Pouring Concrete Footings Without Forms – Amazing Guide 2021

Pouring Concrete Footings Without Forms – In this blog post I am going to go over how you can pour concrete footings without forms. The main reason people use forms is for the reinforcement that it provides, but we will get into that in a minute. One of the reasons many people don’t like using them is because they are difficult and time consuming to build, which also makes them expensive if you have someone else do it for you.

Instead of building your own form or hiring someone to do it for you, there might be an easier way: pouring concrete directly onto the ground! This method has been around since ancient times and still works great today.

What is pouring concrete footings without forms

What is pouring concrete footings without forms
What is pouring concrete footings without forms

Pouring concrete footings without forms is a perfect way to save money. In this demonstration I used a simple method that has been around for centuries, but is seldom shown or explained in full detail. Watch the video below and follow the text tutorial below to learn how I built these footings from scratch without forms, using only hand tools.

I’ve been wanting to build a patio for my yard for a long time now, but never had an easy way of creating concrete footings which can easily be lifted by one person – especially for free-standing fire pits and large tables. Pouring pre-cast concrete blocks would be expensive and time consuming due to their weight as well as not being flexible enough to create curved shapes or fit between existing features, such as rocks or pavers.

I recently stumbled on a simple method of pouring footing concrete without forms that doesn’t require any expensive or specialty tools. This is a great way to save money, and the finished product is just as strong as if it was poured in a form. The only downside is that the footing will be slightly thicker than if it was poured in a form, but this can easily be hidden by landscaping or patio stones.

How to pouring concrete footings without forms

How to pouring concrete footings without forms
How to pouring concrete footings without forms

The steps are simple:

1. Excavate the area for the footing and remove any rocks or debris. If your soil is sandy or loose, you may want to place some gravel or crushed rock in the bottom of the hole before adding the concrete.

2. Add enough water to the concrete mix to make it wet and sticky. You can test this by taking a handful of concrete mix, squeezing it tightly, and letting go. If it sticks together for more than 10 seconds without crumbling apart, you’re ready to go.

3. Start adding concrete mix (lightly tamped down) into the hole. Before putting each scoop in the hole, dip your shovel into the pile of dry concrete mix and sprinkle some on top of the wet concrete that’s already in the hole – covering only about 50% or less of what’s already been placed in there – then continue filling until full within 8″-12″ from the top edge of the form boards.

4. Using a flat as a screed, pull the flat back and forth across the surface of the wet concrete, making it level across.

5. Shovel a thin layer of dry concrete mix over the entire top surface of the footing where it’s flush with the top edge of your form boards, then smooth out with a screeding shovel – being sure to have a slight slope from one side all the way to the other so water can flow away from foundation. If you want to create an uneven pattern in your finished patio, now is a good time to do that as well using a screwdriver or similar item.

6. Using a broom, gently brush off any excess dry concrete from surface until only very light powder remains – don’t use too much pressure as this will embed the concrete into the surface and make it difficult to remove at a later time.

7. Allow the concrete to cure for at least 72 hours before walking on it or placing any weight on it.

The finished product will be about 1-1/2″ thick, which is perfect for footings. If you’re using this method for a free-standing fire pit or table, you’ll want to pour an additional footing underneath the first one for extra support.

Benefits of Pouring concrete footings without forms.

Benefits of Pouring concrete footings without forms.
Benefits of Pouring concrete footings without forms.

At first glance, pouring concrete footings without forms seems like it would be a lot of extra work. However, if you are doing the work yourself, using molds can actually slow down your project. Furthermore, there are many advantages to not using them!

Save Time – Since you won’t need to measure and mark out forms or cut then re-tie rebar or set up wood molds that snap into place then brace them with stakes until the concrete hardens, pouring concrete footings without forms is faster. You will also spend less time cleaning up at the end of your project since there won’t be any materials left over after you finish. Keep in mind taking apart wooden framing takes time than simply cleaning up wire bracing.

Save Money – If you’re getting ready to pour concrete footings without forms, chances are you won’t be using an expensive contractor because you plan on doing the work yourself. As such, it will be less expensive since there is no need for having to rent or buy expensive molds and other equipment.

Concrete footings poured without forms can also save money since there is no extra labor needed for installing wooden framing and wire mesh or lath. Furthermore, you won’t have to purchase as much form material which gets used up quickly and often has to be replaced due to wear and tear from multiple uses.

Easy To Handle – Pouring concrete footings without forms makes it easy for one person to handle the project on their own. You don’t have to worry about enlisting help from friends or family, or trying to find someone who is available and knows how to use the form equipment. Simply follow the instructions that come with your concrete mix, do a little prep work, and you’re ready to go!

There are many reasons why pouring concrete footings without forms can be advantageous for both homeowners and contractors. When done correctly, it is a fast, easy, and affordable way to get the job done. So if you’re planning on pouring your own footings, consider doing them without forms – you may be surprised at just how much time and money you’ll save!

Tips when pouring concrete footings without forms.

Tips when pouring concrete footings without forms.
Tips when pouring concrete footings without forms.

1 – Use an Acre Meter for footings. This is a very fast and accurate way to get your forms in the ground. Never guess again.

2 – Pound in metal stakes (like old railroad ties) around the outside of the footing every 4 feet or less. The stakes should be at least 6 inches long and extend 5-6 inches above grade level. Nail on 1×4 wood as needed, 2x4s work too, but they are more difficult to nail through quickly into dirt = more time wasted = unhappy pourer!

3 – Make sure you have your reinforcement correct before starting pouring concrete footings on a job site — if you run out of concrete mix on a pour because someone didn’t count properly, you will be very unhappy…

4 – Shoot for a 5 to 1 ratio of water to concrete mix.

5 – Make sure the surface is flat — if not, fix it before initiating pour or your footing will have low spots and this will cause problems later on.

6 – Pour the concrete footings in 3-ft lifts, screeding each level off with an aluminum screed board that matches the size of the plywood form boards. This ensures that all levels are poured at about the same time so there isn’t any time wasted waiting for one area to cure while another cures too much because you let it go too long…

7 – Always use plywood forms when pouring footings — never attempt using 2x lumber. It’s too difficult to get the forms stable and they will move around on you while you’re trying to pour, which causes all sorts of problems.

8 – After the pour is complete, clean up your site and make sure everything is back in order. This includes filling any holes that were created when driving in the metal stakes. If these aren’t filled, you’ll have a gopher problem before you know it!

9 – Let the concrete footing cure for at least 7 days before doing ANYTHING on top of it (including putting a concrete slab down). Footings are what hold up your structure, so don’t cut any corners here!

10 – Finally, always consult with a professional engineer if you have any questions about pouring concrete footings. They will be able to help you design the footings for your specific project and make sure everything is done properly.

FAQs about pouring concrete footings without forms.

FAQs about pouring concrete footings without forms.
FAQs about pouring concrete footings without forms.

What are the benefits of pouring concrete footings without forms?

There are several benefits to pouring concrete footings without forms, including:

– Reduced construction time

– Reduced material costs

– Increased flexibility in terms of design and placement

What type of concrete should be used for footings poured without forms?

Any type of concrete can be used for footings that are poured without forms, but it is important to use a mix that is designed for outdoor applications. This will ensure that the concrete is resistant to weathering and will last longer.


In conclusion, pouring concrete footings without forms is a great way to save money and get the job done quickly. It’s important to make sure you have all of your materials ready before starting so that there are no delays in completing the project. Remember to always wear safety gear when working with cement!

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