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Journal Entries

Building our new home: from finding the location, creating the design, choosing the builder, to the building process. This journal chronicles our process, from end to end.

Superior Walls Coming Soon

Lower level (basement) exterior walls will all be Superior Walls. These insulated, dense, 5,000-psi precast concrete wall panels are formed in a factory-controlled setting and delivered to the site, where the panels are lifted into position with a crane, bolted together, and sealed. They come with built-in wall studs, insulation, rough window and door openings, wiring chases, and top and bottom beams.

They’re water-tight and are fully installed in under a day. And, because they’re all pre-insulated, even the unfinished basement areas provide a buffer from the cold of winter. Compromising nothing, total wall thickness is about 10-1/4", about 4 inches less than a conventional block wall foundation—giving a bit more floor space. Matt, the Energy Star Certification consultant, is pleased with their insulative qualities, and mentioned that about a third of all the homes he’s consulting on these days are being built with Superior Walls. In the past 20 years, more than 65,000 Superior Wall foundations have been installed.

Rather than the footer trenches being filled with concrete, as with block walls, Superior Walls are set on a bed of crushed stone, as promoted by Frank Lloyd Wright, which allows water to readily drain away from the slab and wall system. And, instead of several days of block and sand deliveries, masons laying up courses, mixers, mortar, and a general muddy mess, it all goes up in just a few hours.

HomeSource suggested this system because the installed cost (figuring materials, labor, and exterior finish) is on par with a block wall, but with all the advantages, it makes sense. Last week, the surveyors staked wall corners. Grading crew should be out this week to dig and fill trenches. The Superior walls are due to arrive about Jan. 11. We’ll post a full video report.

This is the FAQ page of the Superior Walls Web site. This page has even more interesting details.

Meantime, here’s a brief manufacturing and installation process overview video from the company.