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Busted ribbon footing


randynavarro
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Found this today in a crawl space. I've never seen anything like it.

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My theory: they poured it in the wrong spot. Then used a backhoe or some machine to drag it over to the right spot which caused the busting and cracking.

Any other ideas?

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OK, OK, elitist northeast snobs,

It's a grade beam and no, we don't have a frost line in the western corridor. Well, maybe just a bit - a few inches or so on the coldest day of the year - if it's not raining. However, in that crawl temps will rarely get less than 50°F.

It's nothing more than an elongated pad footer and it's on undisturbed soil where they excavated for the foundation. Some folks sink 'em, others don't. A whole lot of 'em use these large round cardboard box forms, about a foot deep by 3ft. in diameter, place them directly on the soil, fill them with concrete and criscross a few pieces of rebar in them before the concrete sets up. Depending on drainage around and under the house, pier pads will either settle or not; one of these beams rarely settles 'cuz it distributes the weight over such a long wide footprint.

The crack, though it's unusual, wouldn't concern me in the least. It's got rebar inside of it; I'd bet a case of whatever you drink on it, and the wood is not in direct contact - if you look closely you'll see that they've placed squares of asphalt under the ends of those posts.

I'd like to know how you've managed to analyze the strength of the concrete via a photograph. That's a pretty good skill; if I could learn that, maybe I could learn to predict sports outcomes, bet on them and become an overnight millionaire.

That looks like a plank-on-frame floor platform - something else that would probably freak you guys out a little. You guys'd probably really freak out if you were to see them forming up foundations around here with hand-built ordinary oiled plywood and 2 by 4 forms. I know my Dad did when he was out here to visit a few years ago. Being the owner of a big expensive truck full of forms, he couldn't imagine that folks were still doing it that way.

Randy, Richard, Brad, we need to really freak these folks out. Do any of you have any pictures of post WWII plank-on-frame floor platforms with the little verticle 2 by 4 mudsills let into the top of the foundation wall to show the Easterners?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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If you look closely, you can see the stamping. Oh, by the way, the trough across the top of the beam is so that if the crawl fills with water the water will flow over the beam and into the next bay without getting on top of the beam and causing the end of the post to get wet and rot. It works great when the total amount of infiltration is only a few inches but it's useless if the crawl fills to a depth higher than that beam.

The vapor barrier placement is crap.

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Originally posted by hausdok

Randy, Richard, Brad, we need to really freak these folks out. Do any of you have any pictures of post WWII plank-on-frame floor platforms with the little verticle 2 by 4 mudsills let into the top of the foundation wall to show the Easterners?

Not quite, but almost. Here's a picture of how we still frame floors here. The girders in the picture will be covered with 2x6 T&G car decking.

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- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Hi Jim,

You'll note that I said "Easterners." We left coasties see them all the time but sometimes the right coasties think we've been doing happy smoke when we describe these things to them.

The one in your photo, and the ones that I see in new construction have a pressure-treated sill. However, there's a bunch of post WWII ones around here where the "sill" is nothing more than a 2 by 4 with really long spikes driven through it that was tacked to the top inside of the forms with the long face flat to the form and the top edge flush with the finished top edge of the stemwall.

Once the mud was placed and the forms stripped, the 2 by 4 remained in place with those big steel spikes held by the concrete. Then they laid the T & G ferry decking and nailed it at the perimeter to the "sill". No bolts. I find these sills and often the ends of the planking where they'd lain on the concrete eaten away all the time.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

You'll note that I said "Easterners." We left coasties see them all the time but sometimes the right coasties think we've been doing happy smoke when we describe these things to them.

Yes. I was attempting to fulfill your request for pics of the wild west method. That was the closest that I had.

I'd have to really search for pics of the embedded 2x4 version and, if I found any, they'd be from the perspective of the inside of the crawlspace and hard to see.

Some years ago a brand-spanking-new inspector on his first inspection ran into one of these floor-framing systems and wrote it up as completely fubar. He'd never seen anything like it before, being from another state that shall remain unnamed.

That evening, he called me to brag about the major structural deficiency that he'd discovered and boasted about how he'd saved his clients' bacon by frightening them away from the house. I explained his error but he remained unmoved and told me that this construction method was simply unacceptable to him and that he'd continue to flag it every time he saw it. He stayed in business almost 9 months. I shudder to imagine the damage that he did to our profession.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Huh,

I'm going to assume it was before the days of the Internet 'cuz today you could send him to the free Publication Downloads Page at the American Wood Council site where, among many others, he could download the following pubs for free. Note WCD 4:

WCD 1 - Details for Conventional Wood Frame Construction (54 pages) June 2001

WCD 2 - Tongue and Groove Roof Decking (12 Pages) Feb 2004

WCD 4 - Plank-and-Beam Framing for Residential Buildings (40 pages) April 2003

WCD 5 - Heavy Timber Construction (17 pages) Feb 2004

WCD 6 - Design of Wood Frame Structures for Permanence (23 pages) Feb 2006

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi Kurt,

Yeah, around here anyway. Often see them with a thick layer of bituthene or asphalt shingle beneath the ends - sometimes even steel plates. End are usually not directly against the concrete although some of the older ones are. Those usually have ends that are rotting.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Here's some more pics.

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It's unusual to me as the other beam/footer in the crawl space was undisturbed with no cracking.

It looks as though some of the breaks/cracks are intentional while others appear to be a result of simple movement.

Oh yeah. And everything Mike's already said.

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by hausdok

Hi Jim,

You'll note that I said "Easterners." We left coasties see them all the time but sometimes the right coasties think we've been doing happy smoke when we describe these things to them.

Yes. I was attempting to fulfill your request for pics of the wild west method. That was the closest that I had.

I'd have to really search for pics of the embedded 2x4 version and, if I found any, they'd be from the perspective of the inside of the crawlspace and hard to see.

Some years ago a brand-spanking-new inspector on his first inspection ran into one of these floor-framing systems and wrote it up as completely fubar. He'd never seen anything like it before, being from another state that shall remain unnamed.

That evening, he called me to brag about the major structural deficiency that he'd discovered and boasted about how he'd saved his clients' bacon by frightening them away from the house. I explained his error but he remained unmoved and told me that this construction method was simply unacceptable to him and that he'd continue to flag it every time he saw it. He stayed in business almost 9 months. I shudder to imagine the damage that he did to our profession.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

The most common place I have seen 2X6 T&G is in log homes, where the bottom is exposed as a ceiling below, with exposed beams. It is usually SYP.

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