Frame or Concrete Rear Wall on Walkout Basement
Zhou (Joe) Yuan emailed me today with a fascinating question about his new home under construction that has a walkout basement:
"I'm building a new house in Pittsburgh PA. This is my first home and I've been learning many aspects about building a house to make sure mine is well-designed before the builder breaks the ground.
It's a 9' ceiling walkout basement on a slope, and the rear wall is the walkout side with a door. My builder said they will only pour the other three basement walls with concrete and put draped insulation, but frame the walkout side using 2x6 studs with R-19 insulation and make it drywall. The picture on the left that I discovered online is what they intend to do.
I've seen other walkout basement walls are all poured concrete, as shown in the right pic (it's from a Ryan home). I don't feel very comfortable if mine has a framed wall. Especially when I think my builder is a reputable custom builder. I don't know why the builder has decided on this. Do you have any insights on this? Should I insist to ask for a concrete walkout side too? Thanks a lot for your time!"
Here's the answer, Zhou.
A frame wall on the walkout wall is just fine. Whatever you do, don't do it like the photo you supplied! From that photo, it looks like the basement slab extended outside. That's a GUARANTEED leak situation.
I've built many houses with walkout basements that have frame walls only sitting on top of a normal foundation. You get better insulation that way and structurally it's not an issue at all.
Your builder is going to do it the way I would do it. I sure hope you have excellent plans and specifications. That's where most jobs go south and heartache follows.
Remember, I offer a 15-Minute Consult service if you have questions before you sign the contract.