The Wafflemat Foundation-Forming System

Wafflemat is one of the most-proven foundation systems ever developed, with millions of square feet of residential and light commercial space built across the United States and Mexico since 1995 – all without a single structural failure.

It is also one of the easiest, and in terms of cycletime, fastest to construct, taking 3 – 4 days vs. 10 – 14 for alternative slabs. Wafflemat conforms to both International Building Code and Post Tension Institute specifications.

To build a Wafflemat foundation, all that’s needed is a clean and level pad, as the system sits directly on grade. No pre-soaking is necessary.

After installing underground utilities, a task made much easier with Wafflemat because the trenching does not have to go under any in-ground ribs or deepened footings, the perimeter formwork is placed directly on the pad.

A series of interlocking Waffleboxes, 8½” or 12” high, 19” x 19” thermal-grade, heat-resistant, patented plastic forms, are then set directly on the ground. Strong enough to walk on, they connect together at the top and bottom with plastic clips supplied with the Wafflemat system and create voids in the foundation. There is only one way Waffleboxes can be installed, ensuring each Wafflemat foundation is laid out correctly – and, to code.

A post tensioned or rebar reinforced concrete slab, usually 4” – 5” thick, is monolithically poured directly over the Waffleboxes. The pour creates concrete beams running throughout the footprint and perimeter. The completed Wafflemat slab then sits on the ground like a raft.

There are two key features that set Wafflemat apart from all other foundations systems, and are the reasons why it delivers superior performance. First, the voids formed by the Waffleboxes act as ‘relief valves’ that absorb heaving soils and eliminate significant structural cracking.

Second, and even though Wafflemat provides one of the stiffest cross sections per cubic yard of concrete, the system has less contact area with the underlying soils when compared with other slabs. And, less contact area means less uplift pressure on the slab when soils heave.

In terms of environmental impact, a Wafflemat foundation uses less concrete and steel, and reduces excavation of soils and accompanying off-haul when compared to other systems. This results not only in lower carbon emissions, but also less erosion and transport of sedimentation in drainage and storm runoff waters ultimately flowing into the ocean. Wafflemat also assists builders in obtaining LEED points, most likely in the categories Energy & Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Innovation and Design Process.

Finally, and even though Wafflemat’s track record of reliability is unparalleled, it’s consistently one of the most economical systems in all construction, as reductions in soils prep, materials, and cycletime often produce cost savings of 10% – 20% when compared to other foundations.