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
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.