The Book: Your Log House
There is a slight difference between
log and frame house foundations. The idea that log house
foundations and basement walls should be thickened and
reinforced, far beyond the requirements of the building
code, is mostly mythology and fear born of ignorance.
I suggest 8-in. thick walls for crawl spaces as well
as most basements — thickening to 10 in. only
in those situations where back-fill exceeds 5 ft. above
footings. Naturally, in those situations where foundation
walls must also retain overburdened and unstable ground,
special considerations need to be made, as they would
with any type of building. Stay within the legal requirements
and guidelines for such things as soil conditions and
stability, hardpan levels, water tables, frost levels,
and so forth. A typical building start is shown at left
in Figure 12.
The squaring and leveling of foundations
are done in the commonly accepted carpentry techniques
and are written up in many sources. In its simplest
elements, foundation squaring is shown below in Figure
Establish 90° in any given corner
by the simplified use of the Pythagorean theorem. If
the two sides at the corner measure 3 ft. and 4 ft.,
and the diagonal or hypotenuse equals 5 ft., the corner
is square or 90°. Multiples of these measurements
can also be used if more convenient. For example: 9,
12, and 15 ft. and metrically: 3, 4, and 5m.
This step provides the beginnings of
two adjacent sides of the proposed building.
After staking out the corners of this
40' 8" x 28' 8" rectangle, add approximately
3 ft. all around and excavate. Thus, the excavation
becomes approximately 46' 8" x 34' 8", allowing
room to work around the footings and walls.
After excavating the building spot,
the process of establishing the square building to the
outside corners may be repeated. Most books that deal
with this subject suggest the use of batter boards and
string, thereby making this second step or repetition
unnecessary. It takes so little time to go through this
process that I prefer to repeat it when putting in my
footings or pilings.