Thinking about building a Log Cabin?
Log Cabin Foundation
There are at least three types of foundation that may be used with many of the popular cottage plans available today. These are: a concrete slab on grade; a full foundation wall (or basement) around the outside perimeter of the building; and a pier type of foundation. Most plan drawings show pier foundations, because they are usually the cheapest to build and the easiest for the amateur craftsman to construct.
If you have a level piece of property on which to build, you may want to use a concrete slab. It is fairly simple to make. After you have selected the cottage or camp you wish to build, refer to the foundation plan that is shown with it. Get the over-all dimensions firmly in mind.
On your site clear away the brush and lay out the lines of the building with strings and batter boards. The next step is to dig a trench about 12 inches deep and 12 inches wide around the perimeter of the building. If you hit some large rode, leave it. Taper the inside edge of the trench as shown. By cutting the
outside edge of the trench square, you can use it as part of the form for the beam edge of your slab.
While you're trying to get the crimp out of your back, have someone call the local supply yard and have them send you enough gravel or crushed rock to lay a 6-inch bed under the slab. The following table tells you how to figure how much grave! or crushed rock you will need.
At this point, while you are waiting for the delivery of the material, you will want to get all the rough plumbing in place. This means that all the pipes which will be permanently buried in the slab should be put in place, connected, and tested.
When the rock or gravel has been delivered, borrow the neighbors' wheelbarrow and start spreading it. The finished bed, in cross section, will look like the picture at the side. Don't stop now, you've only begun. Get enough 15-pound roofing felt to cover the slab area. Cover the gravel area with this, lapping the edges about 3 inches. You're doing this, I might add, to keep the ground dampness from coming up into your finished slab.
Around the outer edges of your cottage build a form as shown in the picture at the side. I assume that you didn't knock the walls of your trench in; if you did, be sure to clean them out again. You are now ready to lay the reinforcing down. The usual procedure is to use wire mesh weighing 40 pounds per 100 square
If you can't get it, the best substitute that I have seen is heavy turkey wire (welded type). Roll out the mesh. Put some small rocks under it so that when the concrete is poured, the mesh will be in the slab. Along the bottom of the trench use two %-inch reinforcing bars. You're actually building a concrete beam around the perimeter of the building.
You are now ready for the big pour. By this time you will probably be willing to call for transit mix. When you ask for this prepared mix, tell them you want the kind that reaches a minimum compressive strength of 2,000 pounds per square inch in 28 days. If you are going to mix your own concrete, use I part portland cement, 2 parts sand, 4 parts coarse aggregate, and enough water to make it sloppy.
The actual water content should not exceed 7½ gallons per bag of cement. The table will help you to figure how much you will need. The thickness of the concrete slab should be a minimum of 3 inches. After you have the framing up, you will want to add one more inch of smooth concrete for your final finish (I part
cement, 3 parts sand).
You can also add color to this batch if you don't like the natural gray of the concrete. There you are. Except that you should also put some 6-inch stove bolts along the outer edge of the slab, about 8 feet on center, starting roughly I foot from the corner, to fasten your sill. If you are going to use the cottage year-round and are building in the northern states, insulate the outside perimeter with Fiberglas boards.
If you use the slab described, be sure that the soil is porous. Heavy clay or stiff soil will require the building of foundation walls to the frost line to prevent heaving.
About the Author: Jack Hudson is a writer for
http://www.log-cabin-plans-n-kits.com and http://www.best-house-n-home-plans.com. These two sites work collectively as a resouce for the planning and building of log cabins as well as choosing from different house plans. Visit one of these sites for informative articles as well as free TIPS for building a log home or choosing a house plan.
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