I'm planning to renovate my basement so that I can use it as additional storage room and access for internal stairs. My basement is half concrete and half soil covered. I'd like convert the soil area to concrete so it will be cleaner and bright. I've got a question around the basement footings as I noticed they're covered with soil that's fenced around them. Is it safe to remove the soil around the footings ? does the soil provides additional protection to the footing? what can I do if I want to tidy my basement and also still maintain the integrity of the footings? Basement Footing

  • What is under the foundation walls? Is there a buried footing or is the concrete just sitting on the ground?
    – wallyk
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 2:58

2 Answers 2


The footings need to stay on the originally compacted soil, if possible, surrounded by several feet of soil for support, which is also supported against subsidence. They have uniformly settled to where they now sit. If you disturb any of them, you may end up replacing all of them and having to jack your posts (if not floors) to get everything back into level, plumb and square (as if).

I have an old (1920s) country house in which the original fieldstone fireplace pedestal was left surrounded by three feet of undisturbed soil, supported with a wall of reinforced concrete, with everything else in the basement excavated 8 feet deep for a new slab and all new footings and posts.

A structural engineer explained why we have to sacrifice those 120 sq ft of basement floorspace "forever".

  • 1
    Two very important words in the prior comment: structural engineer. Before you disturb any soil hire one to do an evaluation. You can do the construction yourself. But not the engineering.
    – Stanwood
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 1:53

they're covered with soil that's fenced around them

I don't think so. The footings for the pillars in the half-depth basement are the concrete pads under the concrete pillars. These footings must rest on, and be surrounded by, undisturbed soil. Obviously, they are not.

But I'm not a structural engineer. You should consult one on an urgent basis.

While you're waiting, read this.

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