First WarmFörm Passive House Element installation

This WarmFörm slab in Ohio is our first installation of our new Passive House WarmFörm elements. This one features the 6″ vertical face to match with the house’s 6″ thick exterior insulation. More photographs are posted in the project album.

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New WarmFörm Elements with 4″, 6″, & 8″ Passive House facing


We are preparing to introduce an expansion of the WarmFörm product offering – new face thicknesses to meet the demands of the Passive House standard. These new elements will be available in a 4″ face, 6″ face, and 8″ face. Note these Passive House Elements have no beveled top edge like the standard WarmFörm Elements in order to match up with thicker exterior insulation layers in wall assemblies. R value varies per temperature, but the foam manufacturer’s Design Thermal Resistance per inch for this Type IX foam is R 4.8/inch. So face R value at 40deg F for these Elements is 4″ R19.2, 6″ R28.8, & 8″ R38.4.

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Another new WarmFörm installation in NY

For this installation the customer is an experienced contractor trying WarmFörm for the first time. Located in the Catskills region of NY state, for this site they are avoiding digging down for a 48″ frost line. Read more ›

WarmFörm making foundations in NY State

Concrete pour happening this day for another WarmFörm frost protected slab-on-grade in NY state.

Paper on Swedish Wall Element Construction

Greg and I are often asked to explain how “closed walls” are built in Sweden, often the focus on these questions is oriented around “automation”, and while it is true that automation is used to build wall elements in Sweden, the process is not dependant upon automation.

Here is a paper that lays out much many of the details:  Summary of Swedish Wall Element Construction

WarmFörm graces South Dakota


A new WarmFörm installation in South Dakota for a large ranch style home. Owner and concrete subcontractor laid out and installed themselves for a smooth and painless insulated slab on grade. Feedback – the concrete guy loved this!

Updated WarmFörm face texture in the works

Our first runs of WarmFörm elements featured a smooth parged cement face, but its always been our intention to implement a textured face as used by the best manufacturer’s in Sweden. We are ironing out the kinks in our new brushed cement face finish. The idea is that the vertical striated texture will blend better with the vertical joints between the elements for an overall better appearance.

striated texture

Butterfly Tables land in the Motor City


Last week Phoenix Haus, took delivery of four, 9 meter wall framing tables from Randek.  The tables are the BS20 “workhorse” that is found throughout Scandinavia providing an ergonomic solution to support panelized wall panel production in a small shop setting.  The tables are not motorized, nor are they equipped with any automation, but they clamp, square and turn the walls hydraulically.

PhoenixHaus is focused on producing homes to the “passivhaus” standard – and is located in the center of Detroit, a city that is famous for a lot of things but most recently for having vast areas to rebuild and at least some of these houses will be built to the highest level of building performance, the “passive” standard.

The “butterfly table”, or  Vändbord in Swedish, was invented by Randek in 1963, and was designed to allow the wall to be turned or flipped so that work can be done on both sides.  Its an ingenious, typically Swedish bit of design that has been copied many times and is standard in European house factories.

Butterfly tables are not used in the US or Canada because producers here do not “turn” their walls during production.

Phoenix, has a closed panel product that will take advantage of the Randek table’s turning function.

New WarmFörm install happening in Maine


The second installation since the open offering of WarmFörm happened at the end of August, beginning of September in Maine. This is for a small vacation cabin on a small wooded site. The owner is a builder working for himself in this case.

More photos of this installation are here.

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WarmFörm In (On) the Ground in WA

On the fourth of July holiday weekend I followed our WarmFörm order out to the construction site in Eastern Washington State to witness, advise, and photograph the installation.



Right now we are spending a non-trivial amount of time making sure our customers understand the configuration of their WarmFörm installation, and laying the ground work for successful installations. At the same time we are writing “The Book” on WarmFörm – the design manual and install instructions which will eventually replace all our hands-on insights.

Being a consultant type, normally I would fall on the side of personal consult trumps instruction booklets every time. But for WarmFörm its not so. The system is so simple, so straight forward, that a good description, a couple of examples, any competent builder will be able to quickly install a WarmFörm foundation. That was put to the test in Washington and proved so in spades.

The installation was done by the Owner Chuck, with some help from his son Ben, but the team was lead by the Owner’s brother Pete, a full-time home builder who was eager to work with WarmFörm. Pete took the bull by the horns, and applied his own experience with laying out and squaring foundations to leading the install of the WarmFörm. Final leveling and layout of the Edge Elements took the first day. Second day the first center layer of foam was laid, penetrations sealed, and the vapor/radon barrier installed. I headed home then, but the second and third layers of foam were completed on the third day. At that point the WarmFörm was ready for reinforcing and concrete. Remember, after that its done – no forms to strip, no slab edge to insulate and finish.

What is notable here is a three day install with a two man crew working with WarmFörm for the first time. Half a day of that three was spent on prepping the stone base, which with experience could have been completed in advance to the tolerances needed, preferably by the sub-contractor that laid the stone. We also spent a good half day squaring the forms as the layout strings got away from us during the layout. The strings were too low and interfered with the layout. Squared strings at the proper height would have avoided this and saved much of the effort here. So my observation is that with experience and foresight on the preparation this could have easily been done in two days.

Here in lies the promise of WarmFörm. Fast installs of a system that yields a superior product. A highly insulated slab on grade that does not require excavation below frost. The take away for future first-timers reading here: Level stone prep is your biggest goal and will pay off when you layout. And squared strings set at the top of the forms so you can layout square from the start is also a huge timesaver.

More photos of this install can be viewed on this flick albu

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