View Full Version : precast basement walls for house

John Daugherty
10-06-2005, 11:07 AM
My wife and I are in the process of building our first house. After many months of looking at basement wall options (poured, block, ICFs) I chose to go with Superior Walls. If you aren’t familiar with them, here’s a link to their web page superior walls (http://superiorwalls.com)

I am so glad that this is what we decided to use. The sales rep and company was very helpful. They were always there to answer any questions that arose.

The walls set on a crushed stone footing. My father-in-law, uncle, brother and I did the prep work that was really straightforward. We had to set corner pins to grade, square the walls, and have the gravel to within 1 inch of level.

When the crew that sets the walls arrived on site, they checked the grade, corner pins and set the gravel at final grade. The panels arrived on two tractor-trailers. They use a crane to set the panels in place. The panels are leveled and plumbed. A sealant is placed between each panel and they are bolted together.

The first panel was set at about 9:30am and the final panel was set at about 2:00pm. The basement is 36 feet by 60 feet. We checked the basement for square. It was out about a 1/16 and was dead level. We went from a hole in the ground to a finished basement in about 4 ˝ hours. From the time the panel order was placed to the time of setting the panels was about 10 days.

Here are a few pics of the process.

John Daugherty
10-06-2005, 11:11 AM
more pictures

Scott Loven
10-06-2005, 11:40 AM
How does it compare in price to a regular poured concrete basement?

Are the walls just foam with cement studs?

Jeff Sudmeier
10-06-2005, 11:44 AM
Seems like a neat product, I would also be interested in information on how the are constructed.

Norman Hitt
10-06-2005, 4:06 PM
Looks Good. It looks like the Identical product that was used on one of the recent "This Old House" major projects.

John Shuk
10-06-2005, 7:36 PM
I've seen them mmany timess. One of the big modular builders around here uses them all the time and they seem like a great alternative to regular poured concrete. Especially if you have any possibility of finishing the basement. I would also go with a waterproofing matrix on the outside for a pretty much bullettproof installation. Good luck!

Jim Becker
10-06-2005, 8:12 PM
It looks like the Identical product that was used on one of the recent "This Old House" major projects.

Yup...and they point that out on their web site. I'd love to use this when we get to do our addition one of these days...'cept it's going to have to be on a slab due to solid rock just below the surface where it will be going... ;) Slab-city!

John Daugherty
10-06-2005, 10:11 PM
Thanks for the replies

The interiors of the walls could be finished now. They have an R-value of 12.5. I will probably add some insulation to the above grade walls. There are holes predrilled for electrical. There is no need for water proofing because the walls are made of 5000 psi concrete. I was told this is waterproof.

How did they compare cost wise? The initial cost was a couple thousand more than the bids I got for poured walls. I did get the walkout wall made from panels however. The walk out wall was stick build for the poured walls so I would have to factor this cost in. However I don’t have to do any damp proofing, furring for drywall, or insulation for the superior walls. The best I figured the cost difference was pretty much a wash.

I did get a 15-year warranty against any leaks. They are also plumb, square and straight.

Dave Richards
10-07-2005, 9:33 AM
Pretty neat.

I notice there's no concrete footings. Are they not required in Tennessee or is this something unique to this type of wall system? I noticed on the manufacturers website that they show the walls being set on crushed stone, too.

John Daugherty
10-07-2005, 9:42 AM
A crushed stone footing is all that is required. The gravel was compacted using a plate compactor. The gravel is aprox. 8" deep. The gravel used was 1/2 inch clean stone.
This was the second house built in my county using superior walls. It seems like everyone at the codes office has been out to look at the house. When I call needing and inspection, I'm known as the concrete house.

Dave Richards
10-07-2005, 10:49 AM
Is the crushed stone footing a local code or is that a requirement to use the Superior walls? I've never seen a house in either Wisconsin or Minnesota that doesn't have a concrete footing poured.

John Daugherty
10-07-2005, 1:24 PM
The most common footer here is also concrete. I had a few people tell me that it could not sit on crushed stone until they saw the engineering.

The stone footer is a requirement for the superior walls. I was told that it was part of the “drainage control” for under the slab. It was also very easy to level. The install crew leveled the stone to final grade by placing 3 foot pieces of rod on the stone about 8 feet apart all around. They used a laser transit to level each side of the rod all around the footer. They would pound one side then the other until it was level. Then they took a screed board and screeded the gravel between the rods level.

There is a diagram in the installation manual that explains how different depths of stone will displace the weight of the house over the footer. The inside slab area was filled with the same depth of gravel and compacted before the floor was poured. Someone I talked with compared the stone footer to a railroad track, which sits on a stone “footer”.

Dave Richards
10-07-2005, 1:33 PM
Thanks for that information. Very interesting stuff.

I had a hard time finding anything really useful on their site. Maybe if I gave them my name and address I could get in to more detailed information. Anyway, I wonder how that would work in conjunction with a layer of foam under the concrete floor and radiant in floor heat.