Pre-cast Concrete Foundation Installation

Project: Modular Mountain Retreat, Episode 2, Part 1

The crew from Superior Walls is preparing for the pre-cast foundation walls, which will provide the base for the modular home.

To learn about the manufacturing process for the pre-cast panels, Bob travels back to the Simplex plant in Scranton PA, where he sees how each module is framed and prepped for delivery.

Back in the Berkshires, once the panels have been lowered into place by crane, Mel Zimmerman from Superior Walls explains the foundation assembly process.
Part 1: Pre-cast Concrete Foundation Installation
Bob learns that the pre-cast panel is made of an outside shell wall of high-strength concrete combined with rebar-reinforced concrete pillars.

The ten-inch thick pillars look similar to a traditional stud wall with Styrofoam insulation. Pressure-treated furring strips attached to the pillars make drywall or paneling easy to attach. The panels have an R factor of 5. ("R factor" is the measure of a materials resistance to the passage of heat. A concrete block has an R factor of about 2).

Polyurethane caulk with special concrete adhesives is added between each panel to ensure a tight seal. The panels are attached to each other and the base with pre-installed saddle bolts.

A typical home's installation takes about five hours and, without having to wait for the foundation to set or dry, contractors can begin framing immediately. The walls are guaranteed for 15 years compared to poured-concrete walls, which generally have a warranty of one year.
Part 2: Modular Home Construction Basics
Part 3: Advantages of a Pre-cast Foundation System
Beautifully sited on wooded acreage with breathtaking views of some of the most beautiful countryside in New England, this Arts and Crafts style bungalow certainly doesn't look factory-built. You'd never know it was a modular home unless Bob took you to the Pennsylvania factory where it was built, almost from start to finish.

The house goes down the assembly line from framing, through wiring and plumbing, all the way to the installation of flooring and priming for paint.

The house is trucked to its pre-fabricated foundations on the lot, and start all the finishing touches that will prove that a modular house doesn't have to be a cookie-cutter affair.