I really, really enjoy interactive clients. The ones who pay attention to what is going on (chances are, if you are reading this, you are one too). They help keep me on my toes, as well.
I’ve been enjoying interacting with John. Over the weekend he came up with this for me:
“I looked at each of the suppliers of pole frame kits and was not impressed with the cookie base with treated pole foundation. I only found one that included a preformed concrete pillar with a top flange. I like this system. A little more labor and a wee bit more concrete but it seems to make for a better quality foundation. Whaddya think?”
My gentle readers who are long time followers know my feelings about concrete cookies. Here is an article I wrote about them:
I’ve never used the product John found, so this is a good time to check it out.
Before digging into the SquareFoot™ concrete footing forms, an examination of the standard pole building footing would be in order.
One of the beauties of pole barn construction is it is fairly low tech in the field. Holes are augured into the ground (most typically using a skid steer), usually to a depth of either 40 inches, or greater if needed to get the bottom of the footing below the frost line.
Unless an attempt is going to be made at dropping a pre-formed chunk of concrete into the hole (aka cookie) to support the columns, the hole itself becomes the form for any poured concrete. Columns can be placed, suspended above the bottom of the holes, and premix concrete monolithically poured to flow beneath the base of the column (as a footing) and up the sides of the column (as a bottom collar).
The premise behind the SquareFoot™ concrete footing forms is to eliminate the need for wooden footing forms. They are a unique, patented square footing form which provides a one-step process for excavation, backfill and pouring concrete.
As a simplified description – a hole is dug with a backhoe or mini-excavator, and the SquareFoot™ is placed in the hole with a construction tube inserted (aka Sonotube®). For pole building construction, a pressure preservative treated column would be inserted into the tube and suspended in the assembly, then premix concrete would be poured in.
Having built plenty of footing forms, in my younger days, I can see the advantages of the SquareFoot™ for typical residential and commercial stick frame construction. For pole buildings, I just am not feeling the love (and the soundfootings.com website does not show post frame as an application).
Why add the expense of a plastic footing form and a construction tube, plus the time and effort needed to place, when the nicely augured hole, does everything needed?
Add to that – my largest concern structurally comes with filling in around these forms with dirt. If they are not compacted to the density of pre-excavated soil, there is a propensity for lateral motion of the columns. So there is more work again – having to refill dirt around the concreted columns and having to tamp…tamp….tamp! With a monolithic concrete pour into a cleaned out augured hole, once the concrete is poured, you are done!