Spring 2008 Table of Contents

Concrete Furniture Concrete Furniture

The world of decorative concrete keeps expanding, even into the realm of furniture. On first blush it doesn't seem that using concrete to make furniture is a good thing to do. It's brittle, it cracks, it has little tensile strength, and it's much heavier than wood. Even so, all around the country artists and decorative contractors produce exciting pieces of furniture. Precast concrete naturally lends itself to this kind of work but there are contractors casting furniture in place as well. Read more

Promoting Concrete Homes Promoting Concrete Homes

Building homes with abovegrade concrete walls is one of the fastest-growing methods of residential construction in the United States. Barely on the radar in the early 1990s, concrete homes now command an estimated 15% of the abovegrade single-family residential market as of 2006. Some of the available concrete systems include concrete masonry, insulating concrete forms (ICFs), removable concrete forms (RCFs), precast concrete panels, and autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks or panels. Read more

How to Build an Affordable Concrete Home How to Build an Affordable Concrete Home

Custom-built homes are commonly gracing glossy magazine covers. That's because people in the U.S. have been in love with the idea of owning a large elegant home. For architects and designers, there is more opportunity to present interesting ideas and work with unusual concepts. But with the decline in the residential housing industry over the past year, large custom home building followed suit, as well as the affordable home building industry. However, there is greater interest today in concrete home construction in the more affordable price range on the part of a number of builders. This attention is largely focusing on sustainability, green building, disaster resistance, energy conservation, and safety. Read more

Editorial Comment
Window of Opportunity Window of Opportunity

At the beginning of 2008, the residential construction market faces an uphill battle. Due to high home inventories as a result of overbuilding and the subprime mortgage crisis, housing starts are expected to decline 25% from 2007, according to the Portland Cement Association (PCA). The quantity of homes in the U.S. inventory may reach a 10-month supply by the end of this year. Read more

25 Years of Building Green Orlando, Fla. 25 Years of Building Green Orlando, Fla.

Overlooking Lake Nona, a 6725-square-foot, plantation-style house makes Orlando, Fla. its home. As The New American Home (TNAH) 2008, it's a showcase for innovative, cutting-edge, energy-efficient green-building technologies. This year's project continues the legacy of advancing the idea of what home construction can be and raises the bar for contractors and builders nationwide. Read more

At Home with Concrete
NAHB's Concrete Technology Tour Offers Results

Although most of the recent media coverage is focused on the negative trends in the housing market, there is one residential industry segment that the long-term economic outlook favors: concrete. Read more

Engineering Details
Brick Ledges for ICF Homes Brick Ledges for ICF Homes

When brick veneer is used as an exterior finish for an insulating concrete form (ICF) home, a cavity wall is recommended to manage moisture penetration. Read more

Technology Brief
Concrete Basements Concrete Basements

Basements are a valuable part of any new home, with benefits far outweighing the costs. About half of all new homes in North America are built with basements, and the rest could be. Concrete is the material of choice for basement construction, with 98% of North American basements built of one of many available concrete wall systems. Read more

Concrete Outdoors
Hardscapes in the Landscape Hardscapes in the Landscape

Landscaping is no longer the traditional focus on plantings, turf, and irrigation. Clients are now demanding sophisticated hardscapes that encompass many factions of the concrete industry. This can range from water features constructed with either shotcrete or concrete, concrete pavers, cast cement-based structural stone, and stamped concrete flatwork. Other uses include the dramatic rise in concrete countertops on barbecues to structural concrete used in outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, raised planters, arbors, and under layment for natural rock paving. Also high-end clients typically have had homes all over the world and no longer want to travel but have their own utopia in their backyard. Read more

Sonoco Sonotube Finish-Free fiber Sonoco Sonotube Finish-Free fiber

Sonotube Finish-Free fiber forms create smooth columns with no additional finishing required. Each is lined with a glass-like coating, which imparts a nearly flawless surface onto the concrete. The moisture-resistant, 100% recycled paperboard makes it lightweight and easy to handle. Read more

Caraustar Industrial & Consumer Products Group Kolumn Forms Caraustar Industrial & Consumer Products Group Kolumn Forms

Kolumn Forms construction tubes are disposable, one-piece cylindrical fiber forms for concrete columns, piers, pilings, and footings. The products are strong, lightweight, and moisture resistant. The high-impact plastic column liner eliminates spiral seams, which lets users avoid excessive finishing costs. Various widths and lengths are offered—the tubes also can be sawed to a specific size. Read more

Architectural Concrete Creations Arch-Crete Architectural Concrete Creations Arch-Crete

The company's composite column forms come in a variety of decorative textures and sizes, and they can be stacked for greater column heights. The lightweight forms are easy to assemble and use, and are rated at 1500 pours. Read more

The Concrete Edge Co Lil' Bubba The Concrete Edge Co Lil' Bubba

Lil' Bubba helps create continuous decorative concrete borders, walkways, curbs, and other projects. The machine will follow any existing landscape bed design, it can place borders as close as 2 inches from any stationary object, and make turns with a radius as tight as 14 inches. It can form 24-inch walkways, and curb with rebar and wire reinforcement. Read more

Below The Grade

Recommendations and code requirements regarding backfill of newly poured basements are one of the most ignored aspects of foundation construction. The International Residential Code, ACI 332 Standard, and the CFA Standard all state that foundation walls must be supported at the top and bottom before backfill is placed. Empirical tables presented in each are based on that fact. This means that either temporary bracing or a properly constructed and connected deck must be present at the top of the wall and either a keyway or dowels are in-place at the bottom of the wall. A foundation wall is designed as a simply supported beam with restraint at the top and bottom. If there is no top support, the wall becomes a cantilevered element requiring a different design, as well as reinforcement requirements for both the wall and footing. Read more

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