Frequently Asked Questions About Our Precast Concrete
These FAQs can provide you with the most updated information related to Superior Walls and its energy-efficient precast concrete foundation systems.
Superior Walls feature patented, insulated, precast concrete wall panels that are formed in a factory-controlled setting and delivered to the new construction site, where the panels are lifted into position with a crane and carefully bolted together and sealed. The walls are custom-designed and built to fit virtually any building type and architectural style, complete with window and door openings.
What is the difference between Superior Walls precast concrete and conventional concrete foundations?
Superior Walls foundations are dry, using a special low water/cement ratio concrete that requires no additional damp proofing (US Markets; see ESR-1662). They are warm, with full-length insulation built in for energy savings. Superior Walls high strength 5000+ psi concrete is reinforced with steel rebar and polypropylene fibers for added strength and performance. The wall panels also feature convenient features like built-in accesses for wiring and stud facings for easy drywall installation with screws. Another important feature for builders is the speed of installation. A typical home foundation can be installed in less than one day. The walls can then be built upon or a modular home may be set on the walls immediately after installation.
Superior Walls uses a footing of crushed stone, along with a steel reinforced footer beam. The purpose of any wall footing is to distribute the wall’s load over a sufficiently large area of soil so that the soil bearing capacity is not exceeded. Superior Walls utilizes a crushed stone footing to accomplish this. This properly prepared layer of clean crushed stone transfers the load from our wall system to the soil. See the SWA Builder Guideline Booklet (MAN 42-9000) for more information. A copy of the BGB may be obtained from this website.
Superior Walls panels are bolted together at the top and the bottom of each panel and a one-part polyurethane sealant is used to seal the panel joints of the foundation system. This one-part polyurethane sealant is specifically manufactured for use with precast concrete products.
The original R-5 wall system was delivered with 1″ of DOW insulation with an R-value of 5. The Xi wall system has 2-1/2″ of DOW insulation which has an R-value of 12.5. The Xi Plus wall system is available with an R-value of 21.3 (US markets) and 23 (Canada). Please check with your local Superior Walls supplier for availability, as not all Superior Walls products are available in all market areas.
Superior Walls brand products are manufactured and installed by independently owned and operated factories licensed by Superior Walls of America, Ltd.. Each of these independently operated factories (Licensees) provides a limited warranty on their Superior Walls products. The warranty covers defects in workmanship and materials as well as sidewall water penetration. Warranty terms may vary because of state and local regulations and the market strategies of individual licensees. Service under the warranty is solely the responsibility of the licensee.
The depth of the crushed stone footing is determined by considering the allowable soil bearing capacity on the building site and cross-referencing that with the combined footing load per lineal foot, using a table in the SWA Builder Guideline Booklet (MAN 42-9000 BGB – US Version or MAN 42-9027 BGB – Canadian Edition).
The ICC Evaluation Service has created an Evaluation Service Report (ESR) for our Xi wall systems (ESR-1662), which is available from our website. In Canada, the Canadian Construction Materials Centre (CCMC) has created Evaluation Report CCMC 13628-R for our Xi wall systems. These Reports contain valuable design value information, such as allowable loads and uses for the wall system.
Because Superior Walls are custom made, wall lengths vary. Maximum wall length is determined by panel weight, allowable crane reach and foundation geometry. The standard wall heights are 4′-0″, 4′-8″, 8′-2″, 9′-0″, and 10′-0″. Not all wall heights are available in all areas. Please check with your local Superior Walls supplier for availability.
To comply with building code requirements, the wall must be supported at both the top and bottom of the wall prior to the placement of backfill. This means that the framing/decking connection at the top of the wall must be completed and the floor slab at the bottom of the wall must be installed prior to backfilling.
Please refer to our Builder Guideline Booklet available on our Public Documents page for more details.
Superior Walls panels are produced with a brushed finish that may simply be left as is, or that readily accepts multiple exterior finishes like paint, stucco, cultured/manufactured stone, or stone or brick veneer through the use of ledges that are cast onto the walls during the manufacturing process. Major paint manufacturers typically recommend the use of elastomeric acrylic paints and other similar masonry paint or stain products with precast concrete products. Stucco and cultured/manufactured stone should be applied per the manufacturer’s recommendations, which could involve first cleaning the wall panels with a pressure washer, then prepping the wall surface by etching the surface with a wire brush or a masonry acid wash solution. Wire lath could be used to span the panel joints, but must be attached with masonry screws.
After the corner studs and all blocking are in place, the Superior Walls panels are ready for drywall. A minimum ½” drywall is recommended to span the stud spacing. It is best to leave a ½” gap between the concrete floor and the bottom of the drywall to prevent moisture absorption into the drywall. This moisture can cause drywall deterioration and paint finish problems. Attach the drywall using 1” drywall screws (fine thread / sharp point). A solid bead of construction adhesive should be applied to the top bond beam and the face of the stud.
Additional insulation may be installed in Superior Walls products. Since open-cell products, like fiberglass batts, could contribute to moisture issues, we recommend closed-cell insulation products, like DOW Styrofoam. The idea here is to prevent the moisture present in the air from penetrating the insulation and reaching the cooler wall surface and condensing. Closed cell insulation will keep any airborne vapor on the room (warm) side of the insulation, minimizing chances for condensation.
Please refer to “Adding Insulation” on our Public Documents page for more details.
The Superior Walls “Homeowner’s Guide”, available from this website individually or as a part of the complete “Builder Guideline Booklet”, contains helpful information about finishing your basement. We also have many helpful “How to” documents in our Documents Center on adding insulation to your basement walls, drywall blocking, and many other topics.
Yes. Following an evaluation of issues like point loads, bearing walls, and frost protection, a window or door can be added to an existing Superior Walls foundation. See your Superior Walls rep for guidance when considering adding a door or window. As with other procedures that involve revising the existing foundation wall, an engineer or other person competent in applying the structural design principals involved should be consulted.
Please refer to the “Tech Resources” section our Public Documents page for more details.