Precast concrete walls provide efficiency, durability to N.C. home
Photos courtesy of Superior Walls
After living for three decades in New England, Cindy Moore decided her “last move” would be to western North Carolina and into an Irish farmhouse she designed.
To help ensure structural efficiency and durability, those plans included erecting walls made of concrete.
“I’d seen how they were used in Ireland to keep the homes warmer in the winter, and then saw again how they were used in the Caribbean to keep the homes cooler,” she said. “That idea inspired me.”
Moore considered using concrete blocks, but opted for precast concrete walls that are created in large sections.
Traditionally used as foundation material, the Xi walls from Superior Walls used in the home can also be used for above-ground applications. Moore’s home uses full height walls for single-story, 2,890-square-foot footprint.
“I was skeptical at first because I wanted to be able to have specific openings for doors and windows,” Moore said. “After discovering that each product was custom made to the specific openings required, I was hooked.”
Built in 2016, Moore’s home features an outside courtyard in the center of the house, antique salvaged doors from the 1800s, a solar water system and solar roofing shingles and other energy-efficient features.
The Xi panels used to construct the exterior of Moore’s home feature steel reinforced concrete and 2-1/2-inches of Dow Styrofoam insulation to create a barrier against sidewall water penetration. Other features of the panels include:
- 5,000-plus PSI concrete
- Steel-reinforced top bond beams, concrete studs and footer beams
- Horizontal steel rebar inside top and bottom beams
- Vertical steel rebar inside each stud
- Insulated access holes for ease in wiring and plumbing
- Galvanized steel stud facing ready for drywall finishing
- Insulated corners, studs and bond beams
When used above ground, as in Moore’s residence, the walls bring the strength and energy efficiency typically found in similar foundation systems to above-grade building applications, according to Superior Walls.
The concrete wall systems are custom-manufactured at Superior Walls facilities for the specific needs of a project, including built-in openings for windows and doors. Pre-engineered access for wiring or small plumbing elements, along with smart stud facing for easy drywall installation, are included and help speed up the construction process.
While a conventional wall structure with block and wood framing can take weeks to create, the Xi panels were delivered to Moore’s site and installed within hours of arrival.