How To Lay Out A Foundation

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kids hey guys Eric Perkins here I'm a

custom home builder and today I'm gonna

be showing you how to lay out a simple

foundation using reference pins and if

you don't know what a reference pin is

that's okay I'm gonna show you but

basically it's a replacement for using a

battery board and this works really well

on a flat piece of ground or a simpler

foundation where you don't really need

all the features of a battery board and

once again this is how my dad taught me

how to do this when we were building

simple houses with simple tools back in

the 90s speaking of my dad and I've

mentioned him in a lot of videos here he

is he just rolled by our jobsite and

he's been out paddle boarding on the

lake and we're right near the lake so

this is the guy this is the guy that

taught us all the simple cool ways to do

stuff how'd we do dad looks good that's

a good answer I like that today we're

going to be laying out the center

section of this home which has a

basement this is a home that we designed

actually I designed it on my computer at

home in the living room with the kids

screaming in the background which made

it even better so let's take a walk over

here and check out the basement

excavation so here you can see we have a

giant hole in the ground this basement

is cut in and it's about three feet

wider in each direction than the actual

basement itself and that's so that we

have room to get around the back of this

basement wall once it's completed to

waterproof it and put on our French

drain here's a quick look at the tools

and supplies we're going to be using we

have a set of plans from my computer

tape measures a long tape measure if

your house is more than 25 feet in any

direction we have string line which is

regular Mason's line marking paint for

marking like soccer fields we're going

to use that we have rebar caps for

safety and these are some number four

rebar there are 24 inches long that's

all we'll need and a sledgehammer

probably this rebar will make you

super dirty so wear gloves first we

measure to find the center point of this

basement cut next we'll lay out the back

wall it's 30 feet long and we'll set it

three feet from the bank so we can get

behind it later I'll set one pin then

we'll measure over and set the other pin

as a note I am referencing the outside

of these pins since they are a half-inch

thick and that thickness does make a


next we pull tapes to find a front

corner of this foundation we'll pull a

straight measurement and a diagonal

measurement which I've figured on the

plan to find this corner and keep it

Square to the back two points this

diagonal could be figured using the

Pythagorean theorem a squared plus B

squared equals C squared and it's always

a good idea to double-check all your

measurements because once you dig the

footers that's the shape of your house

okay let's chat for a second we've got

our four corners established the only

problem is when we go to dig the footers

those four pins are gonna get dug up

because they're in the actual footer so

here comes the purpose of these

reference pins is it gives us a way to

get our string lines and our corners

re-established once we've dug the

footers it gives us a way to line it all

back up and get it back where it was

supposed to be so basically all we're

gonna do is use a string line pulled

between the two corners we now have

we're just gonna run it past an extra

three feet and set a pin in line this

way when we hook around these new pins

it will form a cross right where the

original pin was I do this in both

directions on all four corners so that

we can string out the entire outside of

the foundation once the footers are dug

it is important to drive these stakes as

plumb as you can to keep them accurate I

also like to drive them down low enough

to where the track hook can drive right

over them without interfering whoa and

it is hot out here guys we've got this

reference pin set up and they're set

three feet outside of the actual corners

of the foundation okay next step here is

we're wrapping a string line around the

outside corner of all these original

pins and connecting them making sure

that the string line doesn't touch the

ground anywhere so it stays nice and


okay we've got this string line now and

this represents the outside of our house

what we're gonna do is dig a two foot

wide footer with our two foot track

we want this 8-inch wall to be centered

on that footer when we're done so we're

going to mark eight inches to the

outside of the string line and sixteen

inches to the inside of the string line

and that will actually Center the wall

on the footer and then we'll dig it now

that that's done we've got a nice

outline that our machine operator can

follow with his bucket to dig these

footer straight and here's our laser

level I'll explain how to use this in

another video we're going to use this to

check out how level the ground is we're

going to find the low point and make

sure our footers are dug at least eight

inches below that low point along any

edges where we're not backfilling the

bottom of the footer has to be at least

a foot below grade

but we found our low point in this back

section of footers as 16 inches the way

we just shot it we're gonna drop eight

inches from that to 24 for the bottom of

our footers here so I've got a great

poll here on the mark 24 and set up my

receiver for this laser right on 24

inches now I can just dig down until

this thing beeps and tells us we're at

the right height


and it's actually pretty crucial to get

these footers flat on the bottom so that

you don't waste a bunch of concrete by

having deep spots important step here

before we move our laser that's it up

here I'm gonna go ahead and move my

receiver down eight inches I'm just

gonna mark it on there and we're gonna

go ahead and set a pin in each corner

like a reference pin and that's going to

be the top height of the concrete at 8

inches deep in this footer so I'm gonna

move this down lock it on and we're

gonna beat this down you'll notice they

have this clamped on a level and that's

on purpose because I like to use this

bubble so that I know if I'm plumb or

not and that makes a big difference in

reading the height

alright guys we've got our footers dug

moving right here and we've got our

string lines run back to our reference

pins here and here and you'll see that

when you run them we get this point here

with a cross and that's the actual

outside of the foundation of the house

which is what we want to get back and

mark it on the concrete

once the footers are poured will also

use this string line to reference when

we tie our j-bars in from our steel

that's going to go in the footer before

we put the concrete in now we have a

line to reference where those go so that

works really well and that's that's a

wrap okay we're back here on the job a

couple days later you can see we've got

our concrete poured we've got our J bars

put in and we reference these lines

we've got our string lines hooked to our

reference pins now since I've got them

at about eight inches off the concrete I

can just set a block in here to find the

corner of the foundation and I'll stick

a nail in the market you can see how

well this works with these reference

pins how we've got our string lines and

our corners ready to establish back on

the concrete so that's another

foundation ready to go alright guys

thanks for watching our video today I

hope you learned something we're gonna

take a nice relaxing sit down on this

awesome track oh good job AJ we'll catch

you later that's a wrap