The importance of a strong foundation when building

In short, the strength of a building lies in its foundation. A foundation is commonly created with concrete and it distributes the weight of a building by transferring a building’s load far into the ground to provide stability and prevent overloading on other parts of the structure. Without a solid base, it’s only a matter of time until damage occurs in the structure. The foundation is also one of those areas that needs to be done right the first time, because if something goes wrong during or after construction, it’s not easy to fix.

Building a good foundation requires more than just digging into the ground and pouring the concrete. It has to be properly tailored to the site which involves understanding and accounting for geology, soil conditions, water tables, and even the backfill. The foundation also needs to be properly set, compacted correctly. All municipalities have bylaws that will govern the specification for their area on foundations, these municipalities also make use of National Standards to prescribe and specify depth and width etc. for foundations. Made from the best possible materials available to ensure that it can hold and support the weight of the building for a very long period, even when the ground below changes.

Ensuring foundations are structurally sound

There are three key areas that are critical in ensuring a building’s foundation is structurally sound:

  1. The foundation must be able to withstand the dead load and the live load combined. The dead load is the weight of the structure itself and is called the dead load because it remains constant. The live load, is the weight of the people and the objects inside the building. The foundation must be able to transfer the weight of the entire buildings’ dead and live loads into the ground.
  2. The foundation isn’t just holding the house up, it also acts as a stabiliser to prevent lateral movement from natural forces like storms, rains, high winds, and other inclement weather conditions that can batter it from one side or another.
  3. The foundation must keep the ground moisture from seeping in and weakening the structure.  A sturdy foundation and good drainage will keep the water out and the building dry regardless of the weather conditions.
Why House Foundations Fail
  • Soils heavy with clay or organic matter hold water like a sponge, increasing the risk of foundation cracks when the soil freezes and expands in the heat or with moisture fluctuations.
  • Concrete must cure slowly to reach its proper strength. It must be kept damp for at least three days by wrapping it in plastic, misting with water, or other water retaining techniques.
  • If the slab is poured over crushed stone that hasn’t been firmly compacted, it will likely crack when settling.
  • A concrete form must be filled in single fill. If interrupted, there will be a “cold joint” between the fresh concrete and the next layer, which is likely to crack and leak.
Cementing the integrity of your building

Building integrity into your foundation is a crucial part of the building project that will determine its durability and resilience. It is essential to provide adequate attention to the structures and foundations that keep it sturdy and safe at all times and the effort, time and investment will ensure its long-term future. Sephaku’s top-quality, affordable cement products are able to meet all your building requirements so you can always choose the correct Sephaku cement type to suit the application. For expert advice, contact the Sephaku call centre on 0861 32 42 52 or speak to your technical representative for more information.

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