My family is plannnig our log home, hope to build next year. Has anyone used an Arxx foundation, superior foundations? If you went for one of these options how much extra were the costs and was it worth it.
I looked into the superior foundations and liked what I originally saw...they have included insulation and ready to be studded and finished. (We'll be finishing the basement post build) But I have heard mixed feelings by word of mouth after my initial meeting with a superior employee. And all of the opinions have been bad...I can't really remember the reasoning though. I do know that the cost will be significantly more than a poured foundation. There's another foundation that we looked into that has styrofoam (spelling) on the outer shell and a plastic support system in between the shell. You then pour the concrete in the center. I've heard that this system is better than superior, but still costs more than traditional pouring. I'll be going old fashioned I think. Good luck!
I would sure like to know more about Superior Wall Systems. It looks like a good idea. I got a bunch of promotional material from them but it's all basically a sales pitch with very little in the way of technical support information.
Has anyone in our group used them?
By the way, concerning cost, the Superior outfit was introduced to me by a dealer for Southland Log Homes. He has used the system and highly recommends it. He told me the price for the walls is between poured and block. Plus the fact that it can be installed in one day on your footings. One draw back as I saw it, you must add the sub floor joists immediately after the walls are erected as they need the tie-in of the sub floor to stand.
We just moved into our new log home 2 months ago. We used the Superior Wall foundation. The system works well. The prefabricated panels are set on a compacted gravel footing. They are made with 5000 psi concrete, which makes them waterproof so no further waterproofing is required. Also, they come with two different types of insulation (we used the R-12), they have a metal stud facing and holes for running electrical wires so if you want to finish the interior you are set to go. One of the best features of the system is they can be set very precisely, as opposed to a poured foundation which if the forms are set just right or move during the pour, you are stuck with what you've got. The cost for the Superior Walls is about the same as a poured wall including the waterproofing and insulation. Also, the foundation for our 2700 square foot house was set in just four hours and was ready to build on. As long as you don't have any bad soil conditions and you have access to your site for a crane to set the panels, this is a very good system. I will try to upload some pictures from our house for you to see.
Thanks for the info Bob, looks like you've steered me back to superior walls. I haven't talked to anyone else that has done it yet. The positives sound pretty good. Did you find or think of any negatives? My house will be around 1600 sq ft, and is wide open for a crane. I'm extremely suprised that the cost factor was close. I spoke directly to a superior salesman who told me the cost would be more than a poured wall...though probably not double. The pictures look great...and I like how they are ready to be finished. I am a little concerned about water still getting in though. Thanks for making me give it a second look!
Others have covered very well the information that I have also learned about the positives of using precast walls and they look like the way to go. The only suggestion that I would make is that if possible, put a perforated drain pipe perimeter under the pea gravel with a drain pipe outlet down the hill. I did this on my non-log Michigan home and never had to worry about a sump pump failing or losing power during a major rain storm. I also put a drain in the floor of the basement bathroom tied into this field in case of something let loose and tried to flood the basement. Its a very cheap investment that saves a lot of grief.
Superior Walls is a precast foundation wall system manufactured in a controlled environment and delivered to the jobsite. It is usually set in place in just a few hours, and offers savings when you are most certainly going to finish the basement as living area. Arxx is an Insulated Concrete Form and has simular advantages over a conventional foundation. Conventional poured or block foundations will require aditional materials and labor to receive wall finish like drywall, tongue and groove or whatever. You spend more for a precast or ICF wall, but it is a better product and timesaver when time to convert the basement into valuable living area. Superior Walls can easily be insulated for even greater energy effeciency, and an ICF has insulation built in.
FYI, we are building a log home in Central PA and the Superior Walls are delivering in about 10 days. The home footprint is 28x36 and the Superior bill is about $9K. This includes the walls, shipping, crane, everything. From a builder's standpoint you can't beat Superior. Poured walls are OK but almost always move/shift during the pour (all of that cement sloshing around). Superior walls are set square and, as long as you follow protocol, stay that way. Also I forgot to mention that the walls we are installing are the 9' XI (extra insulation), their newest and most advanced wall design. This is my opinion from the builder's standpoint, take it for what it is worth. Good Luck.
We used to use Superior walls for all of our timberframe and log homes but in the last six months moved to ICF. There were a couple of reasons. One was cost, simply put Superior Walls is a franchise system and it seemed to me that costs were different in different parts of the county; basically whatever the market would bear. Secondly the system requires a crane to lift the panels into position, and we often build homes where you may not have enough room to get a crane in , or it may be too dangerous.
We have found that the ICF system works very well. We can build radius walls, and even include things like lap pools without any difficulty. Both ICF and Superior Walls should ONLY work out to be 5% more expensive than poured foundations.
Other benefits of the ICF foundations is that we can get around a R-50 wall and an insulated slab for the price, the ICF wall provides a very quiet enclosure.
We use AMVIC ICF as they have a tapered block that makes a great pilaster for a log home foundation. I imagine some of the others do the same.
Frankly, I would like to see more people use these insulated foundation systems and actually use the space for living space. This helps to reduce the footprint of the home which makes the whole think less expensive per square foot of living space, and cheaper to heat and cool.