I'm nearing the point of specifying the type of basement construction that I
want to use in a 36x70 home that we hope to build sometime around August.
The area where the home is to be built is almost devoid of poured basements
due to the fact that not too many builders in the area have the forms or
experience in working with poured basements. That said I am still
considering Poured walls as an option. Another option I am considering is
the use of pre-cast and pre-cured Panels brought to the site on truck and
lifted into place by crane. I have heard that there are two types of these.
One that uses the typical concrete outside and the other that is a wood
form. Last is to go with the Cement Block and work to waterproof it as best
I can by preparation of the area around the home to route water away from
the foundation and then coat the exterior of the blocks very well.
Being on disability I do have a cost concern to think about but I'd much
rather pay up front to get quality than to have to face very expensive work
several years after the job has been completed.
Any comments on Basement construction techniques, poured vs. cement block
and thoughts about the newer technology of panels formed off site and
trucked to the site (either wood or a masonry product).
Instead of concrete forms, which are usually steel shutters and
resuable. The otherway to get a poured concrete basement is to use
ICF, Insulated Concrete Forms.
In a nutshell these are polystyrene blocks which are hollow in the
middle. These blocks are stacked to form a hollow wall. Steel
reinforcement bars are placed
in side the wall. Finally concrete is poured in. The polystyrene
blocks are never removed and form part of your wall and act as
See Web site
I have to second the ICF, Insulated Concrete Forms method, it works really
well and the insulating value is great. My Dad did a modified version of
this on his own to save money but it took a lot of man power and hours of
work that could have been saved by just using the blocks.
I would stay away from all forms of cement block...EVERY one I've ever
seen has cracks in it eventually....that's not to say concrete won't
crack...but I like solid walls better.
When I built my house last year, I was all set to use Superior wall, a
pre-cast wall brought in on a truck. Ultimately we chose to build
with ICF's, because the whole house is built with them. One thing
that I found interesting was that MOST builders that aren't familiar
with the product you choose are not always willing accept
responsibility for the end product...that's why I did my house my
self. Proceed carefully and you might want to talk with your builder
to bring them on board as you work through the design building
process...it's best to know up front if they will be there for the
Consider using ICF's (insulating concrete forms) and you will have a well
insulated basement, no plywood forms to set up, and a solid concrete wall.
Check out www.inegraspec.com www.polysteel.com
You may want to consider making a 9' basement also. That allows plenty of
headroom under the piping.
Several others have mentioned ICF's - great product IF there are enough
experienced contractors in your area. We were planning on going that route,
til I found that there are only two experienced contractors in our area, and
the lack of competition made ICF's very pricey.
We have decided on www.superiorwalls.com for our foundation/basement.
pre-cast, pre-insulated wall system that uses their own trained crew to
install, and is very cost effective.
We did a poured basement last year for a 28x56 house and attached 26x30
garage. The walls are 8" think. The basement, front porch stoop, and
garage foundation wall were all done in one, single, monolithic pour. It's
built like a tank, and I like it that way. If you use ICF's you'll have
ugly Styrofoam visible on any portions of the basement that are above grade.
Codes in my area require exposed foam to be covered. Most people use
some type of stucco. There are synthetic stucco products that go
directly on the ICF's. Poured foundations (non ICF) have the problem
of not having insulation. Many ICF's have 5" of polystyrene--pretty
hard to get that with conventional poured.
True. A poured basement such as mine will suffer a greater heat loss in the
Winter than one done with ICF's
I would also think that (as you already mentioned) the exposed foam would
need to be covered somehow
to protect it from damage. I added 1" extruded foam to the insides of my
walls and insulated the rim joist to help it a little.
As a 3rd option, if the OP doesn't like ICF's or pre-cast walls, a guy could
do a regular poured basement, and add
foam to the outside of the walls after the forms are stripped, but before
the basement is backfilled.
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