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How thick are the walls?  The total width of the wall is 10 ¼ inches, the face of the wall is 1 ¾ inches.

If the face is that thin how can the wall support a house? The strength of the wall system is in the studs. When you build a wall on a house the strength is not in the plywood sheathing on the exterior, it is in the studs that the sheathing is attached to. Each concrete stud in a Superior Walls system will support 11,000 pounds, the concrete on the face of the wall panels stiffens the wall to prevent racking, and prevents the environment on the exterior from entering the interior just as the plywood sheathing does on a stick framed house wall.

Why do you say “no damp proofing is required”? Superior Walls panels are made with a very specific concrete mix. This mix has a low water to cement powder ratio resulting in a very high PSI concrete. The American Concrete Institute (ACI) states that water permeability is a direct function of the water/cement ratio (a lower w/c ratio results in lower permeability).  Superior Walls concrete mix design provides a water/cement ratio of 0.40 which is rated for extreme durability and water tight. However Superior Wall Panels are damp proof only, Superior Walls Panel systems are not water proof! If water proofing is required in your area then Superior Walls Panels must be water proofed also.

What is the overall R-Value of the XI wall panel? The XI wall panel has an overall R-Value of 12.5 with a stud cavity 6 inches deep to add additional insulation to. R-50 is easily achievable with additional spray foam.

Why do you use crushed stone footings?  Superior Walls panels are poured in steel forms making the top and bottom of the walls extremely flat. Poured footings are not flat and have lumps or aggregate sticking out of them which would create pressure points or “hot spots” in the wall panel resulting in the possibility of cracks over time. That is why the IRC Code states that if a precast wall panel is placed on a poured in place footing it must be shimmed and grouted to the footing with non-shrink grout. Crushed stone footing help to create a drain field under the walls preventing hydrostatic pressure buildup helping to prevent wet basements.

Will a crushed stone footing support my house? Crushed stone footings have been around longer than poured in place footings. I am told that the Great Pyramids sit on crushed stone footings and they are still standing. To understand a crushed stone footing you must understand what a footings purpose is. A footing takes the axial load of the superstructure or building above and spreads it over a larger area or footprint on the ground. The wider the footprint on the ground the more weight that can be supported by the footing. The building load applied to the top of the Superior Wall Panels is transferred to the crushed stone footing, and in turn is transfer to the ground. The load spreads at a 30 degree angle outward through the stone in a triangular shape increasing the bearing width as it transfers through. This equated to a 6 inch deep stone footing having a bearing footprint of 17-3/16 inches. The deeper the stone footing the wider the footprint, so a 12 inch deep stone footing equates to a bearing footprint of 24-1/8 Inches. Railroad beds go through some of the worst soils in the world and set on crushed stone footings.

Will the crushed stone footing settle over time? A home settling has little to do with the footing type but more with the soil beneath the footing. That is why homes with poured in place footing, crushed stone footings, and the old rubble footings have sometimes settled in times past. The best way to help prevent settling is to have proper excavation done, and build on good soils.

How are panel joints held together and sealed? Panel joints come together with a ship lap design. Just as a plywood sheeting edge overlaps a stud ½ way and the next sheet overlaps the same stud ½ way creating a continuous wall, Superior Walls panels join the same way. There is a steel bolting saddle tied to rebar in the top and bottom of the wall and then cast into the concrete. A ½ inch bolt then holds the walls together at the top and bottom. When the walls are set in place a bead of a one part urethane sealant is placed between the wall panels, a second bead of the urethane is placed on the exterior of the walls, and a third bead is placed on the interior. This sealant forms a flexible bond that acts as a gasket between the panels preventing leaking, and as an expansion joint in the wall to prevent cracking. Once the floor is poured in place, the main floor deck is on, and the walls are backfilled they are locked in place from all sides.

Why do I need to pour the floor and have the deck on before I backfill?  We at Superior Walls just ask that you follow code. Code stated “Backfill shall not be placed against the wall until the wall has sufficient strength and has anchored to the floor above, or has been sufficiently braced to prevent damage by backfill.” The floor and the deck create a box and lock the top and bottom of the walls in place. You can stand on a cardboard box with top and bottom taped shut but if you open the top and bottom and push on the corners the box will collapse, a foundation without floor deck and poured floor may do the same thing when backfill is placed against it.

Can Superior Walls panels be used in clay soils?  Yes Superior Walls panels can be used in most soil types, however if the soil bearing capacity is below 1,500 PSF then a soils engineers should be consulted for proper footing construction. If you are in an all clay site we recommend that stone be placed over the entire surface of the hole so that it is under the slab also. This will assist in the draining of the water from under the home helping to prevent hydrostatic pressure buildup and help to keep the living space dry.

Do I have to pour or block a frost wall for a walkout?  No, Superior Walls  manufactures a 4 foot tall wall that is used for frost protection in a walkout area that can be stick framed on, or we can place a full height basement wall stacked on and bolted to it for the walkout area.

Can you make a half wall for a daylight / garden view basement?  Because Superior Walls panels MUST be locked into place on the top of the wall we can provide a full height wall panel with window openings cast in place. This eliminates the need to stick frame a short wall on top and inside to insulate. This also eliminates the step or ledge all the way around the foundation that needs to be trimmed out on the inside.

Frequently Asked Questions