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Thread: Pier Footings

  1. #1
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    Default Pier Footings

    I'm adding some piers and a beam to a crawl space.
    Is it acceptable to use "QuckCrete" bag concrete in the footing?

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    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Thanks Raymond
    I should have given more detail.
    The Building Inspector said that bag concrete was not acceptable to use.
    I did not find anything for or against in the IRC.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    The Building Inspector said that bag concrete was not acceptable to use.
    I did not find anything for or against in the IRC.
    There is nothing against it, all you need to do is use concrete with the proper strength rating.

    The problem the inspector is likely having with bag concrete is that *most people mix in too much water* and the concrete strength ends up much lower than is required.

    You could probably convince the inspector to allow you to use bag concrete if you had some test cylinders made from your mixes by a CMT lab and then they broke the test cylinders with a result exceeding the minimum required ... but if the test cylinders broken too low, you would then have wasted the testing money AND have to dig every thing out and re-do it all with ready-mix.

    I find it strange the inspector is dis-allowing bag mix, but I also find it understandable that he is, probably based on the same knowledge that I and most other have - people mix in too much water and the concrete strength is limited, making the concrete worthless.

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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I'm adding some piers and a beam to a crawl space.
    I'd be careful of where the beam is to be added.

    Last weekend we looked at some houses with one of our daughters in South Florida, older section of Hollywood, at a house built in the 1940s which had bowed and sloping floors, but not the normal bowed and sloping floors.

    Instead of sagging down in the middle of the living room between the two load bearing walls, the floor was bowing upward.

    My guess (because I could not find a crawlspace entrance to look into) was that either at the time of construction or sometime later a beam was added under the center of the floor joist span at the living room. Thus you had an exterior load bearing wall, going to the right you had a bedroom, an interior load bearing wall, living room, another interior load bearing wall, another bedroom, and the other exterior load bearing wall. The two interior load bearing walls settled, causing the two bedroom floors to slope downward from the exterior load bearing walls to the interior load bearing walls.

    As there was no load on the center beam under the center of the living room (which I am presuming the beam is there) that did not settle, leaving the living room floor bowed upward near its center.

    The house was a stucco on frame house with the stucco going all the way down into the ground. The house and yard had the look of a Coconut Grove house in Miami, lots and lots of "charm".

    I told my daughter that houses with "charm" cost A LOT to maintain as you do not know what all that "charm" is hiding, not until you have been in there and had time to find out. I also explain what I thought about the floor and that it was most likely not going to move structurally, only get worse gradually over the next 60 years as the two interior load bearing walls continue to settle and the beam under the living room floor does not.

    She and her boyfriend decided that "charm" was not important to them.

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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    "The problem the inspector is likely having with bag concrete is that *most people mix in too much water* and the concrete strength ends up much lower than is required."

    Thats what I was thinking also. But just because it could be done wrong, should not mean that it is not allowed, else everything would be banned.

    "Instead of sagging down in the middle of the living room between the two load bearing walls, the floor was bowing upward."

    13'6" span with 2x8, Slope is down.

    Oh, Thanks for the answer

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    "The problem the inspector is likely having with bag concrete is that *most people mix in too much water* and the concrete strength ends up much lower than is required."

    Thats what I was thinking also. But just because it could be done wrong, should not mean that it is not allowed, else everything would be banned.

    "Instead of sagging down in the middle of the living room between the two load bearing walls, the floor was bowing upward."

    13'6" span with 2x8, Slope is down.

    Oh, Thanks for the answer
    RC: As suggested, provide him with a couple of test cylinders he can go smash when he's had a bad day. A slump test might also help to cheer him up.

    JP is right that most people don't mix the concrete right, don't use the proper size of rebar or enough of it, do not tie it where it should be tied, etc. Additionally, they undersize the piers, both in diameter and depth. Why not get a hot shot of ready mix delivered?


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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Better still have the inspector mix the concrete!


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Thats what I was thinking also. But just because it could be done wrong, should not mean that it is not allowed, else everything would be banned.
    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    RC: As suggested, provide him with a couple of test cylinders he can go smash when he's had a bad day.
    I am sure he would not mind the tests, which, of course, would need to be carried out by a certified CMT lab.

    Oh, and ...

    - R104.11.1 Tests. Whenever there is insufficient evidence of compliance with the provisions of this code, or evidence that a material or method does not conform to the requirements of this code, or in order to substantiate claims for alternative materials or methods, the building official shall have the authority to require tests as evidence of compliance to be made at no expense to the jurisdiction. Test methods shall be as specified in this code or by other recognized test standards. In the absence of recognized and accepted test methods, the building official shall approve the testing procedures. Tests shall be performed by an approved agency. Reports of such tests shall be retained by the building official for the period required for retention of public records.

    As I said ... no problemo ... just contract with a CMT lab to test the concrete you mix.

    Of course, though, that might cost more than ready mix, or site mixed ready mixed.

    If you are using very many bags, the cost of ready mix will actually be cheaper than the cost of all the bags, not counting in your labor to mix and a proper mixer to mix with ... er ... ... you *were* going to use a proper mixer, right?


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    For a couple of pier blocks, a "proper mixer" is a hoe and a wheelbarrow, right?

    This post helps explain why so many people end up bypassing the permit process when there's just a simple upgrade to do to their home.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    This post helps explain why so many people end up bypassing the permit process when there's just a simple upgrade to do to their home.
    And they end up installing cedar shim shingles as footings.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Oh yeah, how is the inspector going to determine the quality of the finished concrete? Is he going to crawl in there with a sledgehammer to see if it was watery bag mix?

    Would he prefer a cinder block planted on its side?


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    OK, to be fair to the inspector, footings and foundations do require a richer mix than general purpose patio paver posthole mix.
    It's just that when Rick offers to do the right thing and drag umpteen sleds full of concrete into his crawlspace, the official response ought to be "Go for it!", don't ya think?

    fair: 1.a four letter word that starts with f. 2. not good, a few degrees better than poor, 3. an annual gathering of farmers, livestock and produce, such as 'bumpkins with pumpkins'.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    OK, to be fair to the inspector, footings and foundations do require a richer mix than general purpose patio paver posthole mix.
    It's just that when Rick offers to do the right thing and drag umpteen sleds full of concrete into his crawlspace, the official response ought to be "Go for it!", don't ya think?

    fair: 1.a four letter word that starts with f. 2. not good, a few degrees better than poor, 3. an annual gathering of farmers, livestock and produce, such as 'bumpkins with pumpkins'.
    JK: Nope. By now you should have gathered that I hate to side with any AHJ, but in this particular case the guy is doing RC a favor. Most communities of any size have ready mix plants with small batch abilities. JP is correct in stating that the real thing will likely be less expensive in the long run - RC's labor not considered. Then all one need do is hand over the invoice from the batchmaster to the AHJ and all will be well.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by A.D. Miller View Post
    JK: Nope. By now you should have gathered that I hate to side with any AHJ, but in this particular case the guy is doing RC a favor. Most communities of any size have ready mix plants with small batch abilities. JP is correct in stating that the real thing will likely be less expensive in the long run - RC's labor not considered. Then all one need do is hand over the invoice from the batchmaster to the AHJ and all will be well.
    Sounds easy from here, but ...he still has to drag the concrete under the house, and now he's got the whole batch to do pronto because the truck is sitting in his driveway and the clock is ticking???


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Sounds easy from here, but ...he still has to drag the concrete under the house, and now he's got the whole batch to do pronto because the truck is sitting in his driveway and the clock is ticking???
    JK: This is the perfect example of why some things should not be done in the DIY mode.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    The other alternative is to buy a bag of portland cement,a few bags or buckets of sand and washed gravel and mix it yourself.I don't know about anywhere else but around here you would be lucky to have one yard delivered.Usual min concrete delivery is 3 cubic yards.A footing for a brick pier will probably use 4 cubic ft. What is the problem with premix?What does that inspector allow for deck footings?With the premix you can add fiberglass reinforcement and other additives.Maybe the inspector has extra expenses this month.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Garrity View Post
    What is the problem with premix?

    That one part of the mix lacking in the pre-mixed bag ... H2O ... and "how much" is added.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    unless your house is a castle made of stone, Quikrete 5000 psi is more than what you need for a house.....use the amount of water as per manufacturer recomendations and you will be ok...like many other people said, most people mix too much water...either because they don't know or because they are lazy and don't want to do the work


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I'm adding some piers and a beam to a crawl space.
    Is it acceptable to use "QuckCrete" bag concrete in the footing?

    Contact your local Redi-Mix Plant and ask if you can by a gallon of Plasticizer such as Rheobuild - it turns the mix into slurry for a short period then sets up fairly fast "WITHOUT" reducing the strength of the mix. Otherwise, figure on $100 per yard and a buck a minute truck time - time from and back to plant - yikes !!!


  21. #21
    Hugh Howard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    This is more a reponse to everyone else's responses... THANKS! I am planning a very similar project and you have brought many good points to mind!
    Thanks!


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Pier Footings

    Reading through old threads I found this
    I never did a follow up

    So here it is

    Inspector did allow me to use bags
    Every thing went as planned just like Krylon, no runs, drips, or errors.

    The reason I wanted to use bags instead of ready mix is because I was only able to fill 2 or 3 of 10 footings at at time.
    $100 minimum charge for each load of 3 or 4 wheel barrows of ready mix was going to get expensive.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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