EPS15 Geofoam blocks were used to form up this above grade foundation in Westlake, Louisiana. The grade beam foundation system is commonly used in parts of the country that have a high water table and deep excavation is not practical. Lightweight blocks of expanded polystyrene make the perfect forming material. This project used 320 - 23” x 48” x 96” blocks of EPS15 Geofoam weighing just 55 pounds each, making them very easy to maneuver by hand without the need for heavy equipment. The blocks are easily cut using a Geofoam hotwire kit which consists of a 9‘ wire, 2 handles and a transformer to heat the wire. Two people move the hot wire through the block to cut or shape it as required. The EPS blocks can be placed before or after the rebar cages are installed and either rebar or strapping is generally used to secure the blocks in place prior to concrete installation.
Above ground grade beam foundations are often used in southern Louisiana due to the high water table. Construction can move at a more rapid pace using an above ground grade beam foundation because it eliminates delays caused by dewatering operations.
Grade beam foundations are just one of hundreds of different construction applications for EPS blocks. Some other applications include concrete form liners, secant and slurry wall forms, block-outs and other void fill applications.
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