In a home I'm building I am planning to use "Superior Walls" which say they
set directly on compacted stone rather than concrete footers. You then come
in with the concrete for the basement slab. What I would like to achieve is
a concrete look (finished that is) like the floor you see in Lowes with a
sheen on it, totally smooth. I also certainly don't want to experience
cracking in a basement slab either so consider this a two part question.
What are the techniques I need to specify to obtain this smooth finish like
the floors in Lowes or Home Depot?
What is the best steps to take to achieve a basement slab that will not
crack as easily as I may just keep the bare concrete as the floor rather
than put carpet or some finished floor on top of it? At this point the
home's width will be span by the Floor Trusses so there most likely will not
be any load bearing down on the slab, in the middle, except stick framing
walls we put up but none are expected to be load bearing walls.
Thanks in advance for your answers
If it was me I would provide minimum footers with those walls even though
they say that non are required. Use 8 inch deep and 12 inch wide with (2)
#4 rebars running continuous along the length of wall.
For the slab if you want to be conservative use a 5 inch deep slab on grade
with #4 rebars each way at mid depth at 18 inches on center. This would be
better than using welded wire fabric. Fabric mostly gets stepped on and
winds up close to the soil. Be sure that you provide a 4 inch gravel base
with vapor barrier on top of the gravel base prior to pouring the slab.
With Superior Walls, it is absolutely mandatory that a crushed rock
footing be used; the "system" requires them. There are specific
requirements for the width and depth of the footings to provide the
necessary load bearing capabilities. Substituting with concrete
footers, even though they can support the load, will void the Superior
Walls warranty against water infiltration and will probably result in
your building inspector failing you.
As far as the slab goes, ditto what Chuck said. If you want a glass
smooth finish, you'll need a good concrete guy with a power trowel.
After they screed and hand-float the concrete, which is where most
slabs would be considered done, they go over it with the power trowel,
which is essentially like a big floor buffer. They continue to do
this as the concrete sets, pushing the larger aggregate down into
mixture, and when done properly the result is a floor like at Lowes or
better. You can even rent one and do it yourself, but your results
The other thing that will help to prevent the floor from cracking is
to use fiberglass reinforced concrete. This will typically cost you
$5 to $10 more per yard of concrete, and it's usually done in place of
the rebar, but doing both would give you a very strong slab. What I
don't know is if you can still get a glass smooth finish with the
While not a professional, I have used add-in mesh. It seems to work
okay save for the surface. Don't get me wrong - I think it's a great
idea, but getting a smooth surface with it is difficult at best.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.