Concrete Benefits of Building a Concrete Home
How can someone move from a small, one-bedroom apartment to a two-story 1,940-square-foot home and save 30 percent on their monthly electric and gas bills? Homeowners Ed and Meg Faichtyger did just that by using precast concrete panels for the foundation and exterior walls of their new home in Franklin Township, New Jersey, U.S.A.
“Our concrete home is amazingly energy efficient and quiet,” says Ed Faichyger. “These walls are solid, so there’s no air or noise infiltration.
“When we were pricing the building costs of wood and concrete homes, there was surprisingly little difference. We anticipate the long-term benefits will be incredible. We’ll never have to worry about water gathering underneath exterior stucco and causing the wood walls to rot. And, the concrete is fire-proof, so our homeowners insurance is very low.”
The Faichtygers did their research to find Xi Walls and the Prespan flooring system from Northeast Precast. The Superior Walls products they selected are custom made with insulation to help create a dry, comfortable living space. The precast concrete structure was installed in just two working days, allowing the house to be under roof in less than two weeks.
No Beams or Columns
Designed by J.W. Pedersen Architect, P.C., the three-bedroom home includes 1,940 square feet of living space on two levels, plus an additional 1,232-square-foot basement and 700-square-foot two-car garage. Sound transmission and structural integrity were the primary concerns for the open floor plan chosen by the homeowners. The insulated precast concrete walls and floor systems were used to resolve those concerns.
“Due to the nature of our layout and having precast concrete walls, we have our open floor plan with precast concrete planks spanning the width of the house,” says Faichyger. “There are no beams or support columns. And, because it’s a concrete floor, there’s no creaking or bouncing. Unless we are looking out the windows, we don’t know if it’s windy, raining or even storming outside. Our house is that insulated and quiet!”
The Xi Wall system used to construct the foundation and exterior walls of the home saved the homeowners both time and money. The precast walls were used in conjunction with foundation panels and stacked to create multiple stories as a part of a complete wall system building solution.
All Superior Walls products are custom manufactured off site in indoor production facilities, eliminating any on-site soil contamination such as the form oil used for poured walls. No on-site sprays or bituminous coatings are required to make the walls dampproof. The panels are delivered directly to a jobsite where certified crews install the precast wall panels.
Since Superior Walls panels are engineered and manufactured with insulated concrete studs, Superior Walls reduces the amount of materials used to build a structure, including wood and concrete, and reduces the carbon footprint of a new home or commercial facility’s construction process.
Concrete Construction Benefits
For the Faichyger home, the thermal mass of concrete has reduced loads on their HVAC system and provides constant temperatures in the home. The air conditioning system for the home was reduced from two to one unit on a split system. On the home exterior, stucco and stone were applied directly to the precast panels.
The wall assembly for the project has an R-Value of 31.5, while the Prespan flooring has an R-Value of R39. Most impressive, the reinforced concrete walls made the troublesome gable wall with windows into a shear wall. When combined with the rigid floor system, the structure is able to resist lateral wind loads.
“Our concrete home has exceeded our expectations in every way imaginable,” says Faichyger. “The total cost of the precast concrete was about a quarter of our project cost. This may sound like a lot, but we saved money on construction time and now we save every day on energy costs.
“Overall, building a house from precast concrete panels and floor planks was a quicker, more cost efficient option to traditional building. We’re definitely recommending these products to our friends and family!”