it out with a trowel.

You’re almost there—you just have to use the footer now.

Step 4 – Insert Pole

For a wood deck or a swing set, a concrete footer will only require that you insert the pole or board while the concrete is still wet. After you have the concrete neat and even in the hole, push your pole or board down into the concrete.

If you need more concrete footers for your project, repeat this process until you have enough for your structure.
You’re all finished! You can wash up and go find something else to do while the concrete dries and your structure gets ready to be finished.