FAQ

What is the difference between Poured Concrete vs. Block Walls

  1. i. Block Walls
    1. 1. A block wall is made from Portland cement, gravel and sand. Block walls use larger pieces of gravel.
    2. 2. This can sometimes put the wall at risk with constant moisture build up or heavy moisture climate conditions.
    3. 3. Blocks are often hollow and sometimes filled with concrete for additional strength.
    4. 4. Used for landscaping, retaining walls, basements, and houses.
    5. 5. According to the Milwaukee Builders Association study, Block Walls are:
      1. a. Accepted by the public
      2. b. Masons are familiar with this process
      3. c. Cracks can be repaired easily
      4. d. Partition walls are easier to build
      5. e. Acoustical absorption
  2. ii. Poured Concrete Walls
    1. 1. According to the Milwaukee Builders Association study, Block Walls are:
      1. a. Stronger
      2. b. More waterproof
      3. c. Finish is more versatile
      4. d. Fewer Call backs
    2. 2. It comes as a ready mix in a concrete truck and is poured in place.
    3. 3. Scheduling. All things considered, it takes less time do poured concrete walls than it does to do a block wall.
    4. 4. According to the Concrete Foundations Association of North America, the following are the benefits of a Poured Concrete Wall
      1. a. Poured concrete walls provide builders and owners with stronger, drier, better basements. They offer performance that block walls simply can’t match, at a competitive price.
      2. b. Strength: Poured walls have a compressive and flexural strength several times that of block & far exceed required safety factors.
      3. c. Water Resistance: The increased strength, density, and joint-free construction of poured walls dramatically reduce basement water problems. A water-tight basement means less call backs for the builder or developer… less warranty problems.
      4. d. Fire Resistance: Solid wall construction affords at least twice as much protection against fire as hollow core concrete block.
      5. e. Design Flexibility: Poured wall techniques are adaptable to most home designs & offer choice of either brick or smooth finishes.
      6. f. Maintenance Ease: Poured wall construction is virtually maintenance free.

What are some of the Pros and Cons of Poured Concrete Walls?

  1. i. Pros for Block Walls
    1. 1. Blocks are easily accessible
    2. 2. Accepted by the public as the norm
    3. 3. Partition walls are easier to build
  2. ii. Cons for Block Walls
    1. 1. More call backs for repairs or cracks
    2. 2. Structural failure to the elements because not have as high of a flexural and compression factor
  3. iii. Pros for Poured in place concrete walls
    1. 1. Walls can go up faster
    2. 2. No joints Withstands a variety of conditions making it more durable.
    3. 3. Stronger because it is solid concrete with reinforced.
    4. 4. Poured Concrete walls are resistant to fires and are used as fire walls in some buildings.
  4. iv. Cons for Poured in place concrete walls
    1. 1. Curing time over block curing time is longer

Is there a building code for poured concrete walls?

  1. i. The code book for concrete builders is called: 2018 International Building Code
    1. 1. The IBC regulates the foundations, footers, and walls for structural and load strengths needed

How thick should a poured concrete wall be?

  1. i. 8 inches is minimum
  2. ii. 10 inches thick on walls taller than 8 feet

How thick should a poured concrete wall be if it has significant soil up against it?

  1. i. Higher PSI for extra strength
  2. ii. Poured concrete foundation walls that are less than 8 feet tall and have soil outside that is 6 or 7 feet deep against the wall can often be 8 inches thick and function quite well.
  3. iii. As soon as you go higher or have greater depths of soil pushing against the wall, you need to increase the thickness to 10 inches.
  4. iv. Wall Footing Thickness. For masonry or concrete construction, the minimum foundation wall will be 6 inches.
  5. v. The minimum reinforced concrete footing thickness will be 6 inches or 1-1/2 times the length of the footing projection from the foundation wall, whichever is greater.

When do I need to use rebar in a poured concrete wall?

  1. i. In most residential situations, #4 rod at 12 inches o.c. will be plenty for 8-inch-thick footings up to 4 feet wide. The steel should be placed about 3 inches up from the bottom of the footing.

How thick should a slab be?

  1. i. Standard concrete floor slab thickness in residential construction is 4 inches.
  2. ii. Five to six inches is recommended if the concrete will receive occasional heavy loads, such as motor homes or garbage trucks.
  3. iii. Around the edge of the slab, the concrete forms a beam that is perhaps 2 feet deep. The rest of the slab is 4 or 6 inches thick.
  4. iv. A 4- or 6-inch layer of gravel lies beneath the slab.
  5. v. A 4-millimeter sheet of plastic lies between the concrete and the gravel to keep moisture out.

How high can I make my poured concrete walls?

  1. i. In typical residential construction, concrete is commonly placed in a wall to a maximum of 10 to 12 feet in height during one concrete pour. This is done in multiple lifts of around 4 feet or less.
  2. ii. In commercial construction walls may be higher -14 to 18 feet and in some commercial applications, as much as 21 feet.