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Old 05-31-2013, 05:41 PM   #1
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Frost wall ?


While at the local lumberyard today, the guy recommended a frost wall for the 3 season porch we want to build. That way we can have a concrete slab floor, and also insulate the sides and under the slab. I have no idea what a frost wall is. The depth would need to be 48" deep. The deck floor is only about 18" above grade. Porch will be 12' X 19'.

1) One problem is: A drain pipe runs under the current deck to our septic tank(which is near one corner of the deck). Can a frost wall be used with the drain pipe down there?

2) Is a concrete slab only good for certain types of floors, such as tile? I'm not sure what flooring type we will use.

3) Generally, is a frost wall and slab a lot more money than using 48" footings, posts, beams and decking?

Thanks for any advice and info.

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Old 05-31-2013, 05:51 PM   #2
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Frost wall ?


In your area no way would I try and build a 3 season porch on piers.
I'd just pore footings and build a real foundation.
Less chance of it settling and pulling away from the house.
By going with a slab floor it's going to limit your flooring options.

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Old 05-31-2013, 05:58 PM   #3
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Frost wall ?


Thanks Joe. Can a frost wall be done with the drain pipe down there?

With a concrete floor, what flooring options do we have other than tile?
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:13 PM   #4
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Frost wall ?


Here's a picture of a frost wall.
As cold and as low as the frost line is in your area I still do not see this as a great idea.
If you need your flooring 18" above grade I see no point in building it as a frost wall foundation.
Might be fine for a garage, or a slab foundation house.
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Old 05-31-2013, 06:48 PM   #5
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In your area no way would I try and build a 3 season porch on piers.
I'd just pore footings and build a real foundation.
What do you mean by a "real foundation"? The building inspector also suggested a frost wall and a concrete floor.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:18 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post
I have no idea what a frost wall is. The depth would need to be 48" deep. The deck floor is only about 18" above grade. Porch will be 12' X 19'.

1) One problem is: A drain pipe runs under the current deck to our septic tank(which is near one corner of the deck). Can a frost wall be used with the drain pipe down there?

it could be run through the frost wall, however it would be better to relocate the line in case of future issues.

2) Is a concrete slab only good for certain types of floors, such as tile? I'm not sure what flooring type we will use.

frost wall wouldn't give you comfortable walking area, you'd need to go full depth on your walls. concrete slabs can be used for pretty much any flooring is done properly. search the forum for basement remodels and you'll see.

3) Generally, is a frost wall and slab a lot more money than using 48" footings, posts, beams and decking?

yes, you'd have to check with locals to find out how much more ....

Thanks for any advice and info.
a frost wall is a foundation wall (either concrete or concrete block) where the footing would be set below your frost line. this would be in place of the pier footings. If installed on the 3 sides of your room this would provide an enclosed area below the floor. this would help to prevent wind from blowing under the floor helping to keep it warmer. if you go this route I'd recommend a vapor barrier below a concrete slab. this helps to control moisture issues. cut an opening from your basement into this space and it could be used for storage.

realize this is not full height since the slab is only about 48" below grade, you could always make this a full basement (taller concrete walls) to provide additional storage/usable space.

remaining answers are shown above

Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:18 PM   #7
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Thanks again. The porch will butt up to 2 right angle walls, so there would only be 2 frost walls if we did that.
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Old 06-01-2013, 10:01 PM   #8
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Very often plan and code people recognize that a "3 season porch" can be slipped in later and becomes a "4" season addition. If you don't follow the suggestions the home may be on a future watch list for conversions and change of use. Having 2 exterior walls on a home is a little unusual and if the area is converted, you could be facing some different code and structural situations. - If you do not convert, you should have no code problems since you have fully approved sun porch following the suggestion of the code officials.

Local code officials have every right to exceed the model codes (they are just minimum standards), just as every state or jurisdiction may do.

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Old 06-01-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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so true Dick, they are not always as dumb as they seem .....
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Old 06-02-2013, 02:38 AM   #10
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Having 2 exterior walls on a home is a little unusual... Dick
What do you mean by this?
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:30 AM   #11
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consider putting some heat in the floor,,, warm floors are VERY kind to cold tootsies polish, acid-stain, or dye conc,,, install engineer'd wood flooring, carpet, tile, OR area rugs
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:08 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post
While at the local lumberyard today, the guy recommended a frost wall for the 3 season porch we want to build. That way we can have a concrete slab floor, and also insulate the sides and under the slab. I have no idea what a frost wall is. The depth would need to be 48" deep. The deck floor is only about 18" above grade. Porch will be 12' X 19'.

1) One problem is: A drain pipe runs under the current deck to our septic tank(which is near one corner of the deck). Can a frost wall be used with the drain pipe down there?

Yes, no problem generally, but you're tank could limit your options here....

2) Is a concrete slab only good for certain types of floors, such as tile? I'm not sure what flooring type we will use.

I take it this will be above grade, so you could likely use just about any type of floor as long as it's protected from the weather, and a vapor barrier is used under the slab.......

3) Generally, is a frost wall and slab a lot more money than using 48" footings, posts, beams and decking?
Generally, YES, but it really depends on what type of decking you're thinking of. A lot of the low-maintenance decking is extremely expensive. That said, there's a few different small steps involved for such a small foundation, so it's not that cheap for a pro to come in and pour a yard or two of concrete at a time, wait a day or two, come back and set 100 block, wait a few days, etc.....
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:13 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
Generally, YES, but it really depends on what type of decking you're thinking of. A lot of the low-maintenance decking is extremely expensive. That said, there's a few different small steps involved for such a small foundation, so it's not that cheap for a pro to come in and pour a yard or two of concrete at a time, wait a day or two, come back and set 100 block, wait a few days, etc.....
Thanks. Where are you located in Wisconsin? Do you see any problem building a 3 season porch(butting up against 2 right angle walls) with concrete pier footings? Using sonotubes 48" deep? Floor will be about 18" above grade.
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:30 PM   #14
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if you decide to go that way I'd put an inch or rigid insulation under the joists and then 1/2" plywood or building wrap. make sure to seal all seams, you don't want the cold wind whipping in the corner to come inside.

we do sonotubes set 48" deep here all the time for sunrooms/3 season rooms. cold floors is the biggest complaint that's the reason I use the rigid insulation, provides a thermal break between the wood joists and the exterior.

make sure you put the vapor retarder (kraft paper backing) towards the warm-in-winter side of the floor.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:33 PM   #15
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if you decide to go that way I'd put an inch or rigid insulation under the joists and then 1/2" plywood or building wrap.
It's going to be impossible to get under the joists though.

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