How to Pour Concrete for Footings

What You'll Need
Self-leveling concrete
Gravel base
Wood scraps

Concrete footings and stemwalls are the two important components of any concrete foundation. It is extremely important to know how to pour the concrete for building the footing, because if the footing is not placed correctly, it can cause the entire structure to be imbalanced or downright lopsided. Usually, concrete footing itself has two main aspects: the concrete and the steel rebar. Rebar is important in order to resist the pressure of the structure and to resist the movement of the soil beneath.

To pour the concrete correctly into the footing, it is important to prepare the bed of the foundation and mix the concrete well. Both of these things determine how well you will be able to pour your concrete and level your foundation. A self-leveling concrete mixture, though expensive, is an excellent investment when it comes to building foundations. Here’s how you can pour concrete for footings.

Step 1–Prepare the Footing

To prepare the bed on which the footing will rest, dig the entire area such that it is at least 8 inches deep. The depth of the area that you dig usually depends on the height of the structure you want to erect. The length and breadth will depend on the size of the structure you are planning to build.

Step 2–Lay the Base

To lay the base on the trench, start laying the strings and the batterboards. Pull the string taut and cover it with a little sand. When you pull the string up, it will leave a mark behind that will act as the guide for the trenches. Now using a tamper and the trowel, level the base of the footing and lay a gravel base.

Step 3–Lay Steel Reinforcement

To lay the steel rebar, first lay a line of bricks on which you can support the steel reinforcements. The rebar should be placed at a height that is in the middle of the total height of the dug up base. Once the steel reinforcements are placed, you can use a mixer to grind the concrete and prepare to pour the concrete.

Step 4–Pour the Footing

Pour the footing from one end of the base to the other and use a shovel to tamp it evenly. Once the entire trench has been filled with concrete, use a piece of wood scrap to splay it evenly across the entire surface. If there are any uneven spots on the surface, use a trowel to level it and allow it to stand firmly. If there are any high spots or gaps, you can cover them up completely.

Step 5–Curing

Allow the footing to dry for around 3 to 4 days. To allow the footing to cure completely, cover it with a plastic sheet. For at least 4 days, do not apply any pressure or force on the footing. At the end of the fourth day, use a steel spike to insert into a corner and see if the concrete has settled and dried.