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Footer and Foundation Building

DIY's Home IQ series follows the Oberg family during the decision-making process of building this beautiful new home. Follow the family as the footprint of their custom-built home rises from the ground and becomes the foundation.

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footer and foundation building

So far the Oberg lot has been excavated and the cement has been poured for the footer, which the platform that the foundation of the house sits on. It's how the home's entire weight is distributed into the ground. The footer has to sit on hard compact soil called "virgin ground," and since the house is being built on a sloping lot the footer steps down toward the back of the lot. The masons' first task will be to bring the footer up to the same level. There will be nearly 3,000 blocks and 14 courses (levels) used for this process, and they will be laid by a three-man mason team.

Note: The three masons worked in increments of seven courses — or layers — of blocks each day because the drying mortar can only support this many layers at a time. This definitely can slow down the foundation process. The team works from the corners inward since the corners offer lateral support for the entire wall as the mortar dries.

As each block is laid, it's checked to make sure it's level from all angles. Even if one block is out of place, an entire wall will be crooked later.

Then the masons strike each joint between the blocks with a striking tool to compact and smooth out the mortar. Finally, a bristle brush is used to wipe away any excess mortar to leave a nicely finished wall.