No matter if you’re looking to buy a new home or renovating an old one, you’ll likely come across poured concrete walls. Pretty common in North Carolina, these walls are favorites among homeowners for several reasons. From their waterproofing properties to their easy-to-paint texture, they offer so much more than their traditional concrete block counterparts.
Here, we will explore all the details you’ll need to know about poured foundation walls. We’ll cover their purpose, how professionals build them, as well as talk about their pros and cons.
What Are Poured Foundation Walls?
Before going any further, it’s key to first explain what poured foundation walls actually are. Namely, they’re walls that construction workers build by pouring concrete into wooden frames. One of the main reasons why we think of them so highly is their ability to provide better lateral strength than their block counterparts. Furthermore, they’re more resistant to hydrostatic pressure (water and soil pressure).
Another feature that sets them apart from some other types of walls is their lack of joints. This allows professionals to waterproof them with little to no fuss. They’re also pretty versatile, which helps when needing to modify something even if in the late stages of construction or repairs. And if you add to that how little time it takes to install them, you’ve got yourself a real favorite among homeowners and construction crews across North America.
What Is Their Purpose?
Poured foundation walls have numerous functions, but we’re going to concentrate on five that are most important here.
- Structural support: Since they’re basement walls, they’re responsible for holding the weight of the entire building. Unlike block walls, poured ones have no problem doing their job because of their compressive and flexural strength. Construction crews usually add steel reinforcements to up their capabilities even more, making lateral and vertical loads no match for them, no matter how heavy.
- Environmental durability: Besides being able to withstand heavy horizontal weight, poured foundation walls deal with environmental loads with no problems. From wind and snow to roots and other natural hazards, they’re no match for this type of engineering masterpiece.
- Water has a hard time going through it: The whole point of basement walls is to prevent water from coming into the lower levels of your home. As such, poured foundation walls are your best choice. They’ll keep your storage space water-free and you from spending your hard-earned money on costly repairs.
- Energy-efficient: No matter where you live, energy efficiency is essential. Luckily, poured concrete walls will keep your heater from running wild during the winter, saving you from large bills. In other words, you’ll minimize heat loss.
- Fire protection: One of the things that separates concrete from most other materials is the fact that it’s fire-resistant. Moreover, it’s almost indestructible. This makes this type of wall a perfect pick in case there’s a wildfire in your area.
How Thick Should My Concrete Foundation Walls Be?
In most cases, poured concrete walls should be at least 12 inches thick. Anything above that will depend on minimum reinforcement cover and basic structural requirements. However, some other factors may come into play too. For example, soil type around your house, its reactivity, as well as the severity of exposure the walls might face.
The Process of Building a Poured Foundation Wall
Although building an entire home is a long and complex process, making these walls isn’t that big of a deal. Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can do it on your own.
The following are the steps professionals take to build poured foundation walls:
- First, the construction team will identify the best place for the foundation. They’ll do this by considering various factors such as the home’s design, soil type, grading, and so on.
- Next, they’ll mark the ground with stakes and masonry strings.
- The construction crew will then mark out the trenches, making sure that lines line up with 90-degree angles.
- Since your walls need support too, the crew will dig flat-bottom trenches.
- Afterward, it will be time to pour the concrete into wooden frames/forms, molding your future basement walls. They will need time to cure, just like any other structure made from the same material.
- The team will use rebar (steel rods) to reinforce and strengthen the joints, footings, and weak points.
- In the end, it all comes down to waiting for the concrete to cure. That may take some time.
Are Poured Foundation Walls Any Good?
We already mentioned that these types of walls are much better than, for example, concrete block walls. Still, just like any other type of man-made structure or device, poured foundation walls have their advantages and disadvantages.
First, they have incredible waterproofing properties. They’re pretty easy to construct and the concrete cures relatively quickly. Poured concrete walls are also pretty strong and have an overall solid construction that allows for flexible floor walls to sit above them.
When it comes to their negatives, we should point out that they can leak even if they offer great waterproofing properties. On the other hand, concrete can dry out and chip, which will cost you additional money. Also, if you opt for this type of wall, the team will need to work on footings and perimeter drains.
Contact Professionals for Assistance
Don’t feel like you have to do everything by yourself. Repairing and protecting your home can be tricky and you might end up risking your family’s safety. So, in case you’re looking to further waterproof or structurally stabilize your poured basement walls, you can contact our team in North Carolina for a free inspection and repair quote. Tar Heel Basement Systems professionals are more than willing to come out and help you and your family enjoy a safe home.