They just built a new house down the road from me and I was shocked
when I saw what they did.
The basement was dug, and they built a wooden frame of 2x6's, covered
it with green treated plywood, and that's the basement walls (below
grade). I realize that treated plywood is meant to be waterproof, I
question the life expectancy. What are we talking? Maybe 20 years at
most, before the plywood starts to disintegrate, and the dirt starts
falling in? And what about the frame, wont it warp inward? I did not
even see a cement footing under it. I also question the savings. I
know that cement block or a poured concrete foundation is costly, but
treated plywood and 2x6's are not cheap either. So maybe they saved a
couple hundred bucks today, but when the wood falls apart and nails
rust thru, how much more will it cost to jack the house up to replace
the foundation. Somehow I think this is a huge mistake.
One other thing, I can imagine how much water pours into that
It would be interesting to see how they are holding up, but I remember
a big pitch on PT basements 25 yrs ago. They were supposed to be
good for 100 yrs, and though they saved some money while building, the
big pitches were how much cheaper it was to finish a basement that
already had wood walls [and I think floors in some cases], and how
much better an insulator wood was than concrete.
The specs I looked at back then did call for a concrete footer.
It was sold as a great DIY solution back then because it took no
special tools & could be done by the same homeowner who was about to
build his house.
I'll bet the wood will outlast the original owners at least-- and
maybe it will all hold together for 100 years. [And living in a house
on a 100 yr old foundation, I must mention that fieldstone isn't
My concern with the PT wood is that 10 or 20 yrs down the road they
may well find that the new PT has chemicals in it that are just as
harmful as the old PT that people used for 20 years. [and what does
that do for any possible resale value]
I don't think this is a disadvantage. If there is water sitting
behind a wall, be it concrete, block, fieldstone, or wood-- that water
will find a way in. The trick is to remove it before it gets close
to the foundation.
[went googling for a website that mentioned the 1970's homes that were
built with PT foundations. I didn't see any, but I did find this new
apartment building in Canada-
You think any house built now will still be around in two or three centuries?
Yes, I know, there are plenty of houses standing now that are older than that.
But they were built more solidly then than now.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
How come we choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss
The life span of a house is getting shorter each decade, due to the value of
I see it all the time in large cities, where they bull doze prefectly good
house that are only 20 year old.. Just to put up townhouse or condos.
You married ? Got kids ? There's your slaves!
Now, speaking of old stuff, the Western wall (foundation) of King
Solomon's Temple is still standing. I'm guessing that they didn't
use PT Wood for that one.
Yup, I collected the whole set. Ever try to get kids to just carry out
the trash? Worst damn slaves in the world. Whipping and holding back
their ration of straw for making bricks doesn't work, either. You just
end up with a pile of crumbly-ass dried clay at the end of the day.
Maybe their going to put a manufactured home on the foundation.. They seldom
last longer than 20 years (it the tornados don't get them first). ;o)
I live in a 28 year old tin shack and it has treated plywood for skirting on
treated 2x4s. This stuff is mostly above grade but the ply weathers very bad
and there is some delamination....
True, manufactured homes (up here we still call 'em house trailers) last
much longer than 20 years. We still have ones built during the late '60s
and early '70s still looking pretty good even in our ugly Chicagoland
But dollar for dollar on the longevity scale, you still can't beat the
biggest Airstream. Ain't no double-wide for sure and pretty pricey for
white trash livin', but damn roomy still and all. And you can hitch 'em
up and move 'em a lot faster than a double-wide if the tornader is still
a good ways off.
They will last as long as the quality of the installation.
The basements are dug, outside where the walls are, at lease six inch's more and
is a footer tile, which will be backfilled all the way to grade for water
is laid at leaset 6" deep across the entire area which includes the footer tile
floor area. This allows all water seeping from below the floor to drain and not
walls. Then the walls are built either on the stones or on a small footer. Then
is poured four to six inch's up on the sides of the studs and the floor actually
walls in place. The walls outside should be sealed with a water proof membrane,
BACKFILLED with stone! Very important! Done right the wood will last hundreds
Remember that treated wood does not rot. But, it does absorb water and then it
cracks and will grow black mold. the real problem is when the proper drainage
performed and the insulation then really grows molds AND mushrooms!!!
I have seen many that were perfect and others that were terrible!
BTW, these same measures should also be used with concrete or blocked walls, if
will have cracks in the floor, walls, water seepage etc. If the wood walls are
put in the
same as conventional basements SHOULD be installed then there should not be a
problem is that MOST basements are not put in as they should for the type of
water table that is particular to ones property being built on.
My dad and I built a house 30 years ago with a treated wood foundation. A
concrete footing was foured first, then the wall were built on the footing.
A concrete slab was poured after the foudation was up. The foudation walls
were made of 2x6 treated with 5/8" treated plywood. The walls were tared
then heavy plastic was stuck to the tar. Draintile was laid, then the works
was back filled with pea gravel.
The house has held up well with no problems in reguards to the foundation.
Granted the walls are finished on the inside, so if any problems arise, they
may have to get seriuos before they get noticed. The home was aso insulated
with foam, polyisocyanurate if I recall corectly, and has been very
inexpensive to heat and cool. I live in a house that is 3/4 the size that
costs 1-1/2 times to heat!
It's called a PWF, or permanent wood foundation, and seems to have
migrated here from Canada where they have been in use since the 1960s:
technical info here
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