Winning a Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) Project of the Year award was the complicated foundation for a 9,543-square-foot home in Chenequa, Wis. Coello & Associates, Inc. of Waukesha, Wis., submitted and built this foundation, a testament to the fact that concrete can be very attractive.
The owners of the home wanted the concrete inside the basement to add to the appearance of the home rather than to be covered up like the concrete walls in most high-end homes. Approximately 25% of the foundation walls were formed with a rustic, wood grain pattern creating a striking appearance in much of the lower level.
“Our first step was to find a forming system that would allow us to fasten the boards in 8- to 12-foot sections and would withstand the hydrostatic fluid head pressure of a 16-inch by 19-foot wall,” states Michael Coello, general manager for Coello & Associates. “Using a different forming system was a challenge, but our crews adapted quickly.”
They chose a gang form system utilizing tapered ties, reducing the total number of ties and eliminating any exposed ties in the wood grained wall. They experimented with both rough cut lumber and smooth, planed lumber, before reaching the conclusion that the chemical reaction between the wood sugars and the concrete created the most desirable effect when using the smooth wood board.
This unique project used a total of 944 cubic yards of concrete and 42 tons of rebar in the 1,975 lineal feet of wall and footing. With 75 different wall and thickness combinations it was very difficult to establish the natural rhythm, or flow normally found on large projects.
“The owners truly embraced the use of concrete within their new home. Many luxury homes are built and once finished, show little of the concrete foundation. When this home is finished, our concrete walls will be displayed and show others how beautiful concrete can be,” stated Coello.