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You can increase the value of your next remodeling project by including energy efficiency improvements. Learn how with Energy Efficiency Improvements for Remodeling Projects.

Topics for building foundations include wood, concrete, insulating concrete forms, frost-protected shallow foundations, waterproofing, and more.

Innovative Products & Processes - Technology Inventory [Back to Top]

Consider using the products below to take advantage of their potential to provide one or more of the following in the homes you build: Affordability, Energy Efficiency, Quality & Durability, Environmental Performance, and Safety.

Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (AAC)
Cement Substitutes
Concrete Admixtures
Concrete Aggregate Substitutes
Concrete Footing and Pier Forms
Concrete Waterproofing Systems
Fibrous Concrete Reinforcement
Flashing Products
Fly Ash Concrete
Formwork for Ventilated Concrete Slabs
Foundation Drainage Panels
Foundation Flood Vents
Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations (FPSF)
HydroLOCK System Foundation Walls
ICF Walls - Wood Fiber Composite Forms
Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF)
Manufactured Housing Disaster-Resistant Pier Systems
Manufactured Housing Ground Anchor Systems
Masonry and Concrete Adhesives
Modular Block Retaining Wall Systems
Plastic Ductwork Systems
Precast Concrete Foundation and Wall Panels
Prefabricated Storm Shelter
Pumice-Crete
Steel Foundation Systems
The Closed Crawlspace - Making the Transition
Water-Resistant Polyethylene Subfloor Systems
Wood Foundations
XPS Foam Insulation for Foundation Applications

Design & Construction Guides [Back to Top]

Guides for designing and building various types of construction

Designing Homes Using Insulating Concrete Forms
Residential Structural Design Guide: 2000 Edition
Revised Builder's Guide to Frost Protected Shallow Foundations (FPSFs)
Tech Set 2: Durable Building Envelope
Termite Protection for Exterior Insulated Foundation Systems
The Rehab Guide, Volume 1: Foundations
Performance Reports & Case Studies [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

Case Study on the Frost-Protected Shallow Foundation Technology The decision of who can design an FPSF is usually dependent on local regulations and the building department's position.
Insulating Concrete Forms for Residential Construction Demonstration Homes This study examines construction methods, builder perceptions, homeowner perceptions, costs, thermal performance, and energy efficiency, as these issues are impacted by the decision to use an ICF product.
Lintel Testing for Reduced Shear Reinforcement in Insulating Concrete Form Systems The purpose of this test program is to investigate the structural capacity and performance of the concrete lintels typically used in ICF construction.
PATH Technology Inventory Review This report describes the process and results of a short-term activity initiated by the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) to review and identify technologies in the 162-item PATH Technology Inventory that should be high-priority candidates for a concerted PATH technology transfer or diffusion effort.
TechPractices: 21st Century Townhomes, Bowie, MD In 1996 the NAHB Research Center, Inc. built four 21st Century Townhouses to test, demonstrate, gain experience, and disseminate information about innovative home building products, systems, and technologies.
TechPractices: AFM Study House, Minneapolis, MN Using readily available building technologies, such as insulating concrete forms (ICFs) and structural insulated panels (SIPs), this 4,964 sf home has an average winter heating bill of approximately $48 per month. Many of the technologies have the added benefit of reducing on-site labor.
TechPractices: Bentley Residence, Steamboat Springs, CO This 3,000 sf custom home is for a client who desires to showcase resource efficiency and recycled materials.
TechPractices: Bill Eich Construction, Spirit Lake, IA Bill Eich Construction is a residential builder/remodeler located in Spirit Lake Iowa. They have been using frost protected shallow foundations (FPSF) in all their projects since 1985
TechPractices: Bob Schmitt Homes, OH Keeping customers comfortable while lowering their energy bills is a goal of most energy-efficient builders. Bob Schmitt Homes (BSH) does this by equipping about 80 percent of their new homes with geothermal systems for heating and cooling and hot water.
TechPractices: Dunrite Construction Inc., Rolling Meadows Subdivision, Dover, DE Paul Keeley, of Dunrite Construction, has taken his small residential construction firm a couple steps beyond a simple awareness of R-values, making energy performance a cornerstone of his company.
TechPractices: Grove at Patuxent Woods, Patuxent City, MD In this project for seven affordable houses, it was possible to concentrate shared wastewater treatment systems in areas of the site with adequate soil conditions, allowing four houses to route their septic to a fifth lot, while two other houses shared a septic field.
TechPractices: Northern Enterprise Homes, Hartford, CT Northern Enterprise Home Manufacturing, a new company located in Hartford Connecticut, is a pioneer in constructing homes with pre-cast foundations walls.
TechPractices: Ryan Homes, The Cornell, Rochester, NY The Cornell is an efficient but small two-story colonial built as a more energy-saving version of an existing Ryan model noted for its efficiency. The Cornell is less expensive to build than the older model and more energy efficient.

Field Evaluations [Back to Top]

Evaluation of how products and systems perform in real life applications

B.C. Daniels
Bob Ward Companies
Habitat for Humanity - Schenectady
Habitat for Humanity - Arundel
Hughes Construction
K. Hovnanian Inc.
Oakwood Homes

Questions & Answers [Back to Top]

Frequently asked questions, answered by home building professionals

Can water cause deterioration of concrete?
Can I use colorants/pigments in a shotcrete application and change the color over the length of a wall?
Can it be too hot or too cold to place new concrete?
Can you provide me with information regarding foundation types found on residential structures?
Does the new energy code allow for insulated crawlspaces?
How can I achieve a smooth looking finish on my concrete?
How can you tell if you're getting the amount of concrete you're paying for?
How do I design and build an addition using a concrete slab-on-grade foundation?
How do I get information on the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Stem Wall Specifications for a double-wide trailer?
How do you control the strength of concrete?
How do you protect a concrete surface from aggressive materials like acids?
How do you remove stains from concrete?
I heard that there is an admixture for concrete to reduce the effects of salt-induced spalling and general deterioration of concrete. Is there such an admixture?
If a crawlspace has standing water in it, what can I do to keep the water out?
Is there a universal international specification for portland cement?
On what basis is air content for concrete specified?
We are thinking about using Insulating Concrete Forms for our new project. What is the best brand to use?
What are recommended mix proportions for good concrete?
What are the decorative finishes that can be applied to concrete surfaces?
What are the most common tests for fresh concrete?
What causes efflorescence and how can it be avoided?
What differences can I expect in the behavior and properties of recycled-aggregate concrete compared to concrete made with natural aggregates?
What does 28-day strength mean?
What does it mean to "cure" concrete?
What is 3,000 pound concrete?
What is air-entrained concrete?
What is alkali-silica reactivity (ASR)?
What is ettringite and does it or the sulfate in cement contribute to expansion and disintegration of portland cement concrete?
What is the difference between a foundation-ready mobile home and one that is not?
What is the maximum unbalanced backfill height for basement walls in residential buildings?
What is the minimum depth of footing for a residential structure?
What precautions do I have to take during cold-weather concreting?
What precautions do I have to take during hot-weather concreting?
Where can an engineer get more detailed design information on frost protected shallow foundations?
Where can I go for concrete countertop information?
Why do concrete surfaces flake and spall?
Why does concrete crack?
Why test concrete?

Web Links [Back to Top]

Recommended Web resources for additional information