03 Concrete, Block, Brick & Stone


This list of selections serves as a supplement to the Construction Documents (CD’s). Some of the selections below may be difficult to find or omitted on the CD’s. Check the CD’s for consistency with this list. Clarify with your contractor which document takes precedence for any inconsistencies.


Type of foundation wall

For several decades in the middle of the 20th century, concrete block (CMU) foundation walls were very common. Since then, Poured Concrete has become more popular for new homes. Alternatives to Poured-in-Place Concrete foundation walls include both Insulated Concrete Forms  (ICF) and Precast Concrete Systems. Advantages of these two alternatives include increased thermal and moisture resistance. Verify if there are local installers who have experience with either of these systems if you are interested. Also research the relative price well in advance of the construction phase.

Select your foundation wall:

            __ CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit, often referred to as concrete block)

            __ Poured-in-Place Concrete             

__ Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF)

            __ Precast Concrete System ( ie. Superior Walls)


Concrete Patios / Flatwork

Flatwork is a broad term that refers to concrete slabs at basement and garage floors, where plain concrete with a broom finish is common. Flatwork can also refer to sidewalks, patios and driveways, however, upgrades at these locations are popular.

For each flatwork component, select from the following:

            __ Plain concrete, broom finish        

__ Colored concrete, broom finish, indicate color:_____________________

            __ Stamped concrete, indicate pattern & color:__________________________

            __ Exposed aggregate concrete: indicate size of stone, color (if desired) of concrete:


            __ Precast concrete pavers


CMU (if used on project)

Note: this material is often used above a “trench pour” for additions with crawl spaces.

            Verify Type of CMU

            __ Standard                                         __ standard with colored parging

            __ split face                                        __ colored CMU


            Verify locations for CMU to be filled solid:

            __ Top course                                     __ at piers

            __ all vertical cells 48” o.c.                __ other



Brick (if used on project)           

Select Type of Brick at walls:

__ standard, running bond, requires concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model: _________________________________________

__ faux brick, does not require concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model: ___________________________________________

__ Soldier Course above window and door openings

__ Row lock course under window and door openings


Note: Additional patterns are available, all patterns, including those above, should be described and illustrated on the Construction Drawings, check to make sure the Drawings are accurate.


Stone Veneer (if used on Project)

Be aware that some types of stone veneer require a concrete foundation wall ledge to bear on while others do not rely on a lege and may be secured directly to the wall:

__ Cultured, man-made, no concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model: ___________________________________________

__ Cultrure, man-mad, requires concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model:


__ Natural, no concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model: ___________________________________________

__ Natural, requires concrete ledge, indicate manufacturer & model: ___________________________________________

            __ Stone House Number


Note: stone treatment at window and door openings, (for example long slabs at sills and soldier course at headers), and at transitions to other materials should be noted on the Construction Drawings. Check to make sure the Drawings are accurate.





The quality and precision of the foundation walls are critical to the rest of the project. Review the desired elevation of the top of the foundation wall, relative to ground and finished floor, with the contractor before work is begun. Reserve time each day to interact with the concrete contractor and answer his/her questions. Make sure any required demolition work is complete (critical for additions). Make sure underground utilities don’t conflict with the new foundation walls. Inspect the work each day and endeavor to confirm compliance with Construction Documents and quality standards.


Review Scope of Work with Concrete Contractor prior to start of work

  1. Review Selections & Specifications with Concrete Contractor
  2. Verify who is responsible for paying for and delivering the materials required for this phase.
  3. For additions, discuss any demolition work required by Concrete Contractor, such as existing concrete steps, patios, pavers, basement windows etc.
  4. Demolition by other trades required prior to work by Concrete Contractor.
  5. Confirm path / access to project area with subcontractor and Owner.
  6. Determine elevation of top of concrete walls and piers.
  7. Confirm elevation of new sub grade.
  8. Determine when concrete flatwork will be installed relative to concrete foundation walls. Often, flatwork is done well after the walls.

Inspect completed work

  1. Check that dimensions match Construction Drawings, especially at bumpouts for fireplaces and other items that require high level of accuracy.
  2. Check that top of walls are level.
  3. Check for cracks in foundation walls, take photos & report as necessary.
  4. Check that window openings match Drawings.
  5. Check for imperfections in flatwork.
  6. Verify beam pockets are provided where needed (should be identified on Drawings).
  7. Verify concrete masonry units (concrete blocks), if used on project, are filled solid at piers, brick ledges, top courses and anywhere else specified on CD’s.
  8. Check for proper height of piers, so that they accommodate deck beams and floor joists.
  9. Check for proper pitch at concrete steps, landing and patios. Typically the minimum slope should be 1/8” per foot to facilitate proper drainage away from the house. The pitch should not exceed a maximum slope of ¼” per foot because it will create a slipping hazard when the concrete gets wet or develops ice cover.
  10. Check that the vertical rise of each step does not exceed code and matches the detail on your construction drawings, same goes for the minimum horizontal depth of the step. Outdoors you should strive for a tread depth of at least 11”.


Temporary Measures & Protection of Existing Building

  1. Backfill shall not be placed against the wall until the wall has sufficient strength and has been anchored to the floor above, or has been sufficiently braced to prevent damage from the backfill.
  2. For additions, install temporary plywood cover at openings to existing basement that will be used for access to crawl space or basement under addition.