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Digging Footings

Project Overview

Digging Footings

Digging footing holes with a clamshell digger is quick and inexpensive, but makes sense only if you need only a few shallow holes in loamy soil. For most every other installation, rent a machine to make the work easier. You have two choices-either a one-person or two -person auger. Both machines have advantages and disadvantages. The one-person is counterweighted to make it easier to raise the bit out of the hole. But it's more expensive. A two-person auger is less expensive and easier to move around, but is less powerful and you must lift the bit out of the hole yourself.

5 Steps

  1. Bore the Footing Hole
  2. Tamp in Gravel
  3. Set the Form Tube
  4. Brace the Tube
  5. Backfill Around Tube
Bore the Footing Hole

Step 1

Bore the Footing Hole

Remove the layout lines and the spike marking the center of the footing. Start the hole with the bit extension that will keep the handles about waist high. Rock the tool slightly as its auger turns. When you reach the proper depth, rock the auger with the bit at the bottom of the hole to flare the base of the footing.

Tamp in Gravel

Step 2

Tamp in Gravel

Remove any loose soil either by hand or with a clamshell digger and tamp a layer of compactible gravel to the code-required thickness (usually 3-6 inches). Use a post, tamper, or pinch bar to compact the gravel.

Set the Form Tube

Step 3

Set the Form Tube

Install a footing base in the bottom of the hole and cute the tube form to length. Level the top of the form so the footing will be level when you pour it.

Brace the Tube

Step 4

Brace the Tube

Brace the tube in place to make certain it stays level. If the form shifts slightly from center, don't worry. You just need to make sure the post base is centered when you make the pour.

Backfill Around Tube

Step 5

Backfill Around Tube

Backfill around the form but don't tamp the dirt too much. This may distort the shape or shift the position of the form. If the footing hole is significantly larger than the form, wait to backfill until you’re poured the concrete. Otherwise the dirt will fill the flared portion of the hole.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Beginner

Time: 2 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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