Wooden Basement?

 
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:15 AM   #1
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Wooden Basement?


I gonna be building a house in the next year, and all the bedrooms are in the basement. What are some thoughts on wooden basements? I figure since I know I'm gonna finish the basement, why would I have a block or poured basement then spend the money to fur out the walls for drywall? Don't you kind of save by cutting out one step? What do you use to seal a wood basement? Any websites that may help would be appreciated.
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Old 04-18-2006, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: Wooden Basement?


They make a wood basement, it's called a two story house. Seriously though, the reason you use concrete is that is the only substance that can withstand the pressure of backfill against it. You need to hire a GC to help with your home building.

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Old 04-18-2006, 06:53 AM   #3
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Re: Wooden Basement?


ah?..... LWF, your jerking us around right?

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Old 04-18-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Apparently you guys aren't familiar with the practice. Backfill isn't any more of an issue than with block, which is quite fragile itself.

A few have been done around here, and they have some advantages, like you mentioned. I'd definately consider one if I was adding on to my own house, rather than paying a mason.

http://www.woodfoundations.com/
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:07 AM   #5
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Re: Wooden Basement?


I understand this has been going on much longer in Canada. I've seen it in lots of foundation and framing books.
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:14 AM   #6
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Quite common for people living in northern Wisconsin...

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Old 04-18-2006, 10:40 AM   #7
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Wow you learn something new everyday. Sorry for the ignorance. Around here if it is not at least 8 inches of concrete it won't hold. We have very rocky clay based soil that does not drain well and if the basement is not properly prepared with drain tile inside and out and a coating of tar it will leak like a seive (I think I spelled that right).

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Old 04-18-2006, 03:39 PM   #8
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Thats funny that those first two guys have never heard of these. I'm a heating contractor and I've seen a lot of them. Just wondered what GC's thought of them.....thanks for the input.
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Old 04-18-2006, 04:43 PM   #9
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Down here it sounds like a banquet for termites, mold, fungus, wet rot, dry rot, earthworms, boring beetles..........................
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Old 04-18-2006, 08:41 PM   #10
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Ok...learned something new, but it would take a lot of convincing to get me in the fold. For one thing, the web page says 100 sq/ft more living area in a typical basement compared to masonry...ok...I would have to see the actual date without buying the high dollar books. Funny thing, I am getting into insulating concrete homes (ICF) construction as a cost effective way to build over standard framing, and here it goes to save money, use wood foundations...
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:22 PM   #11
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Re: Wooden Basement?


It's been some years back when I first heard about wood foundations but the talk then was the problems with getting a loan. Lenders would not offer a 30 year mortgage. This might not be a problem but something to think about. Also the resale of the home might be affected just for the fact most people would be afraid to purchase.

Have a great day,
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:10 PM   #12
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Re: Wooden Basement?


I've seen a bunch of wood framed foundations around here 20 years ago but I don't see them anymore. I would think if conditions were perfect and consistantly perfect they would be fine. But who ever heard of that??
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:22 PM   #13
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Re: Wooden Basement?


I have never heard of any thing as crasy as wood foundation i live in B.C. and it is a rainforest! The only wood that doesn't rot that is in dirt in Canada is the root of a tree!!! I'm sorry i can't help with the question but i have only built 8" thick concrete fondations! Even 8" walls of concrete has issues with hydrolic water preasure that leaks into basements! this sound very bizzar to me! This is not a Canadian thing by any means. Maybe Arizona where it don't rain or snow or high water table ( ocean ) like where i live you put in a sand point 18' and you will never run out of water! Where i live you cannot buid basements because I'am 10' above sea level and 1 hr drive to the ocean. Well this wood foundation thing might work let me know if you find a web site. I'm interested Well im new so hello all to ya'll down south from the northern voice and thanks for this forum
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Old 04-26-2006, 06:05 AM   #14
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Stormin, They're called PWF (Permanent Wood Foundation). Do a search for Permanent Wood Foundation on the internet and you will get 100's of sites, including Canadian references!!!

We've been doing it in my area (North Iowa) for decades. I personally have built new houses on top of at least 8 that I can think of. On several occasions where we have had excessive rains and the phone ringing off the hook because of water in basements,NOT ONE call from people with wood basements. I actually called all the people I knew with wood basements to ask if they have ever had water problems, the answer was NO by all of them. Almost all the people I know with poured concrete foundations have had water problems at one time or another. I DO,(have water problems) and I can't wait to finally build me a new house with WOOD FOUNDATION!!!!

If you're interested or have questions, I will be more than happy to answer them, based on experiences.
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Old 04-26-2006, 02:25 PM   #15
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Re: Wooden Basement?


We have tons of wood foundations here in Alaska. I can't think of a worse thing to have. The lender issue is a big one and often the mortgage company will require a special structural engineer inspection for the loan to progress. We have seen lenders that have required the foundation to be replaced by steel pin (2" or 3") pilings with I-beams inserted under the house to carry the load.

Some of the problems we've seen are:
1. the attachment of the wall to the concrete footing. Bolts tend to deteriorate over time.
2. the hot mop or sealant of the wood sheeting.
3. Side or lateral loading of the wood foundation over time.
4. Earthquake requirements for an essentially very tall cripple wall can be very difficult to install.
5. Moisture issues always come up. For some reason most of our wood foundations are in the wettest of soils.
6. Maintenance can be difficult to perform if problems do come up.
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Old 04-26-2006, 07:01 PM   #16
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Quote:
1. the attachment of the wall to the concrete footing. Bolts tend to deteriorate over time.
We only tapcon the plates to footings,because the concrete floor inside will hold everything in place. How can the bottom of the wall move with 3 1/2" of concrete floor holding it? Or aren't you guys setting the walls below the floor?


Quote:
2. the hot mop or sealant of the wood sheeting.
No hot mop here. After sheathing, the whole thing is wrapped with 2 layers of 6 mil. plastic, then a rubber drainage membrane.


Quote:
3. Side or lateral loading of the wood foundation over time.
We have had no problems with that. 2X8's 12" o.c.


Quote:
4. Earthquake requirements for an essentially very tall cripple wall can be very difficult to install.
Don't have earthquakes here, but how would that be any different than any other type foundation? The floor trusses are top chord bearing, with the bottom chord 8 3/4" shorter. The bottom chord butts against a 2x4 nailed to the side of the studs, holding the top of the wall in place.


Quote:
5. Moisture issues always come up. For some reason most of our wood foundations are in the wettest of soils.
Any exterior moisture runs down the rubber membrane directly to the tile. The whole thing is backfilled with washed pearock to alleviate hydrolic pressure and makes it drain faster to the tile.


Quote:
6. Maintenance can be difficult to perform if problems do come up.
How would that be different than any other foundation? I would think it would be easier since you are dealing with wood and not concrete. It would be a whole lot easier to add an egress window in a wood framed wall versus cutting & jack hammering an 8" concrete wall.
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Old 04-26-2006, 07:49 PM   #17
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Quote:
Originally Posted by maj
We only tapcon the plates to footings,because the concrete floor inside will hold everything in place. How can the bottom of the wall move with 3 1/2" of concrete floor holding it? Or aren't you guys setting the walls below the floor?




No hot mop here. After sheathing, the whole thing is wrapped with 2 layers of 6 mil. plastic, then a rubber drainage membrane.




We have had no problems with that. 2X8's 12" o.c.




Don't have earthquakes here, but how would that be any different than any other type foundation? The floor trusses are top chord bearing, with the bottom chord 8 3/4" shorter. The bottom chord butts against a 2x4 nailed to the side of the studs, holding the top of the wall in place.




Any exterior moisture runs down the rubber membrane directly to the tile. The whole thing is backfilled with washed pearock to alleviate hydrolic pressure and makes it drain faster to the tile.




How would that be different than any other foundation? I would think it would be easier since you are dealing with wood and not concrete. It would be a whole lot easier to add an egress window in a wood framed wall versus cutting & jack hammering an 8" concrete wall.

Yeah I guess since people never heard of wooden basements they didn't know that they still have a concrete floor.
Agree around the board with everything said and everyone I talked to was happy with them. Very warm basements I was in...

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Old 04-27-2006, 01:16 PM   #18
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Re: Wooden Basement?


Great post, maj. Water problems are usually due to improper drainage planning in any case. Building codes are slowly coming around to requiring what common sense would dictate is best practice, and a wood foundation brings nothing new to that challenge.
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Old 05-07-2006, 03:32 PM   #19
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Re: Wooden Basement?


there are many wood basements here in south dakota, work extremely well. of the ones i've seen built, the basement is overexcavated depth wise approx 8" and brought back up to grade with pea rock. the footings are poured, walls built, and double wrapped with poly, they backfill the basement overdig with pea rock up to about 1' of finished grade. they appear to be much warmer than a concrete wall, plus if installed properly have no more water problems than a masonary or poured wall
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Old 05-08-2006, 05:38 AM   #20
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Re: Wooden Basement?


i'm about to add about 1800 sq ft to my house, not all of that is foundation, it'll be real fun trying to do this, while working on my jobs, but i'm going to try. can't be paying someone else to do work on my own house, lol.
i'm in nj. the township i'm in has a higher water table with clay soil. i would think that it would be hard to seal between the wood wall at the bottom and the footing. and two layers of plastic just doesn't seem enough. i think i;d have to beef that up.
this is something i will definitely look into. because that was one part of the job, where i was going to have my mason come and do my foundation for me, so that it's done perfect. i could do it, but it would take much longer and wouldn't be as good as his, because he does it all the time.
if i could frame this foundation, that would save me a lot of time and money. not sure if i've ever heard of anyone doing them in the northeast. i know my current basement is block, and from 1952, with no drains around the perimeter, water every time it rains.
thank god for gravity daylight drains.

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