The Integra Wall Stystem
Difficulty Rating: Expert
Introduction to the Integra Wall SystemThe Integra Wall System is a full wall system and has a number of different features than a regular masonry wall constructed out of Concrete Masonry Units (C.M.U.).
There is no difference in how the blocks are pieced and stacked together with mortar; the difference is in the design of the block and additional components to the wall that makes it a whole wall system.
We will cover them each component individually starting with the design.
The Block DesignIf you stood over the top of a standard C.M.U. and looked down you would see a rectangle block with two square cells in the middle and could relate the block to resemble the letter 8.
Now, stand over the top of an Integra block, made out of the exact same material, and you will notice that the short ends of the rectangle are missing and the block resembles the letter H.
This allows the Integra wall to radiate over 1/3 less heat from the outside of the wall to the interior of the home.
Specialty BlocksBecause the Integra Wall System is designed as a whole wall system several specialty blocks had to be design in order to maintain the structural integrity without introducing additional radiant heat.
Wall penetrations: windows & doors
The last block on top of the wall directly above the anchor bolts are the plate bearing block
Post TensionThe first unique component we see in the Integra Wall System that we do no see in standard masonry construction is the use post tension rods.
Before the concrete foundation is poured, anchor bolts made of high tensile steel are placed at set distances and around the entire foundation and on either side of the windows and doors according to engineering specifications.
These anchor bolts will later be secured to the top of the wall once all the blocks are set. This creates the post tension for the wall and ties every block into the foundation of the building.
Securing the Tension RodsUsing impact wrenches the tension rods are secured to 7,400 lbs. An orange sacrificial washer is set in between the square metal washer and the bolt; when the washer reaches the correct tension level it bursts indicating to the installer its set to 7,400 lbs. The orange fragments can be seen in the image to the right.
Injecting the FoamA two part poloyurethane foam is injected into the wall cavity using a high pressure nozzle.
The two parts of the foam are not mixed until they his the mixer in the spay gun and at which point starts a reaction which caused the foam to expand 32 times its original size.
No pore in the concrete is safe and no air gap is left. This step is key for the energy rating that comes with the Integra Wall System.
Cutting Away the ExcessTen minutes after being sprayed into wall cavity the foam fully formed and hardened. The excess that extends above the wall and window sills is cut away with a hand saw and scrapped off the walls with a flat metal edge.
TeamworkA reasoned crew (without Romey getting in their way taking 100's of pictures) will finish an average size home in less than four hours.
This crew in particular the crew, with the exception of the foam gum operator, changed jobs three times.