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Minimum Soil Cover

Minimum Soil Cover

Minimum Soil Cover

What is the minimum soil cover that you need to be on top of an exterior footing. The frost depth is 3'-6" and the footing is 4' deep. I always thought that the footing had to be at least 12" below grade. I just want to be avoid extra excavation costs.

There is no uplift on the footing so I don't need the soil weight for that particular purpose.


RE: Minimum Soil Cover

Local codes should address depth to bottom of footing. There is no requirement (I've heard of) for soil cover over a footing; it could extend to above grade.

Are you asking minimum depth to bottom of footing, in lieu of or at variance with code, that will be adequate? Since the minimum depth is usually based on avoiding damage due to frost/frozen ground, the minimum depth depends on thermal aspects (whether building is heated and extent of foundation insulation), and soil and groundwater conditions.

RE: Minimum Soil Cover

There is generally a 12-inch minimum cover requirement, but it is for the prevention of scour and undermining, not additional soil weight for whatever purpose.

RE: Minimum Soil Cover

Plus, not too many Architects want to read the top of a footing above finished grade. It is commonly considered unsightly.

As for me, I don't give a rip.   

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Minimum Soil Cover

Mike...well said!!!

RE: Minimum Soil Cover

Hear hear Mike!

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