How to Pour Concrete Slab Footers


Concrete footings are designed to provide a submerged support to attach vertical support beams for decks, stairs or other structures or to provide a stable foundation for pouring a concrete wall or slab. The footer typically reaches down below the frost line for areas where the ground freezes during the winter, such as the Northeast. In warmer climates, footers are used as simple support structures. Building a concrete footer is not difficult and only requires basic tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Post-hole digger
  • Cement
  • Cement tubing
  • Hacksaw
  • Level
  • Trowel
  • Rebar
  • Rubber mallet
  • Dig a hole twice the width needed for the footing using a manual or gas powered post hole digger. Gas-powered post hole diggers are available for rent from most hardware stores. Dig to a depth that is several inches below the frost line. Consult local contractors or your city planner to determine the proper depth.

  • Mix and pour cement into the base of the hole so that the cement fills the bottom 3 to 6 inches.

  • Cut the cement tubing, which is a hard, cardboard tube cement form, to the height desired for the footing with a hacksaw. Most cement footers are flush with the surface of the ground but can extend above the ground level. Tubing is available in a variety of diameters. Choose a tube whose diameter is twice the width of the material that will be mounted on top of the footing.

  • Press the tubing into the wet cement poured during Step 2. Twist the tubing to get it submerged slightly in the concrete. Hold a level against the inside edge of the tube to verify that the tube is level vertically. Back fill the hole around the tube with dirt.

  • Pour cement into the tube until the tube is half-full. Press vertical beams of rebar into the cement until the tips are lower than the top of the tube for additional support. Fill the remainder of the tube with cement. Smooth the surface over with a trowel.

Tips & Warnings

  • The cardboard tubing is biodegradable and can be left in place. If you want an exposed, round platform, cut the visible tubing off with a utility knife after the cement footing has cured for approximately a week. Press any anchor bolts or hardware into the surface of the footing while the cement is wet to avoid having to drill holes into it at a later time.

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