All the walls in your home are not created equally. While it’s important that every wall in your home is sturdy, your home actually has multiple types of walls. For example, the walls that frame an interior closet are not made the in same way that the walls which create the external shape of your home are created. For example, if your home has an interior bathroom that does not have a window to the outside, the process of constructing and installing those walls is very different than the wall that makes up the front of your living room that overlooks the front yard. Understanding how the walls in your home that attach to the foundation can give you a better appreciation of how your home is built, and can help you better understand the steps that you can take to further protect your home from storms and other naturally-occurring events.
What is a Foundation Abutting Wall?
To put it quite simply, a foundation-abutting wall is a wall in your home that attaches to the foundation of the property. In an ideal situation, you will never see the foundation of your home. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you are overseeing a new construction in your home. If that’s the case, you may be present when the concrete foundation of your home is being poured. There are requirements that are put into place by local, state, and even federal government agencies that dictate the minimum thickness requirements for the foundation of your home. However, the foundation being poured is only part of the equation when determining the structural integrity of your home.
While every wall in your home must be attached to something, the walls that are attached to the foundation of your home are among the most important. Obviously, these walls determine the shape and floorplan of your property. However, they are also primarily responsible for holding your house up. If you have ever watched one of those reality TV shows that focus on remodeling or construction, you’ve probably heard about “load bearing walls.” That term is used to describe the walls that serve as an added layer of foundational strength in your home.
How Are Foundation-Abutting Walls Built?
When you look at the outside of your home, you see the finished product, whether it’s brick, vinyl, stucco, stone, or some other material. Conversely, when you look around your home from the inside, you see the drywall which has been painted or covered in wallpaper. What you may not realize is that the inside of those walls helps ensure that your home is firmly affixed to the foundation.
Once the concrete slab that your home rests on is poured, the first part of the foundation is in place. The foundation-abutting walls also play a pivotal role in your home being structurally sound. Different types of lumber are used depending on the area of the home that is being constructed. For instance, while interior walls, especially those that are non-load bearing, are generally made out of 2x4 studs. Conversely, it is more common for 2x6s to be used when constructing the outer frame of the home, as those walls are considered foundation-abutting in nature.
If you have ever built a house of cards (a fun pastime, but not a term that you want to be able to apply to your home), you probably have a working knowledge of this process, even if you didn’t realize it. The concrete slab that is in place should be even and smooth in nature. If there are large dips and humps in the concrete, the home will never be level, which leads to a variety of problems.
For the sake of this explanation of how concrete-abutting walls are built, we will assume that 2x6s are being used to create the outer walls of your home.
The process of building the foundation-abutting walls in your home will not actually begin on the concrete slab that serves as the foundation. Instead, frames are generally built and then set into place after the fact. The 2x6 that will actually attach to the foundation will be set up on its side, and the remaining 2x6s will be attached perpendicularly to it. In most cases, studs are placed every 16 to 24 inches. Obviously, walls that have a stud in place every 16 inches are sturdier than walls that have studs every 24 inches. More lumber leads to more stability.
In most cases, the studs used to build the frame of your home will be around 16 feet long, which equals 192 inches. A foundation-abutting wall that has studs in place every 16 inches will have 12 studs in place. Conversely, a foundation-abutting wall with 24-inch gaps between studs will only have eight studs. Once the desired number of studs are attached to the “bottom” piece of lumber (the piece that will eventually be attached to the foundation) another piece is attached to the top. The top piece will also be attached at the same angle as the bottom piece.
Since the bottom and top pieces are six inches wide and the middle pieces (the studs) are attached perpendicularly, the edges of the studs will be flush against the edges of the bottom piece and the top piece. Once the 16-foot wall is constructed, it will be stood up and set on the concrete slab. There are special screws that builders use to attach wood to concrete, so the builder will most certainly use those.
Once the outer perimeter of your home is framed up, the builder can begin installing other load-bearing walls. This creates the floor plan that you have chosen for your property.
While it’s easy to look at your home from the inside or the outside and assume that your walls are made of drywall on the inside or stone, brick, or another material on the outside, there is actually a lengthy process that takes place before any of those materials are installed. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to do whatever you can to protect your property as much as possible. One of the best ways to protect your foundation-abutting walls from damage is to install EnduraFlood drywall in your home, especially on exterior walls. Doing so can not only ensure that your drywall doesn’t become water damaged in a flood, but it can also protect the wood that comprises the structural makeup of your property.