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Commercial Concrete Slab Foundations: Process and Specifications

Foundations are often called a concrete slab or even just “slab,” but no two slabs are alike. With such a wide range of foundation/slab designs, it is important to know the proper specifications for each project, such as, adaptation based on the soil test report.

A solid soil support system below the concrete, otherwise known as sub-grade, is essential and critical to a successful foundation. The first step is to complete a soil test to examine the characteristic make-up of the existing soil. A geotechnical lab will perform a soil boring, which will provide the structural engineer with the information he requires to design an appropriate foundation slab to support the weight of the project.

Depending on the test results, the sub-grade might require stabilizing. This often means using lime or cement, then excavating the soil 12 to 36 inches as well as placing a new select fill material.

Once the sub-grade is ready, the structural engineer will also design the slab/foundation, based on the soil test results and load anticipation. In addition to the geotechnical soil test, there are other critical tasks to perform before laying a foundation. These include creating engineered stamped drawings and of course, acquiring municipal permits and paying any necessary fees.

The list below provides an overview of the main steps involved in laying a new slab/foundation:

  1. Perform a geotechnical soil test and analyze results.
  2. Stabilize the existing sub-grade.
  3. Form and pour a 5-inch thick slab.
  4. Place ½-inch rebar at 12-inch centers.
  5. Drill piers with the dimensions of 12” x 36” x 8’ with rebar.
  6. Install a concrete-grade beam with the dimensions of 12” x 24” with rebar.
  7. Spread footing/pier caps with the dimensions of 24” x 24” x 24” with rebar.
  8. Install a vapor barrier to prevent water vapor from getting into the slab.
  9. Complete a trowel finish depending on the anticipated level of skid resistance.
  10. Saw the expansion joints.
  11. Spray on a curing compound depending on the engineer’s recommendations.

A foundation or concrete slab involves many critical tasks to prepare, design and execute in a way that will support the structure eventually placed on top. Bill Houston Concrete Construction, Inc. demands competence from its team and provides guidance to clients every step of the way. The positive outcome and number of successfully laid slabs is undeniable evidence of expertise. Contact us at 281-443-0874 or houstonconcrete@sbcglobal.net for a consultation.