Wooden Basement (what the #uck)?

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 basement...
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What no bldg codes in your area where do you live
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wally@_______.com wrote:

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 'forever' either.]
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.
Jim [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- http://www.advancedbuildings.org/main_cs_paterson.htmfound ]
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said...

If the plywood is tarred or a rubber membrane is installed on the outside of it, it should last a damned long time.
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You think it will last for the 200-300 years that the house will be around ?
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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 America?
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The life span of a house is getting shorter each decade, due to the value of the land..
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.
Steve
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On Sat, 20 Dec 2003 22:16:33 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Some, yeah. Not the ones where they used a wooden foundation (that tells me a lot about the other materials they are using.)

Good thing they had all those building codes to protect them back then, eh ? Otherwise they might not have been able to build a solid structure.
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Jimmy wrote:

Well, look at those stone arch bridges Romans built still carrying highway traffic load. Tony
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Yeah, but then again, the Romans had slaves, too. Imagine the projects we homeowners could do with material and labor savings like that. The mind reels.
AJS

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wrote:

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.
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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.
Kids. Harrumph.
AJS
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AJScott wrote:

Hi, I thought it was the other way around. I am the slave. Bottom of the rung. Even dog and cat are above me. Tony
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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....
--
My opinion and experience. FWIW

Steve



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said...

And you base these statistics on what?
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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 weather.
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.
AJS
wrote:

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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 12" deep is a footer tile, which will be backfilled all the way to grade for water drainage. Stone is laid at leaset 6" deep across the entire area which includes the footer tile and the floor area. This allows all water seeping from below the floor to drain and not effect the walls. Then the walls are built either on the stones or on a small footer. Then the floor is poured four to six inch's up on the sides of the studs and the floor actually holds the walls in place. The walls outside should be sealed with a water proof membrane, AND BACKFILLED with stone! Very important! Done right the wood will last hundreds of years
Remember that treated wood does not rot. But, it does absorb water and then it swells and cracks and will grow black mold. the real problem is when the proper drainage isn't 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 not you 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. The problem is that MOST basements are not put in as they should for the type of ground or water table that is particular to ones property being built on.
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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! Greg
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wally@_______.com wrote:

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:
http://www.cwc.ca/environmental/green_facts/wf_007.html
technical info here http://www.lisatec.com/PWF.htm
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