Pouring the Upper-Story Walls and Saving Energy with Concrete Construction

Project: Building an Addition for an Elderly Parent, Episode 2, Part 3



The finished addition will look like the original traditional shingled home and be indistinguishable from the house, but the construction technologies and innovative products in use are anything but traditional. Bob talks with Ron Ardres from ReddiForm about their polystyrene blocks, or ICFs, that reduce steps and labor.  With contractor Todd LaBarge, Bob learns about Insul-Tarp and efficient concrete pours.  Jason McKinnon of Viega North America and Tim Cutler, of TJ’s Plumbing & Heating explain PEX tubing and radiant heat.  Jim Niehoff of the Portland Cement Association and builder Howard Brickman talk about the almost unheard of speed with which the addition is coming together and the anticipated energy-efficiency of the new building. By using concrete and foam construction for the footing, garage, first-floor slab, and walls, and also being used to set up for the upper levels of the addition, significant savings in time, energy, and cost are achieved.

Part 1: Building with Polystyrene Forms and Concrete
Part 2: Building a First-Floor Slab and Walls with Concrete
Part 3: Pouring the Upper-Story Walls and Saving Energy with Concrete Construction
Bob talks with contractor Todd LaBarge about the concrete pour. The process is very efficient, with the first-floor walls put up in two days plus one day for staging. With just two concrete pours, the footing, garage, first-floor slab, and walls have all been put in place. All the formwork is in place for the upper levels of the addition, including the gable end. Bob talks with Jim Niehoff of the Portland Cement Association and with builder Howard Brickman about how constructing homes with concrete can save a lot of time and give homeowners a very energy-efficient home. This type of construction is particularly desirable in disaster-prone areas, because it provides stronger protection against hurricanes and tornados. In this project, the construction process has eliminated the need for any exterior wall framing or insulation. The shell of the addition is already complete except for the rafters on the roof. The finished addition will look like a traditional shingled home and will be indistinguishable from the original section of the house. A home with this combination of concrete and foam can save homeowners about 30 to 40 percent on heating and cooling costs. The radiant heating system put into the addition was downsized because of the energy savings involved with concrete construction. It is estimated that the concrete addition will cost 30 percent as much to heat as the rest of the house.
More and more homeowners are converting their houses into multi-generational homes for themselves, their children, and their aging parents. In Norwell, MA, Bob Vila meets a couple making room for a mother-in-law.

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