Fast, Accurate, and Attractive Piers

This small shed sits on four piers at its corners.

Substantial-looking square piers are perfectly aligned at the corners and edges of the building.

Scrap materials work fine for making form boxes. The boxes are a few inches deeper than the part of the pier that will appear above grade so that the forms can extend a bit into the ground.

The sod in each footing location needs to be cut to the size of the boxes.

Digging out flat areas where the forms will sit makes a clean and level base for each one.

Measuring ensures that the boxes are close to their final heights.

After the boxes are connected by a perimeter of 2-bys, the entire assembly is leveled at once and staked in place.

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to dig each hole to the required depth. Usually a shovel, a crowbar, and a post-hole digger suffice, but it's a good idea to keep a recip saw and jackhammer handy in case of obstructions like a rock or a root.

Below grade, the soil acts as the concrete form.

A dry-mix truck makes it easy to have the right amount of concrete mixed and poured on site.

For a cantilevered shed, the main floor beams were assembled on top of the form boxes. The anchor bolts were installed before the pour, ensuring perfect bolt placement.

Though framing the floor first made stripping the forms more difficult, it still saved time over conventional methods.

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