Rich and Patty Kubica, owners of K-Wall Poured Walls in Asheville, N.C., are concrete contractors who have found a forming system that offers several green benefits to homeowners. So when Cliffs Building Company approached Rich Kubica for green home solutions for its Cliffs of High Carolina luxury community in Swannanoa, N.C., he had just the system to use. “They wanted a steel-reinforced, structural concrete wall that was ready to finish,” Kubica says. “Meaning, when I poured the wall and took the forms off they could immediately finish it without having to take extra steps of hiring framers or building walls up against my walls.”
Kubica introduced Cliffs Building to E-MAXX, an insulated concrete wall system he and his wife developed in 1995. E-MAXX, now sold through Western Forms, consists of thermal panels of extruded foam and T-Studs. “The thermal panels have a groove sliced down each side of them. As we’re setting up our wall forms we take a stud — a plastic extrusion not a wood stud — that slips over the wall tie,” Kubica says. The studs are T-shaped, and the thermal panels slip over the stud in a tongue and groove assembly. Everything is held in place by the studs, locking the system to the face of the form.
According to Kubica, this system allows a wall contractor to insulate a 3-foot by 9-foot form in about 17 seconds. With a crew of six, K-Wall completed the 3,000-square-foot foundation spending one to two days setting and pouring the wall and taking the forms off on the third day.
E-MAXX users will see several advantages, such as the ability to place insulation in specific areas of the home. “The builder or customer can ask us to place E-MAXX in certain locations of the job or foundation such as around the bedroom and bathroom walls but not the mechanical room,” Kubica says. “They only need to buy insulation or use insulation where it makes sense and where it adds value.”
The placement of insulation is the customer’s choice, but in most situations the insulation is placed on the inside of the wall. “Most people want to finish the inside of their foundation,” Kubica says. “The majority of people have us put E-MAXX on the inside so they can immediately hang dry wall and put up their trim.”
In other situations, insulation is placed on the outside of the wall to protect it from freeze and thaw or heat and cool cycles. Insulation placement can also occur on both sides of the wall allowing exterior and interior work to begin immediately. This typically occurs in above-grade buildings.
One more benefit is the location of the studs that provide a strong defense against thermal breaks. “The fact that it is a tongue and groove system means that when you stand back and look at the wall you can’t see the studs,” Kubica says. “They are located behind the face of the foam.”
If a typical 2x4 framed wall is insulated between each wooden stud and then sheeting is put on the outside followed by siding and then drywall on the inside, the 2x4 is a direct link between the exterior and the interior, Kubica says. As a result, the wall is transmitting energy loss into the siding. E-MAXX is faced with foam, insulating between the exterior and interior providing a 33 percent increase in thermal protection.
Along with the basement, K-Wall also poured a concrete cistern behind the Cliffs of High Carolina home in keeping with the community’s green standards. “All of the roof water is piped down the side of the home underneath the ground into a cistern,” Kubica says. “The water is used to irrigate the property.”
Triple Q builds durable, sound-proof home with EASI-WALL System
Triple Q Foundations, an experienced concrete foundations company out of Lebanon, Ohio, has poured thousands of foundations and walls. Recently, Triple Q found itself in the position to take the next step toward building above-grade homes.