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Wood Foundations

 
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Old 03-17-2019, 03:41 PM   #1
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Wood Foundations


So I've seen several books detail wood foundations for full excavated basements. Basically a treated sheathed stud wall on strip footings, waterproofed and backfilled. Seems attractive from a price point but i would have serious concerns about durability. Any of you guys building wood foundations?
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Old 03-17-2019, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: Wood Foundations


They're relatively common in a community near here. I've worked on a couple.

The ones i've had to work on were wrapped in vapor barrier instead of a real waterproofing membrane. Hence why I was working on them.

The big thing about them is that you've got to get your waterproofing details right. No spray on crap like concrete, real SA waterproofing membranes. If it's done correctly though, I see no reason why they wouldn't last indefinitely.

Typically we see them backfilled with clear stone almost to grade. That's fantastic from a drainage standpoint. No one ever does that with concrete.

I'd consider building one if cost was an issue on a project.

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Old 03-17-2019, 06:22 PM   #3
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Re: Wood Foundations


I've built a couple.

As said above, it's all in the details.

PT wood.

Waterproof the wood for redundancy.

Keep the waterproofing dry for redundancy.
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Old 03-17-2019, 09:02 PM   #4
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Re: Wood Foundations


They're listed in the IRC (International Residential Code), quite a bit of general information on them in there, was just glancing at it and saw there's also a category for wood floors on grade! Will have to read up on that just to see what they have about it.
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:14 AM   #5
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Re: Wood Foundations


My buddies house is 30+ years old with a wood basement and has had no problems at all. Can't imagine they are all that much cheaper, considering how inexpensively some of the concrete basement subs work?
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:17 AM   #6
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Re: Wood Foundations


They "can" work good until they fail.

When the waterproofing/drainage on a poured wall fails, you end up with some wet walls/slab. When same happens with wood, rot and movement.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:20 PM   #7
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Re: Wood Foundations


have some around here
I have built a few of them
kinda like anything, build it right and it will last a long time
warmer and less damp feeling then concrete
I have considered it for my house
but I think icf is the best

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Old 04-02-2019, 11:51 AM   #8
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Re: Wood Foundations


I don't know exactly how long a wood foundation will last, but I know that the most common options to wood are poured concrete and concrete blocks, and I have seen those foundations fail in homes ranging from 10 to 50 years old.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:54 PM   #9
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Re: Wood Foundations


Small Town Guy: Not for Throw away Wood basements, but, the ones I brick veneered were far straighter and flatter then ANY low bid concrete foundation.....

The better built ones are built on Top of washed rock "french" drains under every wall that has perforated tile running through it to daylight, with frost tie downs on the tile discharges.

Tea bag the rock in filter cloth of course to add decades of service.

The "baseplate" needs a Engineer or competent builder to figure its width needed, as using a barn sill plate or double or triple plate to spread out point load on the treated plywood wall panels that are't any where near as stiff as concrete or even block walls.

By their nature, all wood basements are the cheapest to finish, the first time,
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:04 PM   #10
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Re: Wood Foundations


I bought an investment property that the block foundation was caving in on and replaced it with a PWF. It worked great for my situation. The waterproofing details have to be spot on. I used my moisture meter to see if the ply or studs had any moisture in them 6 years later...nope...4-7% even at the bottom. Made me feel good.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:08 PM   #11
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Re: Wood Foundations


I know that they're an accepted method in the mid west, but I think here in the PNW it might be a hard sell since the home inspectors and real estate agents haven't dealt with them.
Any of you guys who've built 'em get pushback when it's time to sell the house?
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Old 04-04-2019, 11:40 PM   #12
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Re: Wood Foundations


My parents have a wood foundation on an addition the built in 2000. Amazing how much warmer it is over a concrete basement.

The basement shares in floor heat with the bathroom above and the basement looses so little heat we had to add a electric baseboard heater to the bathroom above because the floor heat was on so little.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:57 AM   #13
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Re: Wood Foundations


Stunt Carpenter @12: Hot water heat, reverse/slow the water flow so it just heats the bathroom..instead of the seldom used basement. And or insulate basement ceiling...

High density foam under the basement floor ?

Put your load bearing concrete /CMUS inside the rain screen and insulation blanket, your structure will last centuries if it stays dry and and doesn't ever suffer any large daily temperature excursions. And the 50-100 tons of wall and floors act very large thermal mass that reduces wear on HVAC systems.
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Old 04-07-2019, 08:27 PM   #14
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Re: Wood Foundations


The problem is the thermostat that calls for heat to that zone is in the basement so it never calls for the heat.
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Old 04-08-2019, 04:08 AM   #15
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Re: Wood Foundations


@# 20 : lazy man, install a wireless t-stat?

Old school, run a wire, and add a (Programmable) t-stat?<300.00$.

Somebody short stroked the HVAC for the addition....IMO

Run the hot feed to in between the floor piping, install the "new" zone valves there, what the HVAC should have been originally, plumb returns as needed.

You might need a one way valve or two
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Old 04-13-2019, 12:14 PM   #16
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Re: Wood Foundations


Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishindude View Post
My buddies house is 30+ years old with a wood basement and has had no problems at all.


Check back with us in another 60 !
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Old 04-13-2019, 02:26 PM   #17
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Re: Wood Foundations


I've personally framed a wood foundation and my uncle has designed and built a few for himself. We used marine grade plywood and stainless fasteners for the below grade areas. Most of these walls were full 9' height.


One issue my uncle had on a home was an undersized stud for a tall wall which slowly began to crown inward from backfill pressure.


All said, having framed over 100,000 sqft of wood buildings, I would consider it for my home..and even the basement floor. However, I would carefully calculate stud sizing for all walls...proper drainage and vapor barriers.
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Old 04-13-2019, 06:51 PM   #18
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Re: Wood Foundations


Some info. I recently came across regarding stainless,coming from the marine industry was quite disconcerting. It appears that if stainless is in a low oxygen environment,it breaks down internally and fails sooner than if left exposed to the atmosphere. It has concerned me in the masonry field. Joint re-enforcement embedded in mortar I would classify as low oxygen. Same as wood buried.
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:07 PM   #19
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Re: Wood Foundations


Interesting..
I should look into that.
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Old 04-13-2019, 07:13 PM   #20
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Re: Wood Foundations


Quote:
Originally Posted by META View Post
Interesting..
I should look into that.

This is just one of several a good friend ,boat enthusiast and engineer shared with me.

https://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/mag...less-steel.asp

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