Stakes made of concrete are necessary for almost all foundation projects. They are really used in practically any concrete job a homeowner is likely to undertake. If you are familiar with the concrete stakes in the picture above, you have probably used them before. I’ll explain if you don’t know what they are. Prior to and during a concrete pour, concrete form boards are held in place by concrete pegs. They remain in place until the concrete has dried enough for the forms to be removed. They are not inexpensive, costing about $5 apiece, and a typical house foundation may utilise 200 or more of them. It’s important to make sure you can remove each one after the pour, although this is not always possible.
Take a look at the picture below if you’re wondering why the stakes were left behind. Despite being put on the exterior of the form, the stakes will be exposed to the concrete due to the installation method. If the stakes and form boards are not removed before the concrete sets, they will eventually become a permanent part of the foundation. The concrete will flow out from underneath the stakes and around the form boards. The condition in the photo below is a little extreme since the forms are often cut closer to the ground; but, even a tiny piece of room for the concrete to flow around the stakes may make them permanently stay.
What is the best way to prevent concrete from oozing out of even the tiniest gaps in the forms? You may spend time attempting to stop it as you pour, but you’re more likely to lose the struggle and miss the window for when your pour should be finished. Foam pipe insulation, I think, is a superior solution. This material may be used to cover plumbing lines and concrete stakes as effectively. It may be quickly cut with a razor knife and positioned. To the bottom of the form and to the ground, I made a tight cut. No matter how much concrete falls around, the foam (on the exterior of the form boards) can remain in place, and I can still remove my stakes from within the foam. A situation where I had to provide support for a form board that would float over a broadened footing is seen in the figure below. I had to drive a stake directly through the centre of the footing in order to secure the form board in place.
I separated the stake from the footing and continued to support the form board by using the leftover foam. After the pour was finished, I withdrew the stake, leaving a little bit of foam in the footer, and let the concrete solidify. Because this foam was so little in comparison to the enormous footer, the strength of that footer was unaffected. I would have given up a $6 investment without the $0.99 worth of foam.
There is no excuse not to spend the additional time to protect your stakes from overpoured concrete, regardless of the project, whether it be a little pad, a sidewalk, or a home foundation. This advice is fast, simple, and reasonably priced. Overall, the effort was definitely worth it.