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Types of Foundational / Structural Walls


Frame Walls: Exterior wall studs are the vertical members to which the wall sheathing and cladding are attached. They are supported on the bottom plate or foundation sill and in turn support the top plate. Studs usually consist of 1.5” x 3.5” or 1.5” x 5.5” lumber and are commonly spaced at 16” on centre. This spacing may be changed to 12” on centre depending on the load and limitations imposed by the type and thickness of the wall covering used. Frame walls include the vertical and horizontal member of exterior walls and interior partitions. These are referred to as studs, wall plates and lintels (headers) and serve as a nailing base for al covering material. Most frame homes are covered with wood planks to create a 100% wood siding wall. Other stud coverings can include Hardiplank (a man made material) or vinyl siding over wood planks. Frame homes can also be covered with stucco over wood siding by attaching a wire mesh to help the stucco adhere to the wood siding.


*Block Walls: Block Walls are the most common type of foundational wall for homes used in the South Florida, Port St Lucie, Palm City, Stuart, Jupiter and the Palm Beach Real Estate Markets. Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) is a concrete block that is 10” wide, 16” long and 8” tall. The blocks are3 mortared together in a row and stacked on top of one another, piece by piece, in a mortar joint. The top course, or row, is made with solid blocks. The first course laid next to the footer has holes approximately every 6 feet funning along the bottom of the wall. These are known as weep holes and are used for relieving hydrostatic pressure on the exterior of the wall.


Note: Most builders will “strap” the footer of the foundation with the “header” at the top of the wall using rebar or beams that are concreted into the footer, run up the block wall and secured to a header beam with bolts. The roof trusses will also be secured to the header tying the entire house structure together.

The final task the mason performs is to place two layers of parging (used mostly up north) or stucco (common to South Florida) to the exterior of the foundational wall. The first coat of parging is known as a scratch coat, and the second, fine coat covers the blocks of foundation wall and may be painted. Stucco can be applied in 1-3 coats then painted or the final coat can be a pre-colored stucco to avoid the need to paint.


Cast in Place Walls: Concrete foundation walls that are cast-in-place are formed by steel wall panels secured together with metal ties. The concrete is then placed between the panels like the filling in a sandwich. The panels are placed on top of the footer in such a way that and 8” wall has a 4” overhang of footer exposed at the bottom of the wall. 8” x 1.5” PVC pipes are placed at the bottom of the wall directly on top of the footer at intervals of approximately 6 ft.  This weep hole system eliminates hydrostatic pressure by allowing water to come in under the slab. After the concrete is placed into the panels, anchor bolts will be inserted along the top of the wall at 6-ft intervals. The frame of the house will be attached to the foundation using the anchor bolts. Stucco can be applied to exterior of the concrete for aesthetic purposes.


*Also known as CBS – Concrete Block Structure or Concrete Block Stucco

All listings featuring the RMLS logo are provided by the Regional MLS of Florida.

This information is not verified for authenticity or accuracy and is not guaranteed.

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MLS data updated 01/30/2023

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