How to Install Precast Concrete Walls
Precast concrete walls have many uses. You can use them in a kitchen, for bathroom walls, or to form a partitioned living space or extra storage room in the basement or other home level. Precast concrete is not only used in residential applications but is common in commercial construction as well. Many manufacturers will not allow anyone but their own trained employees to install their products, however here are the basics on how they are installed and what's involved in ordering and preplanning.
Step One: Planning
It is important to plan ahead when using precast concrete walls. You need to have the plans for the building and allow for any window and door openings. Once you have the plans ready submit them to the manufacturer to start the process.
Step Two: City Permits
It is important to get the appropriate permits before installing the precast walls. Some cities might require a different base than the minimum gravel base while others may have a minimum thickness requirement for walls. Submit the plans to the city and obtain the proper permits for installing the walls, including the use of a crane.
Step Three: Gravel Base
For a proper base, you will need to have 8 to 12 inches of compacted gravel base beneath each wall. It is not necessary to have a concrete base for the precast concrete walls.
Step Four: The Crane
The walls will require the use of a crane to lift the precast walls off of the delivery truck and into the correct spot for installation. You need to arrange for a crane, and for the crane to have safe easy access to the construction site. Be sure to check with your city to see if permits are needed for the crane.
Step Five: First Wall
Use the crane and set the first wall into place. This wall will need to be braced with 2 x 4's on either side to keep it upright and vertical.
Step Six: Next Walls
The next wall should form a 90-degree angle to the first and will make it possible to remove the braces. The manufacturer builds in pre-set holes that will fit together and allow for bolts to hold them in place. Each wall will fit together exactly as your plans specified to the manufacturer.
Step Seven: Seal And Protect
Even If your building codes do not call for it, it is always a good idea to seal and protect your investment. A waterproof sealer is better than a typical tar coat. It will help to keep any type of moisture from seeping into the home through the concrete panels.
Step Eight: Foundation and Floor Joists
After the walls are up then you will install the concrete foundation in the center of the walls. The second level floor joists should be installed above the concrete walls. This will help support the walls further when backfilled.
Step Nine: Backfill
Backfill the walls once the foundation is dry. The backfill, wall bracing and floor joists provide all the needed support for the preformed concrete walls.