Stem Wall Coatings
The majority of our customers opt to have us extend the application of resinous coatings partway up the wall in order to provide an even better seal against moisture. We refer to this application as a stem wall coating.
We often are asked, "what's a stem wall?" In the context of installing floor coatings, it's the area where the floor meets the wall. But there's actually a lot more to a stem wall. For the inquisitive among us, we've included some building science info below.
What's a stem wall?
The building of the stem wall is one of the first and most vital steps in the construction of a home's foundation and framework. It is an integral component of the property as it helps provide stability and a solid base for the structure. Typically, it is made using concrete blocks that are reinforced with steel. This wall sits on top of the slab and effectively supplies home builders with something to affix the walls and framework to.
Depending on the building, the stem wall is typically built to the elevation of three cinder blocks. Each row of cinder blocks is set and filled with concrete. This is done at the same time as the concrete piece that tops the structure.
Concrete for a stem wall is poured all at once to create a seamless wall to solidify the structure and protect against weather and water. The primary benefit of a stem wall is that it assists in stopping structural damage.
In areas vulnerable to flooding or tornadoes, a building is more likely to remain structurally sound when the water moves past the framework as opposed to penetrating it. Water can destabilize the structure, which makes it much more susceptible to wind and weather.
A concrete slab may be at or slightly below ground level, but the stem wall goes above the bordering ground level. Along with making it less complicated to attach walls to the block, the stem wall provides a raised platform for the main building's walls. This can be vital, specifically if the materials used during construction can be damaged by water or insects. By raising the walls of the structure slightly over the level of the slab and ground, you can lessen this kind of damage.
Along with residential real estate, public buildings commonly include a stem wall as a means of anchoring the wall surface to the structure. Manufacturing plants are also constructed with one to increase durability. There are building styles that make usage of a wood foundation combined with a wood stem wall surface. While not serving all the same functions as the concrete wall version, it does still provide extra support for the framework.
A slab-on-grade version of a stem wall integrates the concrete slab sub-floor, stem wall, and footing in one complete pour. This kind of structure has special requirements for the metal rods.
Images courtesy of Darrin Gray Corp.