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What Are Poured Foundation Walls?

poured wall

Regardless of whether you’re looking to build or buy a new home, poured foundation walls are something you’re likely to come into contact with. There’s a reason why these walls are so common across the Midwestern United States. They simply provide numerous benefits. For example, they are largely waterproof and have an easy-to-paint texture.

Poured foundation walls offer much more than their traditional concrete block counterparts. Here, we’ll talk about all the necessary details that every homeowner needs to know about them, including what their purpose is, how builders construct them, and pros and inevitable cons.

What Are Poured Foundation Walls?

poured foundation wall in basement interior

In construction terms, these walls are ones that builders construct by pouring concrete into wooden frames. The reason why they’re so popular is their ability to provide great lateral strength, unlike concrete block walls. Also, poured walls deal much better with your foundation’s worst enemy — hydrostatic pressure.

This type of pressure is a combination of water and soil that pushes against your foundation, causing great structural damage and flooding. Aside from their better resilience to hydrostatic pressure, poured construction walls’ lack of joints is another feature that is a major pro when it comes to waterproofing.

Furthermore, they show off great versatility. Builders can easily modify something even in the final stages of construction. The same goes for repairs. Finally, they’re rather easy to build. This alone is reason enough for numerous homeowners to use them during construction or to seek them out when looking to buy a new home.

The Purpose of Poured Foundation Walls

Although their purposes are many, we’re going to concentrate on five of the most important.

1. Structural Support

Like all basement walls, poured ones are responsible for holding the weight of the entire structure above them. They have no problem doing so because they have compressive and flexural strength. Builders can add steel reinforcements to up this feature even more. Lateral and vertical loads have nothing on them.

2. Environmental Durability

Aside from providing your home with great structural support, these walls are also handy when it comes to environmental hazards. For example, heavy winds and melting snow won’t hurt them in any way. The same goes for tree roots and other natural loads. 

3. Waterproofing Properties

Most foundations struggle with water. However, poured foundation walls have great waterproofing properties. With proper care, they’ll keep your storage or underground living space safe and dry. It’s a major positive because foundation repairs from water-related damage can be expensive.

4. Energy-Efficient

Most of us are looking for energy-efficient homes these days, which is why you should look more closely at poured foundation walls. They will keep your heater running on low even in the coldest of winters. This will save you from having costly heating bills as your heat loss will be negligible.

5. Fire Protection

Our fifth and final pro of poured foundation walls is their fire-resistant property. Poured foundation walls are nearly indestructible by fire. Seeing how dangerous fires can be, this feature separates them from most other available and common foundation wall types in the United States.

How Poured Foundation Walls Are Built

It’s no secret that building a new home is a long process. However, making poured foundation walls is relatively quick. This, unfortunately, doesn’t mean that you can do it on your own. 

Here is how construction crews pour concrete foundation walls:

  • After identifying where the foundation walls will be poured, the crew will consider several factors, including the design of the home, soil type, grading, etc.
  • The second step is to mark the ground with stakes and masonry strings.
  • After that, they’ll mark out the trenches and make sure the lines line up with 90-degree angles.
  • The crew will dig up flat-bottom trenches to provide support for the walls.
  • Afterward, it will be time to pour the concrete into wooden frames. It’s the same molding process, just like with any other structure that uses concrete.
  • The builders will use rebar pins to reinforce the joints, footings, and all potential weak points in the concrete.
  • The concrete will be left to cure, which could take some time.

Poured foundation walls should be at least 12 inches thick. This can, of course, change, depending on the structural requirements and other factors, including the surrounding soil type, its reactivity, as well as the severity of exposure that the walls will face once they’re up. Nevertheless, the 12-inch thickness should be enough to do the job in most scenarios.

Common Poured Foundation Wall Problems

Like any other man-made structure, poured foundation walls have their cons. Their great waterproofing properties won’t mean a thing if you don’t maintain them properly. They can still crack, bow, and leak, allowing water into your lower-grade level.

Furthermore, concrete can dry out and chip with time, which will cost additional money to repair.

Poured Walls Need Repair? Call Us Today!

man repairing poured foundation wall cracks

As we’ve said, poured concrete walls don’t mean you won’t have problems with water if you don’t waterproof them properly. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can do by yourself. It’s simply not a DIY project that you can experiment with. But don’t worry.

You can waterproof your lower-grade level in no time if you contact professional help. You can always count on FSM for all your waterproofing needs. Our team provides service to the Detroit area, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and surrounding areas in Michigan. With their help, you’ll quickly fix or prepare your poured foundation walls for any kind of water-related problems. Schedule your free inspection and quote right now.

Poured Foundation Wall FAQs

The time needed for repairs varies depending on the severity of the cracks and the specific solutions implemented. Minor cracks can often be addressed in a single day, while more extensive damage may require several days for full reinforcement and waterproofing. We’ll give you a time estimate during our comprehensive assessment. 

The most prominent sign is the wall appearing to curve or bulge inward, especially at its center. Accompanying symptoms can include horizontal cracks along the wall, stair-step cracks in cinder block walls, and diagonal cracking near the corners of poured concrete walls. 

The first step is to identify the source of the moisture. Check for leaks, cracks in the walls or floor, improper grading, and ineffective drainage systems. Then contact FSM for an inspection

Holly Richards-Purpura

Holly Richards-Purpura

Content Writer

Holly is a Content Writer for Groundworks who has written and edited web content for the foundation services industry for almost 10 years. With a background in journalism, her passion for the written word runs deep. Holly lives in Columbus, OH, with her husband. Along with educating homeowners, she also has a big heart for the Big Apple.

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