The Marriage of Post-and-Beam Homes with Precast Concrete Foundations

Written by 

Architect Ken Wertheim places a high priority on enriching mountain settings with his custom home designs. Once completed, his popular timber-framed homes serve as landscape accents to their natural surroundings.

The Marriage of Post-and-Beam Homes with Precast Concrete Foundations Image courtesy of Superior Walls®

“My home designs primarily feature timber frame designs that complement their western North Carolina locations,” says Wertheim, AIA and principal of his practice, Mountain Architecture in Asheville, North Carolina. “I specialize in Timberpeg® projects that feature authentic timber framing on both the interior and exterior of the home, using mortise and tenon joinery. Timberpeg packages provide a weather-tight shell, including the timber frame structure, SIPs (structural insulated panels) wall and roof systems, as well as exterior finish materials.”

Wertheim has married many of his post-and-beam homes with precast concrete foundation systems that also provide weather-tight packages. To achieve optimum energy-efficient benefits, he starts by specifying Superior Walls® Xi™ wall panels for his foundations.

“The 5,000 psi concrete strength of these wall systems is amazing,” says Wertheim. “The walls come pre-insulated, so they provide the homeowners with an energy-efficient basement. And the builders appreciate using them because they install in less than a day. That means a builder can start the construction process the day after the foundation system is installed.”

Top-of-the-line Superior Walls Xi wall panels feature steel reinforced concrete and 2 1/2" of DOW® Styrofoam™ insulation. The panels are custom-designed and constructed in a factory-controlled setting. Unique features of the Xi wall panels include:

  • 5,000+ psi concrete;

  • Steel-reinforced top bond beams, concrete studs, and footer beams;

  • Horizontal steel rebar inside top and bottom beams;

  • Vertical steel rebar inside each stud;

  • Access holes for ease in wiring and plumbing;

  • Galvanized steel stud facing ready for drywall finishing; and

  • Insulated corners, studs, and bond beams.

“Superior Walls products are resource-efficient, using up to 70% less concrete in a new home than conventional foundations,” says Dave Varner, president of Superior Walls of North Carolina. “Stud facings eliminate the need for additional wood framing prior to interior finishing. Using fewer materials helps reduce the carbon footprint of the new home’s construction process.”

Wertheim has specified Superior Walls systems for several dozen of his home projects over the past 12 years. One of his most recent home designs, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, used the Xi system as the foundation for the 2,800-square foot timberframe home.

“The family in this home enjoys the sense of connection with the mountain setting,” says Wertheim. “Part of that connection is a sense of stability and security that comes from having a precast concrete foundation. The systems available from Superior Walls of North Carolina complement my overall home designs and bring long-lasting, energy-efficiency benefits to the homeowners.”

The Superior Walls insulated precast concrete wall systems specified by Wertheim in his projects have earned a Green Approved Product designation from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center. Builders choosing to use Xi and R-5 foundations can earn up to 13 points on a project toward National Green Building Certification.

Green Approved Products Certificate #00071 provides builders the following points for the use of Superior Walls foundation systems:

  • Practice 601.2, 3 points – Structural systems/advanced framing techniques optimize material usage.

  • Practice 601.5 (1-3), 4 points – Precut/preassembled components, panelized, or precast assemblies are utilized for a minimum of 90% of floor, wall, and/or roof system.

  • Practice 607.1, 3 points – Products containing fewer materials are used to achieve the same end-use requirements as conventional products.

  • Practice 701.4.3.1 (1), Mandatory – Insulation is installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions or local code. Mandatory for certification.

  • Practice 903.2.2, 3 points – Capillary break is added on footing.

For additional details on Superior Walls products, visit or For information on Mountain Architecture by Ken Wertheim, visit

Last modified on Mon, Nov 12, 2012
Superior Walls

Available nationwide through licensees in a variety of states, Superior Walls foundations have been installed since 1981 when the company introduced the original R-5 Superior Walls precast foundation system. Superior Walls products are the first and only foundation systems to have attained the Green Approved Product designation by the NAHB Research Center, earning builders points on a project toward a National Green Building Certification. The company is a member of the International Code Council and the US Green Building Council. For more information, call 1-800-452-9255 or visit

blog comments powered by Disqus