Frequently Asked Questions
Is a poured concrete foundation better than block foundation?
Yes, it is stronger and drier! The forces a car puts per square inch on a driveway is similar to what mother nature puts on your basement walls during winter frost and fall and spring rainy seasons. You would not think twice about parking your car on a 4″ or 5″ concrete surface. However, you would think twice about parking it on hollow core concrete block. Your poured foundation walls are twice as thick which only demonstrates its great strength. Block is also very porous. Your basement is similar to an inverted swimming pool. Instead of keeping the water in, you are keeping the water out of the basement. Never would anyone consider using block to build a pool. Yet, people build block basements all the time. Solid concrete is the right material for this structural application.
What are important factors when considering a poured concrete foundation contractor?
You must look at their experience and ask questions regarding the adjustments made for pouring walls in the different seasons. The strength and variations of the concrete mix should be adjusted throughout the year, so look for a contractor with an extensive knowledge of this practice. Your contractor should utilize admixtures, blanket the walls during the winter months, and should have a close relationship with its concrete suppliers.
The use of both vertical and horizontal steel should be considered. The proper steel reinforcement reduces the chance and severity of shrinkage cracks, and also adds the tensile strength that concrete lacks.
You should also choose a contractor that is at the forefront of his peers in both business and technology. If your foundation contractor is not around in the future your chance of getting technical help later is very marginal. Also, if the equipment and business looks professional, you will likely receive a much more professionally handled job.
How easy is it to fix a poured foundation if there is a water problem?
It is very easy and can be done from inside the basement. A high-pressured urethane is forced into the problem crack and over time it will be stronger than the foundation itself. If done correctly, no excavations or disruptions to the existing landscape are required.
Is a brick pattern available?
Yes, you have your choice of either having the pattern on the inside or the outside of your basement.
Do you pour foundations year-round?
Yes. If the proper precautions are taken, we could pour concrete with air temps down to 20 degrees below zero. However, due to safety concerns and the challenges for our concrete suppliers in frigid weather, we will generally not pour when temperatures are not above 10 degrees.
Why is a strong foundation especially important in southeastern Wisconsin?
The soils in southeastern Wisconsin vary greatly throughout the region. Free draining soil found in western Waukesha County is rated at 45 pounds per cubic foot (PCF). This is the number used in the calculation for the poured concrete foundation wall per code. Partially composed of clay, the soils in eastern Waukesha, northwestern Racine, and western Milwaukee County is rated at 60 PCF. This soil is somewhat compressive and will place a 33% greater load on the foundation wall than a 45 PCF soil. The heavy clay soils found in parts of Walworth, Dodge, Washington, eastern Milwaukee, and eastern Kenosha counties are mostly compressive and will exhibit a 75% greater load on the foundation than the 45 PCF soils. Without the use of vertical steel reinforcement, foundations built in areas with soils exceeding 45 PCF will most likely fail over time.
Do you use concrete pumps or conveyors to pour foundation walls?
If a concrete truck cannot fully drive around a site, a concrete pump or conveyor will be required. Some contractors build the price to use these machines into the cost of every foundation, but with the cost of gas and the size of these machines, it is more cost effective to pour without one. For more information, view our PDF on concrete pumping & conveying.
Do you do commercial work?
Yes. The majority of our commercial experience has been in multi-family residential projects, but we do have other commercial experience and do welcome the opportunity to review projects out for bid.
Can you pour concrete walls for an addition?
Yes, concrete walls can be a great choice when choosing to add on to your home. However, for very small projects or those with extremely limited site access, we may suggest alternative options to using a poured concrete foundation.
Do you pour driveways, sidewalks, and patios?
Unfortunately, we do not offer these services. As a general rule of thumb, we pour only concrete slabs that are supported by a foundation beneath them.
Do you offer extended warranties?
Yes. If you choose to waterproof your basement with TUFF-N-DRI, you will receive an extended warranty. Both 15 and 30-year warranty options are available. The warranties are transferable and performance-based.
Do you offer ICF Foundations?
No. Our standard INTEGRA system provides greater wall strength than that of an ICF and can be waterproofed before insulation is applied. If insulated on the outside and inside, a standard concrete wall system can achieve an R-Value similar to that of an ICF foundation.
Do your foundations contribute to the goal of constructing a green-built home?
Yes, our poured concrete foundation can contribute to this goal. We use reusable, long-lasting aluminum forms to pour our foundation walls and use a concrete mix that contains a 20% cement replacement made of recycled fly-ash. The Form-A-Drain system used to form our basement footings is comprised of 92% recycled content and it is poured-in-place, so no lumber is wasted to form footings. The practice of insulating to the top of the foundation wall also greatly reduces heat loss and the optional waterproofing membrane we offer, Tuff-N-Dri, is a water based product.