New Home Problems!
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.
I am very interested in knowing who installed your precast walls. Were the problems resolved to your satisfaction?
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.
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.
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
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.
i am a master builder with no vested interest in superior walls.
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.
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...
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..."
2. It took over 1 year for Superior Walls to acknowledge this.
3. Superior Walls says that the Bulging is USUALLY caused by the lack of support beams used when the concrete is poured. They are support the wall from below but (especially at windows) they often dont support the wall. They claim it is normal and that your walls are actually thicker in those spots...they also claim that concrete DOES flex.
4. The installer who did our house cut the lentils above the basement windows to prevent the windows from cracking. Thats OK with poured foundations but it is apparently a significant problem with superior walls because they have little "fudge factor" (I think of it as a truss vs stick built kind of thing).
5. Superior Walls STILL has not sent anyone out to look at the basement after 1 1/2 years and there are SUPERIOR WALLS foundations sitting bare without houses ever placed that have problems in South-Central NJ due to INSTALLER/CONCRETE issues.
6. SUPERIOR WALLS Sells a concept. They do not control or provide warranty. You need to have faith in locals for warranty and they can go in and out of business overnight---so much for a warranty
With SUPERIOR WALLS, you have to block a minimum of a 4 foot by 4 foot section in each corner of the home and the placement of sill plate seams is crucial or the walls can fail. Also, the taller the basement, the more likely a SUPERIOR wall will fail.
The Local Franchise we dealt with Was Superior Walls of Ohio. They have been great,The Local Sale Rep. even made a follow-up Call a year later to see if we were still pleased with the product.
I can say our builder had plenty of experiance with the superior wall product and Installed the proper blocking, foundation drainage system and backfilling as per Superior Walls of Ohio specifications.
I question I have to ask is: Was the basement floor concrete placed after the first floor decking installed and before backfilling? Otherwise that could cause problems later as per Superior Walls of Ohio Specifications.
One last point I would use a precast basement wall system over a cast in place basement wall system because the consistency of concrete mix remains the same throught the pour and the concrete forms remain in place until the concrete has cured out enought to remove the forms without any damage to the concrete mix. Which does not always happen with a field constructed and placed concrete basement wall system.
If your basement walls develope cracks and begin to break, would you rather have a "superior" cement wall 1.5 inchs thick resting on gravel; or a 6 inch thick poured cement wall that actually sits on a footing?
In the Toledo, Ohio area which we reside, Superior Walls of Ohio manufactured the basement walls and also set the walls in Place.
One last thing in the 29 plus years of Highway construction and Engineering I Have Yet to see a POURED CEMENT WALL.
I bet you will find that Superior Walls of Toledo isnt really SUPERIOR WALLS CORP. There is a BIG difference
Any building project cannot be better than the people that produce it, no matter what the system used is. All the common systems (block with reinforcing, poured, superior, general precast)will work well in your case if the proper measures are taken to account for the out of the ordinary forces that may be present in YOUR scenario. Garage door width openings require reinforced headers, fluid ground or high wind load areas require lateral resistence when most foundations only consider compressive resistence (vertical), etc.
The superior walls system is a clever feat of engineering - it needs to be produced by competent and conscientious people; and the installation has to be by the book.
In your case, since you want to rise up ten feet off the ground, and subject to horizontal wind load and accidental collision, you should have the any system engineered for your specific application (500.00 - 1000.00 dollars). Then you must make sure you get good people to follow the engineer's spec. Keep in mind that the taller a wall gets, the less inherent stability it will have.
If it was my property, I would look to use a 10' superior wall bolted to a 4' superior wall burried underneath it. A good superior wall dealer can do the engineering for your specific needs.
I hold a professional degree in architecture, have been building for 22 years, I have used the superior wall system in two large homes - 10' tall on slopes, and one standard 8' tall. There are no problems with any. I evaluated all factors before building. For example, both homes that are on slopes are over 100' wide and I placed the 4 foot wall under the 10 foot wall in the back to anchor it and to frost protect it. All my systems have the bulges in places (it is not a problem). Look at the bulged sections before the back fill and you will see that the skin side is not bulged.
I hope this helps
I have 2 engineering Degrees myself. Regis College of Denver and From Trenton State. The problems I have seen are absolutely install and concrete company related. The "System" is great in theory
I believe a bad installer of a block wall can still mak wall that wont collapse but a bad installer of a superior wall can cause much more serious damage.
When the superior wall installer made the garage wall system, he had no extra reinforcement between garage door bays. The garage door headers send all their weight down between the doors. The entire weight of the building sat on a sill plate and 1.5 inch of concrete wall. I had to dig it out, scratch out the foam and fill the area with concrete or risk a collapse. I was not involved until a fews weeks after the walls were installed so I never saw the plans...
Please behave professionally going forward.
I know that some of the regions are protected territories, if not all. You may not have a choice of which dealer to use. No matter though, because the most reputable people can blunder and you can't afford a blunder ton the part of your home that every other part depends. to make sure that your foundation of any type goes well:
Have the engineering double checked at least for reasonability.
Hire a consultant who can and will objectively monitor the installation to make sure the specification is realized. a very good builder will do this for you as part of the service, but unfortunately most will not unless they are specifically required to. You should be able to hire an expert consultant or project manager for two days (1 day if the foundation is not large) for approx. $1000.00
As for the second part of your question about what to do in your case, I cannot make an intelligent response. Your written explanation is not clear to me and if I thought it was clear, the chances are too great that I could mislead you because of an unknown miscommunication. My recommendation is for you to go with the dealer if you know them to be reputable and buy some insurance with a professional who has allegiance to you. Your mind and body will thank you.
Have a look at the superior walls home that I built.
Secondly the superior wall system is design with Concrete having a Min compressive strength of 5000 PSI. Where as the min.concrete conpressive strength in building code standard for structural concrete in residential home is 3000 PSI.
The design compressive strength of the superior wall system being higher, superior walls system can build the wall thinner wall thickness.
But It also goes back to the builder or owner not informed on the building systems used or checking in the subcontractors.
Almost every contractor seems to think he can place a big load anywhere on a Superior wall.
I have found that sill plate installers, modular home installers and construction crews are mostly oblivious to the Superior wall requirements and limitations(example: a garage attached after the co). They see a 8 inch wide concrete top on a "Superior wall" basement wall and assume they can lay anything they want on it because thats how they have been doing it for years.
Either that or they just really do not care...they get their money and run. I think the concept is great and I would personnaly use it because it will save money and I believe they work but I feel especially terrible for many young couples who try to do things themselves to save money and end up with nightmares
The company you deal with when you purchase your foundation package is responsible for how the installation is done and guaranteeing it is done according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Unfortunately there are many contractors that do not follow all these recommended procedures when installing the product. They cut corners to save money or they just don’t bother following the manufactures recommendations and use the same techniques they have used over the years using various materials (and have always worked) unaware of the differences between the new, “engineered systems” (such as trusses and foundation wall systems like Superior Walls) and the older construction methods and materials. Unfortunately this leads to substandard installations and the inevitable failures you hear about. Superior Walls cannot warrantee their product when they can not control each and every installation.
Many companies are brokers that use sub-contractors to do their installations. This is not generally a problem until they use a sub-contractor they are not familiar with and ends up doing substandard work. This is a problem in the construction industry that is very difficult to control. While this subcontractor may not do many installations before their substandard wok becomes apparent the damage is already done.
The best way to insure you get a good job is by purchasing from a company that does all their work “in house” (using their own people), has a good and proven track record you can check on, has been in business for a reasonably long time, and provides you with an iron clad guarantee that meets your expectations. The research is up to you (the customer), and if you do not do the research on the company you are purchasing from, the end result will ultimately rest on your shoulders with no one else to blame.
I have been in construction for over 35 years and am now a certified, licensed home inspector with no ties to Superior Walls. I do not believe Superior Walls deserves a bad rap caused primarily by other individuals or companies that are improperly installing their product. I have seen both good and bad results from Superior Wall foundations. Almost every bad result I have seen was due to not following the proper procedures when installing the system, waterproofing, or backfilling against the walls. Cutting corners to save money is the real culprit. But that is no different that what can be said for most all other materials and systems I have seen and/or used over the years.
Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone
For more information about me, my qualifications, and/or home inspections please visit my website at:
"Build Your Dreams on us!!"
We have a big oak tree close to the
house and a bowing-in cinder
block wall in the basement with a
long 1/4"-wide horizontal crack in it.
Outside, next to the cinder
block wall, there is a concrete wall
supporting the bricks. The tree is 3 feet away from the corner of the house.
The house stands on top of the hill, the foundation wall is about 9' tall,
so the foundation itself is deep
under the ground level at this side
of the house. There are no cracks in the bricks at all. The house is 40
years old. We had no water leaks
and the basement is dry.
Could you explain in what way do the
roots contribute to the problem?
Can they put enough pressure from the outside to make the foundation wall bow in? Doesn't the concrete outside
wall protect the foundation cinder block wall from that?
We may need to cut the tree down, but
it is likely to cost us a lot, so
I would like to understand more before
I make a decision about the tree.
What ways of solving the crack
problem would you recommend?
Thanks a lot, your help is greatly
it wasn't cracked until this year.
They were installed over a porous gravel like substance, a covered pipe was installed around the outside to insure drainage.I have had zero problems-dry,straight,no water intrusion at all.I suspect
the drain was not used and water has been allowed to build around the outside at the base.The hydraulic pressure is going to cause failure.How do builders expect good results when they don't follow installation instructions?The homeowner is left with an expensive repair.
I am seeking direction on how to install a window above ground in my superior wall.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Actually, I also build a new house in USA, Woodstock and in summers sunlight is the big issue over there.I tried many things to get rid of it but I didn't find any solution for it. After that, my best friend told me about the home window tinting services offered by tint guy and I checked their websitehttp://www.thetintguy.com/residential-window-tinting/ for more details, I called them and after their work, I am fully satisfied with their work.You can also try their services.
I would be happy to advise or assist if I can.
Superior Walls are a building product, like every other building product you can find at your lumber yard or building supply.
They do have to be used correctly just like every other building product.
Superior Walls do carry a warranty unlike any other foundation product. The warranty covers the wall panels from water intrusion through the panels and the seams with the caveat that the builder must use them properly and follow the manufactures instructions for integrating them into the building.
Very frequently we get called when there are issues because the builder is out of business, can't be found or won't respond. We print our name , phone number and website on every wall so you can always find us.
Do you attribute the failure to superior walls or the workmanship?
I live 7 miles from PA. In Ohio. Are you in Western PA?
We are considering superior walls.
I wish you well