Wood Foundation

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Old 01-29-2007, 06:55 PM   #1
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Wood Foundation

anyone ever heard of a panelized wood foundation system? The only info I can find on them is from the company that installs it so they might be a little biased.
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Old 01-29-2007, 08:53 PM   #2
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Re: Wood Foundation

You can DIY. In fact, I built a small one to bump up a poured wall that was 3 ft below grade at one section (long story). I gathered all my documentation and ran it by the local building inspector first, though. In fact, I heard the Empire State Building is built on a permanent wood foundation. Check out www.southernpine.com and follow the "applications" link for more info. It's also explained in the 2003/2006 IRC, but you should always check with your local building official to be sure their on the same bandwagon/wavelength.

Hint: Don't cheat yourself when doing this. Be sure all your wood is treated/rated for below grade. It usually has a higher chemical content that regular p.t. wood. Although most of the wood was marked, I actually had to show receipts to the building inspector to verify this fact.


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Old 02-09-2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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Re: Wood Foundation

For get it, unless your in a dry area. Pressure Treated lumber will rot over time, approx 10 years. Then you've got to deal with the pressure on the walls fom the exterior soil. Have you ever picked up a shovel of dirt. Well add that by every inch you go down
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Old 02-09-2007, 10:27 PM   #4
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Re: Wood Foundation

Originally Posted by maderuyck View Post
anyone ever heard of a panelized wood foundation system? The only info I can find on them is from the company that installs it so they might be a little biased.
minnesota mike
Are you talking about Woodmaster Foundations? If so, I talked to them at Glenbrook Lumber last summer and I was very interested in it. I did my research and the permanent wood foundations are used frequently in Canada and the northern climates. I don't see a downside to it.
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Old 02-10-2007, 04:46 PM   #5
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Re: Wood Foundation

There is one downside that has plagued the "All Weather Wood Foundation" system for over 30 years.

Wood, when loaded, especial with high moisture contents, has a long term, or possibly permanent deformation or creep. The wall may be strong enough, but it does continue to deform. Excavate the soil behind it, and it does not return to being straight unless you apply an opposite force and are willing to wait a few years to backfill.

This deformation also adds to the stresses in the wood since you end up applying a vertical load (weight of the house, etc.) to a non-straight piece of wood. We all knows what happens when you apply a load to a crooked column. These additional stresses contibute to further bending of the walls. Often, this also causes the top of the foundation to deflect inward and separate from the house, which fortunately minimizes the damage to the house.

On projects I have seen, if this deformation occurs, the only successful method of repairing and straightening the wall is excavation, pushing out the basement wall to straighten everything. After that, permanent shear walls were built inside the basement, perpendicular to the exterior basement walls so backfilling can take place.

This is ready not a "stress" structural problem, but a deformation problem due to the deflection when the basement is subject to high lateral loads.

The system is an engineered system and requires everything to be exactly as planned and assumed. Unfortunately, this does not alway occur in the real world when when you are dealing with organic materials (wood), soil and moisture. A minor drainage problem and wet soil can overload the walls causing unanticipated deflection.

The problem is a material and site problem that panelization does not address or solve. Rot or deterioration is a totally different subject.

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Old 02-18-2007, 10:09 AM   #6
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Re: Wood Foundation

Originally Posted by maderuyck View Post
anyone ever heard of a panelized wood foundation system? The only info I can find on them is from the company that installs it so they might be a little biased.
minnesota mike
You panelize a wood frame structure if you build them prior to erection. If you build the foundation in an erect state the wall is not panelized.

Last edited by woodmagman; 02-21-2007 at 02:53 AM.
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Old 03-07-2007, 11:13 PM   #7
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Re: Wood Foundation

The advantage of an AWWF is speed. You can have it up in a day, rather than the poured foundation process which takes over a week, including cure time, before you can backfill.

Check out Superior Wall. Same idea, but done in concrete.


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