Frequently Asked Questions

Product History

How did Superior Walls get started?

Superior Walls of America, Ltd. was founded in 1981 in Lancaster, PA. Frustrated with centuries-old foundation processes, home builder Mel Zimmerman founded Superior Walls of America, Ltd. after years of research and development on a new system. Today, Mel is seeing his company grow exponentially, while continuing to oversee dramatic worldwide improvements in residential construction.

How long has the Superior Walls System been in place?

The Superior Walls precast basement wall system has been in use since 1981. More than 100,000 foundations have been installed in the past 30 years, proving to be the superior basement for any new home construction. 

How many foundations have been installed?

More than 65,000 foundations have been installed since 1981.

General Information

What is the Superior Walls foundation system?

Superior Walls foundations feature patented precast insulated panels that are formed in a factory-controlled setting and delivered to the new home job site, where the panels are carefully locked together and permanently sealed. The walls are custom-designed and built to virtually any architectural style, complete with window and door openings. 

Is the Superior Walls System guaranteed?

Absolutely! The manufacturer's 15-year warranty guarantees that your basement will be free from structural defects and side wall water penetration.

What makes Superior Walls better than conventional foundations?

Superior Walls foundations are dry. By using a special low water/cement- ratio concrete, our wall system requires no additional damp proofing. They are warm, with full-length insulation built in to increase energy efficiency. Superior Walls high-strength 5,000 psi minimum concrete is reinforced with steel rebar and polypropylene fibers for added strength. They are smart, with convenient features like built-in accesses for wiring and treated wood nailers for drywall. An important feature for builders is the speed of installation. It takes just five hours to install a typical home foundation.

What types of homes feature Superior Walls foundations?

Superior Walls' customers live in everything from elaborate mansions to cozy log cabins. Superior Walls have been customized for homeowners ranging from moderate incomes or wealthy lifestyles. Superior Walls have even been the choice foundation for celebrities like former NFL star Troy Vincent and former NASCAR® driver Darrell Waltrip.

Why isn't a concrete footer used with Superior Walls Basement System?

Many people are under the mistaken impression that a concrete footer is what keeps your house from settling. The primary purpose of a concrete footer is to provide a level, solid area on which to start laying block. Water can be trapped under a footer or slab, allowing hydrostatic pressure to build up leading to settling or heaving. The gravel footer system, promoted by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, allows water to drain away from the basement slab and wall system. A site that is properly drained will not have any water or noticeable settling problems.

Will Superior Walls Foundation System add to the overall value of my home?

National studies have shown that families move, on average, about every 7 years. When you decide to move on to greener pastures, you can helpget top dollar for your home by choosing a Superior Walls foundation system now. A well-constructed warm, dry basement is very important to prospective home buyers. Another important benefit is the potential for additional living space. A Superior Walls foundation system is perfect for additional bedrooms, a family room, etc. Think about it! If you're building a two-story home, a full Superior Walls basement system adds 50% to the available living space. With a single-story home, it's doubled.

Will my foundation get individual attention when being manufactured?

Each Superior Walls foundation system is manufactured individually. We follow design guidelines and blueprint specifications to create each wall panel, making each basement totally unique. Superior Walls precast foundations offer virtually unlimited flexibility of design. They can be cast to almost any shape to accommodate a wide variety of building styles. 

A lot has been published about the dangers of radon. Does Superior Walls have a position on protection from radon?

Radon gas is a natural byproduct of depleted and disintegrating uranium. It's a radioactive heavy gaseous element that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. Because the pressure in a dwelling is usually less than in the soil, radon can be drawn from deep within the earth into a home through foundation cracks or other openings. The surgeon general has warned that radon is second only to smoking as a leading cause of lung cancer in the United States today. Proper building techniques can minimize the possibility of radon entering your home. The PA Department of Environment Resources urges the builders of new homes to put a radon venting system in place during the construction process. Building codes regarding radon vary from area to area, so be sure to discuss these issues with your local code enforcement officer. 

Where can homeowners and builders find Superior Walls?

There is a network of Superior Walls licensees that manufacture and install Superior Walls products across the U.S. and Canada.

What is “Lower Level Living Space”?

Lower Level Living Space is a term that refers to the additional marketable square footage in a home that is achieved by a combination of 8% natural light and 4% ventilation in the basement, or lower level of the home. This can be accomplished by using Superior Walls with the Boman-Kemp Egress Window System. 

What are Boman-Kemp Egress Windows?

Boman-Kemp Egress Window Systems installed in Superior Walls meet Lower Level Living requirements and include stainless steel window frames to protect against corrosion, white vinyl windows with insulated glass, a white finish on galvanized area wells to reflect additional light, emergency escape ladders, metal safety grates, and clear lexan covers.

Specifications

What are the components of the Superior Walls System?

Superior Walls panels are created in a factory, where high-strength 5,000+ psi concrete is bonded directly to polystyrene insulation. Solid concrete studs provide support, as does a built-in concrete footer that rests on a sub-footer of clean crushed stone. The attention to detail is evident in features that make finishing basements easy, such as pre-engineered wiring access holes and galvanized steel stud facings for easy drywall installation.

How does the strength of the Superior Walls System compare to the strength of a block wall?

A 5,000 psi concrete wall combined with top and bottom bond beam and solid concrete studs reinforced with rebar, means our Superior Walls system is much stronger than a conventional block wall.

What is the insulation value of the walls?

Superior Walls offers two wall systems. The Xi wall system is built with a continuous layer of 2.5" Styrofoam, resulting in a cavity R-value of 12.5. The Xi Plus wall system offers a cavity R-value of 21.3.

What is the standard length of the wall panels?

Our precast system is completely custom. There are no standard panels. Length are formed to accommodate door and window openings, but under normal circumstances 16 feet would be the maximum length.

What is the standard height of the walls?

Our standard heights are 4', 4'8", 8'2", 9' and 10'.

Delivery and Installation

How are Superior Walls delivered and installed?

After manufacture in a factory-controlled environment, Superior Walls panels are delivered to the new home job site on special carriers. There, cranes carefully lower the custom walls onto a bed of clean crushed stone, where they are permanently installed into place by specially trained crews. A triple bead of Superior Sealant forms a tight permanent seal against moisture. As soon as the foundation is in place, building can begin immediately – usually the same afternoon. 

Who is responsible for preparing our site for installation of the foundation system?

It is your responsibility to prepare the set site prior to the delivery of your foundation. The site must meet the guidelines listed in our "Site Preparation Manual." Upon initial down payment, you'll receive easy-to-follow, fully illustrated manuals that include everything you need to know about preparing your site for our crews. 

How long does it take to install the average basement?

Our professional crews install most average-sized basement systems in one day.

How long do the walls have to dry before we can start construction?

We cure the walls in our facilities before they are delivered to you, so you can start construction immediately. Imagine! You can have your foundation set in the morning and begin work on your home in the afternoon!

How soon can we backfill after the walls are installed?

Backfilling can be done as soon as the floor is poured and the subfloor is properly attached to the top of the wall. 

Is it necessary to parge or tar the wall after installation?

No! The Superior Walls basement system is made with 5,000 psi concrete. According to the American Concrete Institute, 4,000 psi mix is watertight. 

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Complete our online form or call 717-733-4823 and we’ll get back to you — typically within 1 business day.