June 28, 2018

Bautex Wall Systems vs. Concrete Masonry Construction

An important benefit of the Bautex Wall System over concrete masonry construction is Bautex is faster and simpler to construct. In the past 50 years, increasing demands on wall systems have led to improvements in energy efficiency, durability, and fire and storm resiliency. Wall systems must also provide a comfortable and healthy environment for building occupants. The Bautex Wall System meets these demands and is also simple, quick and easy to build.

Problems with Concrete Masonry Construction as it Strives to Meet the Demands of the Modern Wall System

Surprisingly, with the rise in demands on wall systems, the basic design of concrete masonry construction or units (CMU) has not changed in decades. Instead of improving the overall design of CMUs, designers and builders have applied a band-aid approach that adds new components, extra layers, and additional steps. Unfortunately, this complicated process has resulted in longer construction schedules, more money, and more opportunity for errors during the building of a CMU wall system.

Advantages of Bautex Wall System Vs. CMU

The Bautex Wall System simplifies construction, shortens the schedule, lowers cost, and reduces construction problems over CMU. The Bautex Wall System combines the strength and fire resistance of cement with the lightweight and insulation properties of foam in one easy-to-install unit. The Bautex wall system uses one trade instead of the several required for insulated CMU construction.  Also, Bautex uses fewer materials,steps, and less labor than CMU. Consequently, the Bautex unit installs at least two times faster than CMU. The goals of both the Bautex Wall System and CMUs are to create energy efficient, durable, and fire and storm resilient wall systems. The wall systems must also provide a comfortable and healthy environment for the occupants and faster construction for the builder. The notable advantage of the Bautex Wall Systems versus concrete masonry construction is Bautex is quicker and easier to build than concrete masonry construction.  

How the Bautex Wall System is Constructed

Building a Bautex Wall System is simple and fast. Construction of a Bautex Wall System involves a crew laying the composite Bautex Blocks end-to-end, then gluing them together with a foam adhesive. Next, the crew installs horizontal and vertical reinforcement rebar inside the wall as they move up the structure. Finally, the crew pours high-flow structural concrete into the wall. The composition of the Bautex block includes expanded polystyrene (EPS), which provides built-in continuous insulation, and cement, which is durable and fire-resistant. The Bautex Wall System also consists of the Bautex Air and Moisture Barrier which limits thermal convection1 by preventing the infiltration of air and moisture to the interior of the structure. A single contractor, trained by Bautex, installs the entire Bautex Wall System. Typically, a three-person crew can build 800 square feet of Bautex wall in one day - half the time it takes to produce the same size concrete masonry wall.  

There are several reasons concrete masonry walls take more than twice the amount of time to construct over Bautex walls:

  • Bautex Blocks are four times the size of 8”x8”x16” CMU blocks and close to the same weight as one CMU block.
  • Bautex Blocks are dry stacked and glued together, eliminating the labor and time to mix, handle and trowel mortar like CMU construction
  • Bautex can be installed by less skilled, less expensive and more available labor.
  • Production rates per labor hour are double that of CMU
  • A concrete masonry wall needs an application of insulation. Installing insulation over the concrete masonry wall requires a second trade to the job site. The second trade adds costly labor and more time to the construction schedule.  
  • Because concrete masonry walls are fifty percent heavier than Bautex Wall Systems, they require a stronger foundation than Bautex Wall Systems, which adds additional time and expense over Bautex Wall Systems.

For one- to three-story building projects, the Bautex Wall System saves money, reduces labor and shortens construction schedules over concrete masonry wall systems. The Bautex Wall System also ensures an energy efficient building that exceeds the most demanding building codes with an R-value of R-14, without exterior or interior finishes. Additionally, the Bautex Wall System is noise reducing and storm-resistant and has an ASTM E119 fire rating of four hours with ASTM E84 values for flame speed of zero and smoke development of twenty. Importantly, the Bautex Wall System is easy to install and can save money and construction time over concrete masonry wall systems.

1Thermal convection occurs when heat moves from the warmer side to the cooler side of a wall by the flow of liquid or air molecules.  A tightly sealed building envelope with adequate air and moisture barriers can stop thermal convection and create a comfortable environment for the occupants.