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DIY Garage Foundation

Okay, I have to admit something. I have the HARDEST time with the first sentence of a post.  In fact, I usually write the first sentence last because I don’t know how to start. I’ve been trying to come up with one for this post for awhile and I’ve got nothin, except for this confession. Now that I’ve said that your probably going to pay extra attention to all my first sentences, but please don’t. Anyway, now that I have that off my chest let’s talk about pouring foundations!

(Go HERE if you missed my first garage post).

The first step was to stake out where the garage (by that I mean metal carport/shed combo) is going. We just used stakes and string so we would know how far to spread the gravel.  Then we got the gravel delivered…a total of 17 yards and $337. Jiminy Christmas stuff is expensive.

DIY garage foundation

Then we spread it.  Well, not “we” so much as Adam, Taylor and Elijah. I was just the photographer because I’m THE BEST at taking blurry pictures.

DIY garage foundation

Even blurry, Elijah is the cutest little gravel spreader I’ve ever seen.

DIY garage foundation

Here it is mostly spread – yes, that’s dust on my lens and I didn’t realize it until just now. Unfortunately I think this is also going to have to be my official before picture, as it’s the only one I have of this side of the house. Live and learn…when we buy our next house I will know to take a picture at every possible angle and distance before starting ANY work.

DIY garage

The next step was to set up the formboards, which is just the wooden “mold” that you will be pouring your concrete into. To do that, you must first create the perfect rectangle. This turned out to be harder than anticipated. Not that I had anything to do with it, I was inside doing laundry, dishes and baby wrangling. But I saw them from the windows, measurng, remeasuring, adjusting, discussing….

For like four hours.

I would come out every so often to snap some pictures…I really wanted to capture the excitement of our helpers…

how to pour a foundation

After many hours of trying to get everything square, Adam, his dad, and his brothers came inside asking for calculators that did square roots and if I remembered the Pythagorean theorem. I forgot the Pythagorean theorem about five minutes after I learned it, so I was no help there. As you might have guessed, math is not my thing…like most other creative minds, I want to run I the other direction the moment anyone mentions combing letters and numbers or multiplying things times pi.

They ended up getting it not much later, but not with math…guess and check baby, guess and check.

how to pour foundation footings

After all the forms were up Adam added rebar….this just reinforces the concrete, keeps it from cracking and having chunks fall off.  My only job was to order stuff and take pictures…and I didn’t take a photo of this step. Fail.

Next came the concrete.

I’m sure you have all been dying to know how much concrete costs, so let me just tell you…it’s expensive. We  had five yards delivered and it cost $450. Ouch.

Anyway, here are some pictures of Adam and my dad spreading our savings account…I mean concrete.

(Hey, and there’s the rebar! Did I just totally redeem myself?)

DIY foundation

DIY garage foundation

We also decided – a little last minute – to add a sidewalk connecting the garage to our front porch.  I’m really glad we did, as  that simple little sidewalk is going to do a lot to tie the house and garage together.

DIY sidewalk

After the formboards were filled with concrete they used a “screed board” to even it all out.

DIY concrete slab

What is a screed board you ask? Well, it’s just a board that gets a fancy name once you start using it for concrete. Or in our case two short boards screwed together.

pour your own concrete slab

Then we rented a something called a bull float that made the concrete really smooth.

DIY slab

how to pour your pwn slab

Evidently it wasn’t that hard to use, since Adam did it while chatting on the phone.

DIY concrete footings

We let it dry for a few days before taking all the formboards off. It turned out really well..not nearly as smooth as a professional one, but good enough.

pour your own concrete slab foudation

how to pour a foundation

Now we wait for the company to comes install it. Sooo…two days. We ordered it six weeks ago though, so don’t be thinking it was that quick.

I really have to start writing shorter posts. I post  these all these big long posts and they are daunting to write. It would be so much easier if I was one of those bloggers that showed a before and after picture and said “look what we did!”. I just can’t stop at that though. So I hope you enjoyed my wicked long post about making a foundation…I promise to tackle more feminine and copyable projects soon. Probably not before I show you finished pictures of the garage, since it gets installed on Tuesday and all.


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  1. Funny what you say about having trouble writing the first line; with me it’s always the last line/paragraph I have trouble with.

    Y’all are NOT playin’ around when it comes to DIY!! Wow! I don’t know if I would have the cojones to tackles a big cement job like that. You’re going to be soooo happy you added the sidewalk. It will be indispensable. And I don’t think your posts are too long. People like to see the in-between steps and know all the little details, especially if they’re looking to do a similar project. :)

  2. I love to read your posts, no matter how or at what point you add the first line. :) I also like the detail, in fact I prefer longer posts to shorter ones (when they’re by someone whose writing I like to read, i.e. yours.)

    Other than that, jeez, that Elijah is so busy and so cute!! He’s just right in there. Your guys did a great job on the foundation, it’s impressive and nice to see that it can be done without calling the professionals and costing a fortune. Also, great idea to add the walkway. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.

    Cheers! J.E.

    1. Thanks Jan! Elijah really is in the middle of everything we do. One day he is actually going to be a big help, that will be nice!

  3. Don’t apologize. It looks really good. Plus, it’s info for any readers who might be thinking of doing it themselves. :-)

  4. I can’t believe you say “jiminy christmas”… I say that too but I’ve never heard if anywhere else before so I always thought I made it up using christmas instead of cricket in jiminy cricket. Ha!!
    Your garage looks wonderful! I think that an arbor type of “roof”/ cover over your sidewalk would look great and tie the garage to the house nicely… i can picture it in my head but I’m not sure how to describe it.
    Great job!!!! All the hard, hot work (and watching from inside) paid off!

    1. Lol, I think people that say “jimimy Christmas” are few and far between. I probably wouldn’t be one of them except my husband says it all the time…that and “woo doggies!”, haha. I’ve actually though about the connecting roof, perhaps with some deer proof ivy growing all over it….

        1. I think one of the characters from the Andy Griffith show said “woo doggies” all the time. That’s the only place I know it from…

  5. I know this post is old…and I certainly hope I can find the post with the final product as I am not very good navigating through blogs haha but you guys made the process look really simple. I’m assuming you rented the concrete pourer machine. How much did that cost? Was it included in the cost you ave above or was that a separate fee? Thanks so much.. now i’m going to go venture through your blog for the final picture!

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