Foundation Wall Types
There are a Variety of Foundation Wall Types
to Choose from when Building New Construction
By: Mark J. Donovan
Every home or building rests on
foundation walls. Without foundations walls, a home would rapidly settle into
the earth and eventually collapse. There are a number of foundation wall types
that have been, and are still used, in home construction. Foundation wall types
include, poured concrete, concrete block, preserved lumber, brick and stone.
Today poured concrete is the most
prevalent foundation wall type used in new home construction.
Brick and stone, as well as
concrete block are still used, however to a much lesser extent.
Unbelievably, preserved lumber is also still used sometimes in foundation
Foundation wall types used on a
home are dependent upon a couple of key factors, the vintage of the home,
and the location of the home. Older homes built in New England for example,
had foundation walls that were commonly constructed out of stone. Today they
are almost exclusively built out of poured concrete.
Photo By Mark Donovan
In other regions of the country,
where there was easy access to clay soils, brick was commonly used. Again, those
regions of the country today commonly use poured concrete foundation walls.
All foundation wall types need to sit
on a footing that sits below the frost grade. Typically footings are made out of
poured concrete today. Poured concrete footings range in width and depth
depending upon the number of levels in the new home, as well as the soil
Poured concrete foundation walls are
constructed by building forms on top of the footings, and then pouring concrete
into them. Once the concrete foundation walls have partially cured the forms are
removed. After approximately one month, the foundation is considered cured
enough to be backfilled. Backfilling involves pushing soil up against the
exterior of the foundation walls.
Prior to backfilling it is preferable
to first pour the concrete basement slab. The concrete slab adds backpressure to
the foundation walls, so that when backfilling the risk of pushing the
foundations walls off the footings are reduced.
Concrete block is another fairly
popular foundation wall type. Again, a footing needs to first be poured, prior
to laying the concrete block foundation walls. Again, the footing dimensions are
dependent upon the expected load on them.
In addition to the foundation walls
already mentioned there are also other derivate foundation wall types. For
example foundation walls can be constructed out of precast concrete and
insulating concrete foundation forms. As with any foundation wall type, these
types of foundation walls need to be specifically designed for the expected
structural load of the home.
With precast concrete foundation
forms, the concrete foundation wall panels are manufactured off site and then
installed on the jobsite with the aid of a crane. Precast foundation walls can
come in a variety of heights and lengths, depending upon the foundation wall
Insulating Concrete Foundation Forms
Insulating concrete foundation walls,
provide both structural support and insulation. The forms themselves are made
out of an insulation material and become a permanent and integral part of the
finished concrete wall foundations.
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