Build a Footing for a Brick Wall

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What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Comfortable work wear
Measuring tape
Trench digging tool
All-purpose gravel
2x4 boards
Ready-mix concrete
Wooden trowel

If you want a well-built, sturdy brick wall, you must have a strong footing for proper support. Without one, the moisture from the ground will encourage your brick wall to crack and all you hard work will go to waste.

Step 1 - Clear the Area

Once you have determined where you will place your brick wall, you must prepare the ground. This is a very important procedure. With your trench digging tool, remove all grass and roots. Ensure that there are no rocks. Remove all sod and soil to the proper depth. Your footing should extend below the frost line. If your wall is a load-bearing wall, your footing must be as deep as the wall is wide, and the width of the footing should be twice as wide as the wall. So, for example, if your wall is 12 inches thick, your footing will need to be 12 inches deep and 24 inches wide.

Step 2 - Fill Soft Spots with Gravel

Once you have properly dug and cleared your area of all obstructions, fill in and compact the soft spots with the gravel. Smooth the rocks out to cover the entire span of your entrenched area. Ensuring that the area is clean and even will also ensure that your concrete footing will be strong and resist cracking. A long-lived concrete footing makes for a long-lived brick wall.

Step 3 – Create a Form

Use long 2x4 boards to create a form around the area of your footer, cutting the pieces to the lengths you need. This will help you to get a clean pour and it will help for leveling the surface later.

Step 4 - Mix the Concrete

Use a wheelbarrow to mix the concrete according to the instructions on the bag. Add the correct amount of water to achieve a thick, batter-like consistency. A loose mix will cause cracking and reduced strength in your footing. Be sure not to mix more concrete than can be used in a 30-minute time span, as any time longer than this will cause your mixture to dry out before you can use it all.

Step 5 - Pour the Mixture

You are now ready to pour the concrete mixture into the form. You will want to start in the farthest corner and work it outward as you do. After you fill the entire form, you will need to screed the top of the form. Do this by dragging the straight edge of a 2x4 board over the top. Repeat this process until all the spaces are filled and the surface is smooth and even.

Step 6 - Trowel the Surface

Now use your wooden trowel to trowel the surface for several passes. Do not overdo this procedure, as it will cause excess fines and water to the surface that will weaken it.

Step 7 - Allow the Concrete to Cure

Curing is a necessary step that allows you to get the maximum performance and benefit from the concrete, allowing it to get the proper amount of moisture to fully hydrate the cement particles. Improper curing time will result in a weak and cracked foundation. You should leave the cement to dry for a full two days or more, depending upon the weather. If it’s particularly cool or moist outside, for instance, the curing time will take longer. Once this time has elapsed, you can begin building your brick wall on top.