COMMUNITY FORUM

ceksnoopy

06:35PM | 02/17/07
Member Since: 02/16/07
2 lifetime posts
We are building a home on the lake in south carolina. We have to build up 4.5 to 5 ft to be above the flood zone. So we decide to build up 10 feet so that we could use that space under the house garge and shop etc. I almost decided to use superior walls however after reading some of these post has me thinking other wise. What kind of basement would you use knowing all the pros and cons of each system. And for fyi purposes how much experience do you have years and if any with superior walls.

thanks Chris

truewbil

03:27AM | 02/19/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
1. Superior walls DOES NOT WARRANTY their product. The Cement Company is responsible for the product.

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

truewbil

03:30AM | 02/19/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
Would McDonalds come out to investigate if a franchise was serving defective hamburgers. YOU BETTER BELEIVE IT!

truewbil

03:39AM | 02/19/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
It may be that placing a concrete patio along the house caused weight that led to the basement walls flexing inward according to SUPERIOR WALLS.

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.

home02

05:31PM | 02/19/07
Member Since: 08/26/05
8 lifetime posts
As I posted before We have experiance no problems with our Superior Wall Basement.

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.

truewbil

03:31AM | 02/20/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
We placed a modular home onto the superior walls. As far as poured vs superior walls, I think the concept is good but the SUPERIOR WALLS people have NO control over the concrete company or the Wall installer. In our case, the problem was with the installer. To prevent law suits, HE CLOSED HIS BUSINESS SO WE HAVE NO WARRANTY!!! (incidentally, within 2 months he installed superior walls in the home across the street under a different company name...a true insult to us...)

truewbil

03:35AM | 02/20/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
SUPERIOR WALLS claims it is due to sagging of the insulation foam during pouring of the concrete. They are poured on "layed down" over the foam. It makes some sense. REM: SUPERIOR WALLS takes no responsibility for the quality of concrete used or for the installer. They do not warranty their products!

truewbil

03:39AM | 02/20/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
Consider this...(no matter what caused the problem....)

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?

home02

02:49PM | 02/20/07
Member Since: 08/26/05
8 lifetime posts
I all I can Say I'm Sorry to hear Your experiances with Superior Walls is horrible!!

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.

truewbil

03:17AM | 02/21/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
I should has elusidated... 1.5 inch versus 6 to 8 inches. I would rather have 8 inches.

I bet you will find that Superior Walls of Toledo isnt really SUPERIOR WALLS CORP. There is a BIG difference

mlsemi

02:17PM | 02/22/07
Member Since: 11/12/06
5 lifetime posts
Truewbil, as you well know the integrity of the superior wall system is based on the 1.75" skin AND the studs that are 5" thick - together AND the steel reinforcing. The walls and andy concrete can flex but do NOT stretch (to the point that your claims could be true). The bowing that you have been whining about exceeds the properties of concrete. You have been crying and spewing hatred for months about something that has absolutely no effect (negative or positive) on your home. What qualifications do you have to support your assumed expertise; your statements show that you do not understand the concept of the system which the science of engineering continues to validate. To get some understanding, answer this question: what does the poured wall footing sit on? The answer may wake you up. You sound like a bitter old woman who has buyers remorse. Have some intellectual honesty and find something productive to do.

mlsemi

03:30PM | 02/22/07
Member Since: 11/12/06
5 lifetime posts
Chris

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

ceksnoopy

04:19PM | 02/22/07
Member Since: 02/16/07
2 lifetime posts
I have asked many people about superior walls in my area and all say it is a great product. My next question does it matter who i get superior in nc or sc. is there a difference between plant that make the superior walls or should I get the best product for any one plant. We are thinking about going down 3 or 4 feet down and the front side to the river will be down 3 to 4 feet but the side to the drive way will be full 10 feet exposed but the 3 sides will be under. What would you suggest in this case. Thanks Chris

truewbil

03:27AM | 02/23/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
EXCELLENT POST!

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...

truewbil

03:36AM | 02/23/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
I heartily recommend you have an engineer carefully look over the plans and wall design unless you have experience with building stress. Garage door openings, corners, basement openings, window lentils and seams are all potentially dangerous areas in a structure because of the down and sideways loads. The installer often has no idea what home or building is going to sit on their basement walls so the engineer has to follow the building pressure points down through the basement walls to the earth to make sure everything is safe for the homeowner.

truewbil

04:00AM | 02/23/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
I did not ever buy or have a superior wall personally. I know of them because of problems individuals encountered and then asked me to investigate. The things I have seen led me to believe that in numerous cases (especially southern NJ)there is a disconnect between superior wall producer, wall installer, home contractor and archetect. And the homeowners have no idea that "Superior Walls" does not warranty the product. EXAMPLE I have seen: The homeowner and Archetect change a section of their home from a truss to stick built roof AFTER the original plans went to the superior walls fabricator. The archetect changes the forces but he/she does not realise the superior wall may now collapse. ...and the installer/fabricator responsible simply closes his business and reopens another name leaving a homeowner stuck with no recourse. I hope it never happens to you.

Please behave professionally going forward.

mlsemi

04:59AM | 02/23/07
Member Since: 11/12/06
5 lifetime posts
Chris

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.
1369 which superior wall

home02

04:51PM | 02/23/07
Member Since: 08/26/05
8 lifetime posts
In my line of work (Public Construction) if the engineer changes the design after the contract is awarded and the orginal shop drawings are approved. Then the owner is held responsible of the cost overrun and or failure of the design. Not the Producer of the product or the contractor.

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.

truewbil

09:58AM | 02/26/07
Member Since: 04/09/06
17 lifetime posts
Nothing is concrete.... but I think that when job changes result in an inadequate foundation (even if the homeowner signs off) it is the responsibility of the engineer to pick up on the impact of the changes to protect the customer. And it is the responsibility of the new builder to look at the foundation below any spots where severe load will rest. (Just for rule-of-thumb obvious stuff)

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

Glenn Good

08:08AM | 03/01/07
Member Since: 09/10/03
314 lifetime posts
There is a very huge reason that Superior Walls do not warrantee their product. That reason is they sell a franchise to other companies to sell and install their product. Therefore it becomes almost impossible for them to personally guarantee each and every installation is done properly.

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.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me, my qualifications, and/or home inspections please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com
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