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Concrete footings 101
Bearing capacity of soil
Understanding soil type and bearing capacities
Footing size
How to determine the minimum size for soil conditions
Footing problems
Pouring in wet soil and more
Frost heave & foundation footings
Frost protected shallow footings
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Concrete calculator for footing pours:
Figure out how many cubic yards you'll need
Foundation drains for concrete footings

Houses and other structures may be built on shallow, slab-on-grade foundations in cold-climates when properly insulated to protect against frost heave.

The demonstration homes (see below) performed well and provided substantiating evidence for the frost-protected shallow foundation techniques design recommendations.

Frost-protected shallow foundation construction provides a cost-effective alternative to conventional foundation construction in the United States. Cost Savings to the homebuyer range from approximately 1 to 4 percent of the cost of a conventional slab-on-grade home and are even greater when compared to basement construction.

Experience has shown that the frost-protected shallow foundation technology may be used to increase the energy efficiency of new houses at a minimal or reduced construction cost.

The Demonstration Homes

To verify the technology in the United States, five test homes were constructed in Vermont, Iowa, North Dakota, and Alaska. The homes were instrumented with automated data acquisition systems to monitor ground, foundation, slab, indoor, and outdoor temperatures at various locations around the foundations. The performance observed was in agreement with the European experience in that the insulated footings prevented the foundation soil from freezing and heaving even under rigorous climatic and soil conditions (ref. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, "Frost Protected Shallow Foundations for Residential Construction", Washington, DC, 1993). A PDF version can be obtained at

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