How to Build a basement in 3.5 hours

Today was a really long day.  I headed out to the site at around 8 and after fighting through traffic, I arrived at 9.  Weaver Precast’s guys were already preparing the site.  I talked to them briefly and waited for the power company to arrive.  For this set, due to the high pressure power lines in the front of the lot, we had to shut off the power to the entire block (14 homes) to safely install the panels with a construction crane.  Needless to say, this resulted in some very unhappy neighbors, especially because today was very hot.  We had given advanced notice to neighbors 3 weeks ago but our initial date got rained out so today was it.

As you see in the video, the technician used the proverbial 10 ft pole (more like 30 ft) to shut off power.  Then the crane started lifting the wall panels into place. We had two truckloads of Superior Wall Xi panels, one by one, they were lifted and set in place.  It took the Weaver guys about three and a half hours to set the entire basement.  So, that’s how you do it!

Now, I must say here that I feel really bad for the neighbors especially because the power company did not come back to restore electricity for about three hours after the work was completed.  People were without power on a 90+ day for about 6 hours.  I thank the ones who were understanding and I can’t blame the ones who had unhappy words with me.

Why did we use Superior Walls?

  1. We used them before with great success
  2. Speed! Can you build a basement in 3.5 hours on site?
  3. Strength.  Built in a controlled environment means consistency in structural strength throughout the entire wall system of 5000+ psi
  4. Very little on-site waste: the only waste on site were three boxes of spent caulk-type adhesive
  5. Pre-insulated: The walls are pre-insulated to R-12.5 with interior XPS in the panels and EPS on the concrete studs
Superior Walls poses a few challenges for us.  This is mainly because we are attempting to achieve the Passive House standard.
  1.  An R-12.5 foundation walls are not insulated enough for us.  We plan to add another 2 inches of EPS on the outside face of the entire foundation and add more inside to hit R-32.
  2. We cannot have the ideal Passivhaus “continuous insulation”, because the wall footers cannot sit on top of foam.
  3. We cannot insulate under the slab to the edges of the SW walls due to the bearing needs of the walls.
  4. The concrete studs are potential thermal bridges.

We figured out some solutions to mitigate some of these issues but they cannot completely be eliminated.  More will be posted as we insulate the basement.

With that said, we still consider Superior Walls to be an excellent wall system for basement walls.

Weaver folks, if you are reading this, feel free to add or comment on why your walls are superior!

Here’s a spec sheet for Superior Walls

SuperiorWalls Xi

Here’s the video of the install today


2 responses to this post.

  1. @iPHM: Thanks for picking this up. You can also follow us on Twitter: zeropassiv for further updates.


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