What’s holding your house up?
There’s more to a house than four walls and a roof.
Foundations and footings, structural timbers and steel, and load bearing brickwork are all doing their bit to keep your house up for decades to come. So, how exactly does it all work?
Foundations and Footings
Houses sit upon a foundation which transfers the load of the walls and roof through the footings to the earth. A house without foundations would sink or topple over from the weight of other parts of the structure.
Footings are wider than the foundation so it can spread out the load of the rest of the house. They are sized according to the weight of the house, the type of rock/soil, available drainage and budget. The main types of footings you’ll find holding Australian homes up include, strip footings, concrete pad footings, ground injected piles, and timber piles.
Timber and Steel
A large majority of Australian homes are built using a timber frame due to its versatility and cost effectiveness. Steel is used throughout the construction to reinforce concrete and is sometimes used in place of timber.
Roof trusses are responsible for supporting your roof over your head while also holding your walls together. Timber trusses are light, durable and can span 10 metres or more without the need for reinforcement. Framing distributes the load of the roof towards the foundations and footings, again framing is typically a timber product and acts as the skeleton of the house.
Load bearing brickwork
The brickwork is an extremely important detail of any house. Not only do your walls keep you protected from the elements, but they take on the load of your roof, hold up against wind and a support a second storey if you’re house has two levels.
It’s possible for buildings to move, the main cause being problems with the foundation soil. At Achieve Homes we provide new home owners with structural maintenance information to help you take care of your house. The CSIRO Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A Homeowner’s Guide explains how to maintain your foundations and footings. The documents is designed to help home owners identify the causes of soil-related building movement, and suggests methods of prevention of cracking in buildings. If you regularly monitor and actively prepare your house through methods suggested by the CSIRO it’s possible to save yourself a lot of headache in the future.