Basement walls, using precast panels, can be framed like the rest of the house for greater strength and improved performance. Instead of a poured concrete foundation, an insulated precast panel system with integral reinforced bond beams at the top and bottom, and reinforced concrete studs for treated wood nailers, provide better insulation and quick installation, according to Mel Zimmerman of Superior Walls of America, Ephrata, Pa.
Superior's wall panels have been installed in more than 15,000 homes. The licensor supplies wall forms, information on concrete technology, and training for installers. Each basement foundation is manufactured after site-specific documentation is reviewed. The panels are made in three standard heights: 4 feet (for crawl spaces), 8 feet 2 inches, and 10 feet. The concrete, containing polypropylene fibers, is specified at 5000 psi compressive strength with a 2-inch slump.
Panels can attain an R-24 energy rating within wall cavities without sacrificing interior space. Interior panels are nailed to wood furring strips 24 inches on center for easy finish work.