Log Cabin Foundations

How to Choose the Foundation for Your Log Cabin

Full foundation sounds easier to build than a slab. The only catch is that you'll probably have to do a lot more digging. This is especially true if you live in the northern part of our country. A little north of New York City we usually extend our foundations down 4 feet. You'll want to find out how far down the wall and footings should go; the local building inspector or mason can tell you.

With this information in mind, lay out the outlines of the building as described above and start digging. The walls that form your foundation will probably be built of 8-inch concrete block. This wall should rest on a footing. The illustration at the side shows one way such a footing can be made.

Like the beam described above, the dirt may be cut square and be used as the form. The footing should be at least 6 inches thick and project 2 or not more than 3 inches beyond the thickness of the wall. This concrete footing is made of I part portland cement, 3 parts sand, 5 parts coarse aggregate, or a transit mix that will have a minimum compressive strength of 1,500 pounds per square inch in 28 days.

If you are making the walls of block, the mortar you should use is composed of I part portland cement, 3 parts sand by volume, and lime not exceeding 25 per cent of the cement by volume. Stagger the blocks so that the joints of the second row of blocks fall over the mid-sections of the blocks below. Use closed-end blocks for corners.

Moistening the blocks before laying them will help hold the mortar. Pour concrete into the top row of blocks and insert 6-inch bolts, 8 feet on center, for the sill.

Piers are the type of construction you will probably use. It is the quickest way to get your summer home under way. Most cottage
plans have a pier plan which you should follow. There are several rules to remember about piers. They can be built of block (8 by 8 by 16 inches) or of solid concrete. Piers require foundation footings just as walls do.

Take Advice on Log Cabin Foundations 

Take the advice of the local building inspector on the depth they should extend below grade. You'll want to have the footing below the local frost line. The illustration at the side shows the usual arrangement for the footings. Poured concrete piers should be 10 by 10 inches if square or 12 inches in diameter if round.

I have seen a posthole digger used to make the hole for a round pier. It worked. The only trouble is that the center of the pier is the used part and some portion of the pier will project beyond the building line. The proper mix is the same as for footings mentioned above. The maximum height above grade that you should build a pier is four times its least dimension.

If the pier on the low side of your camp is 6 feet, the pier size should be increased to 18 inches square. The forms for solid concrete piers may be made from any old lumber. The illustrations at the side should show you how.

Take your choice of these three ways to build your foundation. Some may ask why I haven't mentioned wood post construction. I'm not convinced that they are worth using except above grade. If
you must use wood, be sure that you get pressure-treated posts. Dipped or painted ends are little protection.

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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