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Disadvantage to footers? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Disadvantage to footers?

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  • Disadvantage to footers?

    I'm planning out my oven, and looking at the plans I was wondering if there was any argument against digging to frost depth (here, 24") and pouring reinforced footers and blocking up? My thinking is that the footers could be just in the shape of the walls (with the required pour beyond the block faces) as opposed to a full slab.

    Once I'm out of grade, I'll backfill with clean 3/4" stone, put expansion material against the block, and pour my patio. This is how I've built outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, so I'm having a hard time seeing why I shouldn't do it here. I have a laser transit and experience doing masonry, so I can get the footer level. That doesn't worry me.

  • #2
    Re: Disadvantage to footers?

    No disadvantage whatsoever....

    Here the frost line is 32" but I opted for a 8" pad over gravel and vapor barrier.

    You'll be fine with what you plan.


    • #3
      Re: Disadvantage to footers?

      Thanks! I was reading through the other threads about footers and there seemed to be such a sentiment against a frost footer that I was worried I was missing something.


      • #4
        Re: Disadvantage to footers?

        A lot of people use the space under the oven for wood storage, so its helpful if it is dry. Pouring a slab on grade is a twofer: you get a floor plus structural support. Also, it can be a lot harder to dig down 4', unless you have access to a backhoe.


        • #5
          Re: Disadvantage to footers?

          The nice thing about living in Virginia vs Canada is that our local frost depth (per code) is 18", but I do specify 24" on all my projects (I'm a landscape designer). I'm also having a patio poured so I'll probably have him carry the pour inside the wood box to create a floor, again with expansion material so it moves independently from the oven.


          • #6
            Re: Disadvantage to footers?

            Yes, but for a structural slab, you have no reason to go below the frost line if the topsoil is removed and the substrate is well compacted.


            • #7
              Re: Disadvantage to footers?

              Agreed. At the same time, it's twenty bucks worth of block difference and peace of mind is priceless - I'm a huge worrier. Thanks for all the help and I'll be sure to post pics of the project!


              • #8
                Re: Disadvantage to footers?

                What you have to watch for is differential settlement. If the ground underneath is consistent you will be OK. If it is unknown, for example part uncompacted fill from the original house construction, you may be better off with a slab on grade.

                A well reinforced slab on grade will perform quite well in dealing with frost heaving.
                Last edited by Neil2; 06-02-2012, 03:37 PM.


                • #9
                  Re: Disadvantage to footers?

                  The house was constructed in 1906, and based on the photos from 1918 I don't think the grade has been modified in this area at all in the last hundred years. I even have a decent idea of what the soils look like as I dig down, since we discovered after moving in that the terracotta sewer pipe needed completely replaced, from the vent to the street connection. Rather than pay a plumber $100/hr to dig a hole, I did it. It was educational AND character building, I highly recommend it to everyone.

                  Good call on the settlement though. One more reason I'm glad we don't have a brand spankin' new home!


                  • #10
                    Re: Disadvantage to footers?

                    When I was a kid, my best friends lived in a huge new house. My father, who had built his own house (as have I and my brothers) used to remark that their house was 'built on fill'.

                    One day, their house pretty much split in half (one side dropped about 4") while I was in it.