COMMUNITY FORUM

Ron375

10:54AM | 08/05/02
Member Since: 08/04/02
2 lifetime posts
Bvmisc
My wife & I just built a new modular home last october. The problem we are having is with the basement. The basement walls are Superior Walls. The basement floor has over 25 cracks in it and the superior walls have 18 cracks as of now. My builder claims this is all normal but I disagree and other contractors and cement experts disagree also. I found out the floor was poured on #1 limestone gravel, wasn't compressed and has no vapor barrier under it. I am starting to get black mold on my stairs leading to upstairs and on my floor joists. The builder will not admit to any wrong doing. The subcontractor that pour the floor is a friend of mine and told me about the shortcuts that were taken with the basements. We have an appointment next week with an attorney to see what needs to be done. I do have someone coming tomorrow to look at the problems and give me an estimate of what needs to be done. I would also like to hear from anyone else that may have some comments on this issue. I am located in Pennsylvania.

GlennG

01:33PM | 08/05/02
The proper procedure to pour a basement floor is this:

1. A base of 4” of #57 or #67 washed stone should be placed over a compacted sub-grade.
2. A 6-mil polyethylene vapor barrier should be placed over the stone and all holes and seams should be taped or sealed.
3. Welded wire fabric (reinforcement wire) should be placed with a 6” minimum overlap at all seams.
4. The concrete should be 4” thick and poured at a 4” maximum slump, pulling the reinforcement wire up into the concrete as it is placed.
5. After the concrete is finished it should be protected with a moisture retaining cover, or chemical curing compound to maintain as much moisture as possible for a minimum of 14 days.

Not following the procedure above will result in excessive cracking. The superior walls should not have a cracking problem either. I would also suggest you contact Superior Walls and tell them about your problem. If the builder did not follow all the manufacturers recommended procedures during the installation he should be liable for these repairs. If he did follow all the proper procedures Superior Walls should make the repairs under their warrantee.

Glenn

Ron375

02:12AM | 08/06/02
Member Since: 08/04/02
2 lifetime posts
Thanks for the reply Glenn. After the basement was dug out. they dumped #1 limestone in and when superior walls got there, they packed down the gravel where the walls sit. The rest of the gravel was not packed at all. There was no vapor barrier or wire mesh laid down. The cement was poured on top of the loose gravel. The cement subcontractor did say the floor is 6" thick. There was no cover or chemical curing compound put on either. I did have the rep from Superior Walls come down and he claims the cracks are all normal. Too many shortcuts were taken on this basement. I have someone coming today to look at the problem and give me full details of what to do to fix it and how much it will cost. Then I have an appointment with my attorney. I have been told by others that this floor will need to come out and re-poured.

GlennG

01:36PM | 08/06/02
The thickness of the concrete is of no help at all if there is no reinforcement wire or steel in the concrete. The only substitute for steel reinforcement is to have fibers added to the concrete at the plant. You are correct, the only way at this point to repair it is to replace it.

Glenn

MarvinT

07:21AM | 06/27/04
Member Since: 06/26/04
2 lifetime posts
I have a new home with Superior Walls. I am curious as the outcome of your complaints.

realjewel

11:29AM | 08/10/04
Member Since: 08/09/04
1 lifetime posts
We are getting ready to contract for Superior Walls with a company in Ephrata PA.

I am very interested in knowing who installed your precast walls. Were the problems resolved to your satisfaction?

Carol

wstagner

06:16AM | 02/25/05
Member Since: 02/24/05
2 lifetime posts
Hi Carol....it's probably too late for you but before you use Superior Walls, as the local franchisee WHO the 15 year warranty is with. We made the mistake of using Superior Walls on a 2800 sq ft ranch house in Jan of 2004 and so far we regret it. No one can figure out how the water is getting into segments of the foundation. The Local Franchisee here in Yorkville IL area has since gone out of business leaving us and our builder "holding the bag."

There's no mention of warranty details on http://www.superiorwalls.com.

We called the main office in PA and we were informed they have NO responsibility for the warranty....is up to the franchisee. After initial contact a Mr. Hawthorne was unresponsive to several phone calls.

I've also contacted Bob Villa via this web site and got no reply. I'd like to think that if Bob were aware of the warranty details, he might not be so embracing of the Superior Walls foundation.

I'm not looking to sue anyone, I just want a dry basement and thus far this is not the case. I will update this thread if anything changes.

Kymberly

05:17AM | 03/08/05
Member Since: 03/07/05
2 lifetime posts
my husband and I moved into our modular house with superior walls 2 weeks ago. we have several horizontal cracks 2 feet below grade that are leaking and 30+ vertical cracks. we also have black mold growing on most of the 2x4 studs. they are in the process of ripping off all of the insulation, testing the mold and the concrete.

wstagner

06:11AM | 03/08/05
Member Since: 02/24/05
2 lifetime posts
Please keep us posted on your progress. Are you getting cooperation from the company? We and our builder is left "holding the bag" since the local franchisee went out of business.

I think Bob Villa should get involved and stop recommending this product by virtue of their advertising.

Our basement floor has numerous fissure cracks that are widening.


Kymberly

04:54AM | 03/10/05
Member Since: 03/07/05
2 lifetime posts
We are waiting for engineers from Superior Wall of America and Superior Wall of Hudson County (who made the walls)to give their report. The franchisee has been very helpful so far in trying to coorindate everyting. I will update on the result.

EagleRock198

08:51AM | 09/03/05
Member Since: 09/02/05
1 lifetime posts
Hi! We're thinking of using Superior Wall for my basement's foundation. Does anyone have any success or nightmare stories on this product. I am wondering if the manufacturer corrected the cracking problem that some people reported.

Thanks,

Mike.

truewbil

08:59AM | 04/10/06
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
I dont know about Superior walls corporate...I have had to deal with the PA and outher NJ dealer...whew...

I will let you know how well they respond to problems because their dealer is a typical contrator type. The first time we dealt with him, he kept saying "(expletives deleted)sue me, sue me, I'm not fixing anything (that was for incorrect wall heights at the stair entrance)". Now the walls under 4 of the basement windows bulge in 1.5 inches between the concrete studs... We'll see if they do anything about it. I think we will be getting an attorney soon

Bill- New Jersey

truewbil

04:51PM | 05/20/06
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
At our Home (2500Sq ft 2 story, we put in superior walls in Southern NJ. The walls bulge in 1.5 inches between the verticale studs below each basement window. Some other wall sections bulge in as well. I am sure a 1 1/2 inch bulge over 24 inches is bad with concrete but it doesnt leak yet. Superior walls wont come out to look at the problems. They are terrible to deal with

truewbil

04:54PM | 05/20/06
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
The first 5-6 calls, they denied responsibility for our bulging superior walls. Now they just dont answer the phone. We called another Superior walls supplier and they raved about warranty but when I asked what to do if there is a problem and you need to go over the local suppliers head, they hung up...

newmidwest

10:00AM | 08/26/06
Member Since: 08/25/06
1 lifetime posts
I would like to know if anyone has found out what causes the slight bulging in some sections of Superior Walls and whether it is merely cosmetic or if it represents a structural flaw/problem. If it is a structural flaw that can lead to problems, what is the fix/resolution?

home02

06:04PM | 08/31/06
Member Since: 08/26/05
8 lifetime posts
Our present is two (2) years old. We used the Superior Wall foundation system and have experiance no problems with it. No Buldges or Cracks.

I think some of the reason's we have experaince no problems are due to 1) Backfilling of the foundation was started and completed once the basement floor and first floor deck were installed. 2) The exterior walls were waterproofed with the Tuff-n-Dry System(System we used has the one (1) insulation/drainboard installed) 3) The footer tiles are wrapped in filter fabric to prevent soil infiltation as well as one foot of 3/4 inch aggregate placed on top of the footer tiles and against the drain, then cover with a filter fabric material to promote postive drainage and reduce hydrostatic pressure against the walls.4) Finally the entire superior walls system rests on top of 12 to 14 inches of compacted No. 3/8 inch and 3/4 inch washed aggregate for postive drainage and reduced hydrostatic pressure under the basement floor and at the base of the foundation walls. The extra expense of waterproofing the walls, wrapping the footer tiles in the filter material and additional compacted aggregate for the footer system has been well worth it.

I would and have recommonded Superior Walls to anyone building a new home.

truewbil

01:47PM | 09/07/06
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
Our install was very similiar afa waterproofing, foundation, use of agregate, fabric and power compression prior to install of the walls. We put the 10 foot basement walls in before the floor tho.... Superior Walls informed me that bulging walls are very common with Superior Walls and that they don't necessarily mean there is a problem. They also are adament that warranty problems are the responsibility of your local rep or cement maker and if they go out of business or refuse to help, you are screwed... There is NO NATIONWIDE WARRANTY. When our local Superior Walls rep cut the lintel above the windows it caused a series of other troubles. I am so glad someone had a good install. Enjoy it

mlsemi

10:16AM | 11/13/06
Member Since: 11/12/06
5 lifetime posts
calm down and stop looking for problems that aren't there. i have seen bulging from when the form (styrofoam) flexed during production. concrete doesn't stretch. think about it. if you still want to believe you have a major problem, then cut the foam away from the bulge and check for cracks. if there are no cracks, then the bulge is there from production and nothing to worry about.

i am a master builder with no vested interest in superior walls.

mlsemi

10:39AM | 11/13/06
Member Since: 11/12/06
5 lifetime posts
Would Mcdonalds comne out if one restaurant sold you a bad meal?

if your *site conditions* caused your walls to bulge and not break or leak then the superior system must be very good. there are a lot of factors that can act on a foundation. any lateral movement would be due to site conditions beyond what is considerered to act on a foundation unless your builder alerts the foundation company to extenuating circumstances.

superior walls are engineered to resist typical forces that act on a foundation. the engineering shows that the system will withstand the forces actiong on it better thatn a block foundation. if you have problems now, they would be worse if you used block. of course this is valid as long as the system was installed properly and there were no improper alterations made.

many building type companies do not respond to frantic claims that are obviously unfounded because anything you say can be yused against you in a court of law. the unfortuante fact is if y ou get any case into court, some amount will get paid no mattrer what.


LicensedWaterproofer

09:30PM | 11/14/06
Member Since: 03/05/04
301 lifetime posts


MOST likely, the reason(s) a basement wall can crack-leak-bow is from one OR more of following---

1) the SOIL that was used as Backfill against the outside of the wall settled/compacted which causes a spring-like lateral force against the way and caused the wall to crack-leak-begin to bow inward. Most builders use the SAME soil that was excavated to backfill, a few will use a LITTLE gravel-peastone BUT, still backfill w/mostly the same soil which was excavated.

2) the backhoe/equipment operator didn`t know and/or didn`t use any-enough CARE when backfilling heavy/large amounts of same soil against newly built walls. Walls where steel reinforcing rods were NOT used or sometimes, bsmt floor was NOT poured/installed and they still backfilled. Thing about using heavy equipment ALONE is that the WEIGHT of the equipement itself, when operated near/along basement walls can/could cause a wall to crack/bow.

3) the soil that was used for backfill finally got its first few soaking/rain and its always possible that, when clay is used as backfill against bsmt walls it, expands when it gets wet and then, contracts. THIS kind of Lateral-SOIL-PRESSURE OFTEN causes new/old wall(s) to crack,leak,bow inwards.

4) Tree ROOTS, roots can grow along/against outside of basement walls and certainly could cause a crack, leak, help push a wall inward.

5) some cracks/leaks can be caused from underground vibrations, again, from heavy equipment being operated close by, like in the street or even from house being close to a highway, yup.

Don`t believe me, fine...read this...

http://www.bobvila.com/HowTo_Library/Why-Foundations_Fail-Foundation-A2095.html

take time and read it....

for instance, see --Compaction-- 2nd para

"The problem is that the PRESSURE from the compacting process gets transmitted THROUGH the Soil to the WALL. Basement walls have been known to CRACK or fall over while earth is being dumped against them OR,compacted around them; so foundations should ALWAYS be BRACED BEFORE Backfilling.

AFTER compaction, SOIL is under compression like a spring and CONTINUE`s to PUSH Against the foundation as it tried to expand.......in practice sands and gravels densify or compact more readily than silts or clays, creating LESS of this springlike FORCE--one more GOOD reason to use them for backfilling!!!!

--Careful On Construction Site--

"When there`s a heavy load on the ground next to a foundation, some of the PRESSURE is transferred to the WALL.During construction, bulldozers and trucks that come near a basement wall can add enough surcharge Pressure to damage the wall. A NEW building being built next to an existing basement can also INCREASE the Underground PRESSURE and DAMAGE the EXISTING foundation..."

Got milk?


LicensedWaterproofer

09:36PM | 11/14/06
Member Since: 03/05/04
301 lifetime posts


http://www.bobvila.com/HowTo_Library/Why_Foundations_Fail-Foundation-A2095.html
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