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Looking for low cost and novel way to form concrete footers

I am using ICFs to form a foundation stemwall and am pondering different ways to form a 16" x 8" footer that doesn't require a ship load of 2 x 8 or 2 x 10. I can't form it using the trench walls because county code requires 38" w x 12" deep compacted structural fill below the footer for my soil type. My thought is to use ripped plywood with some kind of wire or snap tie and 2x4 strongback with some fill holding the bottom in. If using plywood, what is a good sealer to use for saving and further ripping the plywood to use as furring strips for siding? Any cool cheap ways to form footers?

FoundationXsection.png42.99 KB
Asked by Chuck Jensen
Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 13:01


9 Answers

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Not particularly inexpensive, but definitely effective (and I'm using to form a footer on a garage project) is the foot hold system,

Answered by Matlock Jeffries
Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 19:54

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Use the 2x4's that you are going to frame your interior walls with! Problem solved!

Answered by Scott Gommer
Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 20:04

Helpful? 0

Matlock, I like those, the lightness of them, that's a great idea. They ought to make 8" too. I'll check it out further.
Scott, would you put a sealer on the 2x4's to keep them cleaner since i'd also use them for support on the ICF stack?

Answered by Chuck Jensen
Posted Tue, 04/15/2014 - 23:11

Answered by Peter L
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:06
Edited Wed, 04/16/2014 - 00:07.

Helpful? 0

Q. "If using plywood, what is a good sealer to use for saving and further ripping the plywood to use as furring strips for siding?"

A. The product you are looking for is a "form release agent." Lots of manufacturers sell form release agents; here are a few links to give you an idea of what's available:

Answered by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 07:20

Helpful? 0

Chuck, We reuse the 2"x8" footing forms as headers, blocking and sometimes for floor joists. If you decide to re-use the plywood for furring, strip the forms quickly and clean them well. Concrete is murder on saw blades and hardened concrete on the furring will make your siding wavy.

Answered by Malcolm Taylor
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 11:39

Helpful? 0

Thanks everyone. Since I'm a one man crew on most of this project I look for methods that are light, strong, and modular. It would be cool to see a plastic spacer similar to the foot hold icf system but made for 8" strips (or other widths) of plywood so it could be assembled at the prescribed width, carried, and set as a rigid assembly where they are joined with a stake or block and the rebar tied to the spacer. You could also assemble these with pieces of fabic or poly that could wrap over the top and keep the plywood clean similar to the Fastfoot system. Since 2x4's will be the most used dimensional lumber for the interior walls, exterior siding support (like the Larsen truss), roof truss bracing, and other jobsite duties, I'll probably go with Scott's suggestion to use 2x4 and backfill the bottom to hold in the concrete.

Answered by Chuck Jensen
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 13:15

Helpful? 0

Been asking myself the same question for some time ..

I've used Fastfoot and it is very efficient,
the only problem is that the resulting shape of the footing does not allow for easy insulation
to be installed on the footing afterward, so it is only ok to use if you do not wish to insulate the footing itself. But, if you manage the installation wisely, you can save ~ 20% of concrete while working torward a trapezoidal optimal shape using Fastfoot ,
( which resulted in nearly 7cubic meters of concrete saved on 1 of my projects )

Fabform also have a nice "adjustable" stand for use with ICF and their footing bags
which allows you to single pour ( pump cost savings ) while correctly leveling the ICF forms .

I thank Matlock Jeffries for pointing out "thefootholdicf" .
It is new to me and looks like a nice product, altough a bit expensive and lack of adjustment ?

We really need a product that would "envelope" the footing in an insulation barrier while allowing for ICF leveling and low use of disposable materials.

Some ICF manufacturer offer different thickness of concrete spacing such as Quad-Lock,
and the thicker ones can also be used directly as footings if the size meets code .
( example using a double tie block of ~ 16" concrete as footing under a 8"icf wall setup )

Would still be interesting to see a product that would optimize concrete shape while providing
a substantial insulation quality and material/labor savings.

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 14:58

Helpful? 0

Chuck, Drive by a build site where the footers are going in. In my area we have subcontractors that just do footers with their forms at a price you would love to pay.

But if you just want to buy wood and reuse it do so, the concrete is tough on blades after but that's about it and many contractors who are not specialized concrete sloppers do so.

I prefer to sub it... but am actually using some left over forming to do a small footer soon. 2x12, 1x12 rough sawn, 3/4" plywood... all good... Get err done... my man. Spring is here.

Answered by aj builder, Upstate NY Zone 6a
Posted Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:15
Edited Wed, 04/16/2014 - 16:16.

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