Stephanie Dailey's basement house foundation construction, Utah, USA

House Foundation Site Visit – Exploring Stephanie Dailey’s Basement House Construction

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

Today’s site visit takes a quick look into the house foundations crafted by Utah’s master builder Stephanie Dailey. Join your host Matt Risinger as he unearths the innovative approaches and construction techniques behind Stephanie’s meticulous basement builds.

Discover why Utah is uniquely suited for basement living with its low frost depths. But see how Stephanie handles the challenges that high water tables pose through strategic foundation technologies that prioritize long-term structural integrity.

Stephanie discusses the state’s code requirements for frost-protecting deep basements through clever height transitioning using reusable formed walls. Learn her tips for ensuring perfectly plumb backfilled walls using tilt-up braces.

See Stephanie’s meticulous water-proofing from depressed mechanical room floors to comprehensive vapour barriers. Gain insights into seamlessly integrating in-ground utilities like HVAC with an architect’s eye for aesthetics and efficiency.

Over to Matt and Stephanie.

Exploring Stephanie Dailey’s Epic House Foundation

Video Transcript

I’m Matt Risinger and I’m Stephanie Dailey, and the Build Show is on the road. We’re at one of Stephanie’s jobs in Salt Lake. We’re going to be checking out this crazy house foundation. We’re going to see how they build foundations in Utah. Today’s Build Show is all about Stephanie and her cool foundations. Let’s get going!

Stephanie, giant foundation here. Is this typical for Utah? Uh, it is, yeah, for most parts. We’ve got a few areas where we’ve got some high water tables, but most homes in Utah have basements, okay.

So you guys are pretty cold here. You’ve got maybe 3 feet for a frost level? 4 feet, yeah, our frost depth is 30 inches. So if you’re going to go down to an 8ft basement, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to only dig three when you can go down this.

This doesn’t feel like an 8ft basement. We’re a little taller here, yeah. This one is a little higher, but most of our basements here are 8ft. And if you’re going to dig down to put in footings and foundation walls for a 3ft frost line, then might as well have a nice deep foundation. Might as well go now!

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I’m noticing, Stephanie, that you’ve got these lines in the foundation here that make me think that you’ve got some kind of special forms you used to pour this foundation. What am I seeing here? Yeah, the foundation contractor has reusable forms.

They actually spray them in form oil is what they call it. They stack them up. You can see the different lines to create different heights, and these form ties are what actually held them in place, probably exactly. And then they soak them down with the form oil, set them up to, depending on whatever your height is, pour them, and then they can just peel them right off after and reuse them for every job, got you.

And then, is this a footing that’s interior to the building? What am I seeing here? It is, yeah. This is an interior footing, so it’ll have a structural wall above it. And then I saw on your footing on the other side here, though, that you actually look like had some bolts in this footing.

What was happening there? Yeah, so when we have these really tall walls, that space that we were talking about over there is 13ft. We do these tilt-up braces, so those are not structural footings over there.

They poured them just so the guys could have a place to bolt the tilt-up braces to and hold these up nice and straight while we backfill. So a 13ft wall, if you drove a piece of equipment by that, you could easily crack that wall. You could, and it happened before, so that’s why, that’s why the tilt-up braces are now a standard practice for us.

That’s really smart. And now you’ve got a perfectly plumb wall when you’re done, too, right? Yep!

Now another thing I noticed, Stephanie, is you’ve got a couple areas of the gravel seems like it’s purposely lower with some orange marking. What’s happening here? What am I seeing?

You’re standing in the mechanical room. So one of the things that we do on all of our houses is we actually depress the mechanical room floor an inch and a half. So when we pour this slab, it’ll be an inch and a half lower than the rest of the basement, ah!

We’ve also got these drains in here too, so just in case something happens, if your AC breaks or your steam, id, yeah, exactly, the water’s going to go in here. But in order to protect the rest of the house from that water, we’ve depressed this an inch and a half, and it’s just another piece of almost like a little mini shower drop, basically, right?

That is really cheap insurance, cuz this doesn’t cost much to do, does it? It doesn’t, no. There’s no additional cost for us to do that, and it’s the best thing you can do to protect the rest of the space. Yeah, it’s really smart. Nice job by Stephen Daily Homes, impressive!

Now, Stephanie, what are these giant sewer pipes doing? I mean, is this your soil stack, and you’ve got 12in sewers going on here? That’s a good thought. It’s actually HVAC, so we’ve got underground duct work that’s running into the car garage over here with a duct work down flow furnace and air conditioning unit on it. That’ll is part of the mechanical room, I guess, exactly.

So I think this room will end up housing somewhere between two and three units. We’ll probably have two over here and another one over here for the house, um, but yeah, that one is specifically for the underground duct work that goes over into the car garage, and it’ll have a down flow furnace on you.

That’s really smart. So with this inch and a half depression here, uh, I’m noticing you’re putting some Stego, which is a vapor barrier down. Will you just run that into these depressions and then you’ll form later on top? While they’re, while they’re actually pouring this slab, yep, exactly. So the guys are going to come, they’re about to this section now, so they’ll pull the Stego over, keep taping it. And then when they come tomorrow to form and pour the basement slab, they’ll mark out this basement and get it in.

So golly, this is such a cool job. Everything is really crisp and really clean here. You guys do really nice work. Thank you, impressive!

Stephanie, thanks for giving this Texan a tour. You know, we’re mostly slab on grade, so for me to get in a foundation, I get a little giddy, I got to say. It’s really, to see, it’s fun. And you’re always welcome on our job sites, so check it out, guys. Stephanie Daily, Steven Daily Homes, here in the Salt Lake Area. She is brand new to Build Show Network. When we publish this video, you can go over and see her bio video and see her first couple videos on buildonnetwork.com. Huge privilege to have you building with us, Stephanie. Thank you! Happy to be here.

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