A foundation is not just the walls. Each part or phase is interrelated and dependent on the others. The excavation affects the drainage, the drainage affects the walls and there are relationships like this throughout the process. Understanding these relationships and having a systematic approach allows a foundation of the highest quality, with the premium products, to be installed efficiently for the best value. When each phase is designed in collaboration with the others, it also minimizes overdesigning and unneeded costs. Menke Bros. uses this knowledge and the experience of being in business since 1974 to provide a trouble free foundation.
The foundation is widely considered as the most important part of a structure. There are very few arguments against that. But, have you ever considered what your foundation is setting on?
Menke Bros. has two excavating crews that excavate the foundations for footings and the rest of the foundation. We maintain an updated equipment to ensure the excavation is performed accurately and efficiently. There are many important factors to excavation; it is not as simple as ‘digging a hole’. Monitoring water levels, inconsistencies in soils, other potential geological issues and marking existing field tiles are all a part of what they do.
The excavation crews also layouts out references for the footing crew, excavate for the sump pits, and sets elevation benchmarks for the stone slingers. These items help to increase the efficiency of the next phases. These tasks among others are part of the excavation. It is one of the more important but often overlooked steps in the process.
Contrary to the ground the foundation sets on, footings are often overemphasized. The footing’s function is to carry the loads from the wall into the ground. The function is simple yet another important step of the process. The determining factor of sizing a footing is knowing the soil bearing capacity of the ground it sets on. We are able to help in determining that so the footing can distribute the loads to the ground.
Part of the installation of the footing involves using Form-A-Drain®. Menke Bros. started using it on all foundations in 1996 and it now has become an industry standard. The drain is the shape of the footing form, hence the name. Since it is the form, it is set level with a laser then left in place. This ensures good flow in the drainage and the smooth wall doesn’t allow for sediment collection. A good drainage system is the key to a dry basement. Form-A-Drain is also used as part of a radon remediation system.
The two-sump system evolved over time as a way to combat the issue of water getting into the sump too fast. We developed a system that separates the outside water and allows more time to handle pump failure or power outages. Menke Bros. prides itself on innovation and improvement. Our two-sump system has allowed basements to become living space and not just storage.
Cast in place concrete walls are typically the only component discussed regarding the foundation. They do the majority of the work; they retain the dirt and carry the weight of the house to the footings. The walls are the vertical component and define the area so it is understandable why they get most of the focus.
Menke Bros. pours the foundation walls monolithically. Garage, porch, retaining, well and shear walls are all poured at the same time as the basement walls. Every corner or ‘T’ decreases the walls unbraced length and increases the horizontal loads it can handle. Think of a basement wall as a bridge on its side. Every garage or porch wall that ties into the basement wall acts like another bridge pier and every corner like an abutment. The walls are connected by a concrete beam to transfer both the forces from the structure downward and the lateral pressure from the backfill. Longer walls without these supports have thicker walls poured and/or shear walls to add additional support. Constructing the walls in this way provides the strongest walls faster and for a better price.
Menke Bros. also performs subcontracted work on commercial foundations. It is primarily for walls but we have the capabilities to perform all phases of the commercial foundation.
In the early 1990’s information was becoming known that tarring walls was not a long term solution to keeping water off the walls. There were many different products to choose from. We wanted a product that was reliable and consistent. Spray on barriers were not appealing because they can be over or under applied and not offer adequate protection.
We chose a high density polyethylene dimpled membrane. It is a 24 mil plastic sheet that is nailed to the wall. It offers two layers of protection as the outside shields the water and the air gap directs water directly to the tile if somehow water gets over or through. The product has proven effect for near thirty years and thousands of basements.
There are two components of backfilling, the stone backfill and the dirt backfill. The amount of stone is crucial to a dry basement. Knowing the right amount helps regulate the flow of water into your sump and prevent flooding from heavy rains. Other factors that can affect the amount of stone is the length, the height of the walls and the density of the soil to be backfilled with. The old adage ‘more is better’ isn’t better and can increase the chances of the drainage system and sump pump not keeping up. We will determine the amount to best suit each job and situation.
Backfilling/Rough grade is a very instrumental to a dry basement. Improper technique can damage the foundation walls. Inadequate slope can cause water to drain towards the foundation instead of away from it. Pushing dirt around is not the most difficult task but this step can cause more problems than any other if not done correctly.
We have poured well over 10 million square feet of flatwork. There is no better teacher than experience. There is a high level of craftsmanship that goes into pouring a quality and durable slab. What sets Menke Bros. apart is our craftsman look beyond the mechanics of pouring and finishing concrete. Mix design, the use of the slab, the location of that slab, wind, temperature, humidity, concrete temperature, subgrade density, etc. are all factors that are taken into account. Controlling the rate of evaporation and providing proper curing can be just as important as making sure the slab is screeded level. This knowledge and attention to detail provides the customer slab of the highest quality.