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  #1   IP: 168.111.13.42
Old April 19th, 2006, 08:03 PM
KyHomeowner KyHomeowner is offline
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Default Frost line depth / garage footer

I am gearing up to build a detached garage for my home. I probably won't be heating it from the get-go, but would like to have the option later on. Also, there will be a loft above the garage. I understand that I'll need to have the footer below the frost line. (Is that correct?)

My question is, how deep is the frost line? I live in Lexington, KY. I've searched for online references, without success.

Thanks in advance for any answers you can share.
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  #2   IP: 192.5.27.135
Old April 20th, 2006, 04:20 AM
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Here's a US map of frost depths:

http://www.slcc.edu/tech/techsp/arch...otos/frost.jpg
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  #3   IP: 12.222.255.14
Old April 20th, 2006, 07:11 AM
KyHomeowner KyHomeowner is offline
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Thanks, CR500!
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  #4   IP: 69.168.250.6
Old April 22nd, 2006, 05:34 AM
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Default Maps are Meaningless

Maps on the scale provided are meaningless.

Frost depths can vary extremely within a single square mile depending on elevation and exposure.

The only means by which you can properly assess the frost depth for your building site is to contact your local building code enforcement office.

They will tell you what depth footers need to be for your location.
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  #5   IP: 24.160.180.204
Old April 22nd, 2006, 07:08 AM
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The architect or drafts person will allow for frost line depths when drawing your plans. Either that or if you buy on line plans the local building department will note the depths for you on these plans when they approve them.
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Last edited by pushkins : August 11th, 2011 at 01:35 AM.
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  #6   IP: 12.222.255.14
Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:27 PM
KyHomeowner KyHomeowner is offline
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Thanks to both of you.

I visited the building inspector's dept., and found them very helpful, patient, and informative.

I learned that in Fayette County, KY the bottom of the footers need to be 24" deep. That's for a garage...I'm not sure about other structures. It will be a 12" wide poured footer, 6" deep with 2 rebars. On that, I'll probably lay block to get just above the surface, or possibly pour into forms. I'll have a 4" pad with steel mesh, poured over a 6" gravel bed.

BTW, I've since ordered these two books:
  • Code Check Building: A Field Guide to the Building Codes (ISBN: 1561585955 )
  • Code Check: A Field Guide to Building, Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical Codes ( ISBN: 1561586250 )

They seem to get good reviews, and I hope will be a good compromise of detail and summary for a DIY'er like me. I was tempted to buy the complete code (believe it or not, I actually like reading technical documents), but Kentucky is changing to a newer version (2006?) in a few months, and I figured it would be a bit overwhelming for me, anyway. Not to mention it was about $100. The Code Check books are $11 each from Amazon. I'll still run everything fuzzy past the inspectors, but this will be a good reference at 10 pm when playing with plans.

A bit late to ask, as I've already ordered them, but I'm curious what others think of these books, or if they have other recommendations.


More questions...

I got a quote for the concrete work, and found it much higher than I expected. This is the only part of the job I find intimidating, as I've never done it and I've never operated heavy machinery. But I've had several people say I can handle this. So I'm going to look at some rental rates on the smallest of backhoes (my yard is small) and consider doing it all myself.

What do you think? If you guys tell me this is a job to leave to the pros, I'm an easy sell.

If you think it's not that bad, I'll be happy to hear it. BTW, I can build a square building, have no problem creating and reading plans, am good with machinery, etc. I'm not sure why I find this phase so intimidating, but I do.

And if this could be a DIY project, any particular tips you have to share, I'd be grateful to learn from. I'll get a book or two on the topic. If you have a book or website to recommend, please do.


Regarding plans, I will be ordering stock plans, and will not be making any substantial changes. I ordered one set, but have found them not quite what I'm looking for. I want to build a 16'x24' (or maybe 16'x28') gambrel garage with a standing-height loft for storage. I am considering this one: http://www.coolhouseplans.com/detail...?pid=chp-17593 or plan B202P (page 5) here: http://www.sheldondesigns.com/FullSum2000.pdf . If those end up too tall, I may consider something like this: http://www.backroadhomes.com/noff/tcconcord.html . I'd welcome other recommendations as well.


I'm tight for height...code says it has to be shorter than my house, which leaves about 19' for the garage. I'll certainly have the inspector review the plans when I pull a permit. If I'm going to have any problems permit-wise, I want to know about them BEFORE I build, not after!


Sorry to have ramlbed on so long...guess I got on a roll.

Thanks again
Dan

Last edited by KyHomeowner : April 22nd, 2006 at 09:46 PM.
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  #7   IP: 24.160.180.204
Old April 23rd, 2006, 06:09 AM
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Many people find concreting work intimidating, I think mainly because it's a permement job, once it's done and set it can either make your life easy or a living hell right through the build and in some cases long after the build is complete. I know a guy who with the aid of a few mates a pile of gravel, sand and bags of cement mixed his own concrete for a slab, all looked just dandy when the job was finished the problems came over the following days, weeks and months, he failed to mix the correct blend of cement to each load in the mixer thus he ended up with a powdery slab that for all intensive purposes was useless, eventually this slab had to be dug up and replaced.

The operation of the machinery is not all that difficult especially if you use you head and have some degree of mechanical ability.
The hardest part for most peaople is setting out the footers to be dug, without a nice square and level footer the job becomes much harder especially the further up you go, same for blocking the base, the footer may be just about right but if your not good at laying blocks then you again could make an easy job hard. While the footer is not the be all of having to be square or level as it still allows you room both ways to make a square base with the blocking, it is still much better to take a level of time to make it as level as possible at the correct depth.
Many excavation companies will do what ever work you require for example you could ask them to just dig and pour the footer and you lay the block. Laying of the block is reasonably easy as long as you have a couple of important tools a bricklayers string line (two alloy end brackets to hold onto the blocks with string between the two) available at HD or Lowes, a good level and a good trowel.
As for the slab work this is a little harder this requires you to be able to work fast in screeding and trowel off before it starts to become unworkable, the dryer the wet concrete the harder it is to work with, this job is best performed in sections if your doing it by yourself or gather some mates for a slab and BBQ day, chaulk line the block on the inside to get your levels/fall and fill with concrete to these levels and screed off with a long screed.
Again if your uncomfortable with any process in the building up to the ground level then contract out what you don't want to do or feel uncomfortable with, I've seen it many times a homeowner gets the footer poured he does the blocking and then the contractor comes back for the slab.

Hope this helps
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Last edited by pushkins : August 11th, 2011 at 01:35 AM.
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  #8   IP: 142.165.30.211
Old May 12th, 2006, 02:54 PM
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You must realize that the soil type and wherther or not the soil drainage is poor or good has a huge role as to what depth your footings must be. Soil that has poor drainage (i.e. clay soils) require much deeper footings, whereas sandy soils, due to their ideal drainage properties, require lower depths of footings, because water cannot get trapped and stick around to freeze, thus causing heaving in the spring.
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  #9   IP: 148.78.243.26
Old May 13th, 2006, 11:19 AM
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Undermine, I disagree with what you are saying. Frost depth and whether a building is heated or not dictates the minimum depth of the footer regardless of seasonal high water table or soil texture.

Footer width is dictated by the number of stories, and type of construction masonry or light framing then the texture of the soil also is a deciding factor of the width of a footer. Also disturbed dirt affects the re-enforcing of the footer or depth of the footer required to be at least 12" into undisturbed dirt for a solid foot print.

Seasonal high water table would dictate the depth of the crawl floor and perimeter drain whether required or not.

Just adding thought

Wg
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  #10   IP: 142.165.30.211
Old May 15th, 2006, 12:08 PM
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I am just stating what is outlined by the Instutute for Research in Construction (IRC) here in Canada. Because of our cold climate, the amount of water in the soil directly impacts the amount of "frost" heave. Frost would imply the presence of water, hence the more water in the soil the more severe the heave, which is why we put a layer of crushed gravel below our slabs-on-grade, to help eleviate any minor pressures due to frost heave from water/moisture in the ground.
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