How to Plan a House Foundation

Part of the first steps of any house design plan is to plan out the foundation.

Plan a House FoundationPlan a House Foundation
This will show the steps to measuring and planning the foundation framework.
house foundation design

We will want to write the house design plans down on a piece of grid paper to keep everything to scale. I like to use each tiny square as a one foot measurement. This will be the foundation plan.

Once we're on the construction site we can mark off the measurement of the foundation. We'll start with the outside measurement of the foundation. Wooden stakes and heavy string can be used for marking the foundation area.

Many contractors will use a transit to help keep things level, but for simplicity sake we will just stick with simple tools.

We'll mark the distance with wooden stakes and string. Let's say it's 26 feet long by 20 feet wide. We can hammer in the stakes at each corner and run the kite string all the way around.

square foundation

The most important thing of all is to make sure the foundation is in square. This means that the corners are exact 90 degree angles. If the house is out of square, the framing and many other things won't fit right.

A simple way to make sure the foundation measurement is in square is by using diaganol measurements. From corner to opposite corner, the measurement needs to be the same to the exact fraction of an inch.

making corners square

Another way to make sure the foundation is square is by using 90 degree angles at each corner.

Once the measurement is perfectly square we can drive in the stakes and that will be our outside foundation measurement.

Before we start excavation, we will need to know how far down to put our footer into the ground. It needs to be below the local frost level.

The foundation will consist of two parts, the footer and the foundation wall. The footer is usually about two feet wide by one foot thick. It will hold the entire weight of the house.

That's what we need to know for planning and measuring the house foundation.

Things You Will Need

  • pencil and grid paper
  • string
  • wooden stakes
  • long tape measure

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