Typically, when we think of basements, we think of concrete. All too often, we also think of cracks, leaks, musty smells and dampness. However, put a permanent wood foundation under your home and see how quickly your experiences will change. Wood foundations take the mustiness out of basements and create warm comfortable living spaces.
How is this done? First, the wood is pressure treated with wood preservatives that become chemically bonded in the wood. This process protects the foundation from fungi, termites and other causes of deterioration - permanently. Next, the walls are engineered to absorb and distribute soil loads and stresses that frequently crack and split other types of foundations. Third, the drainage system, which routes water away from the foundation, prevents a build-up of pressure against the foundation and stops leaks. This is accomplished with polyethylene and gravel, or a synthetic material called Enkadrain.
Permanent wood foundations are not only warmer and dryer, but they are also easier and less expensive to finish into energy-efficient homes. Insulation fits nicely into the cavities of the wood frame wall. Extra furring strips are not necessary, and nailable studs are already in place. This allows for considerable savings in time, expense, and convenience when finishing the lower level. In addition, depending on the location of the building site, permanent wood foundations may even offer significant cost savings over traditional concrete basements.
The permanent wood foundation system is an engineering construction system based on extensive laboratory and field testing. Forest Laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin has had wood foundation material in the ground since the 1940s and periodically checks it for any deterioration. Wood foundation walls have been used successfully beneath thousands of homes and other structures throughout the United States and Canada. They are accepted by major model building codes, federal agencies, and by lending, home warranty, and fire insurance institutions.
Amwood Homes, Inc. has been building wood foundations since 1981. Our wood foundation standards follow those outlined in Technical Report #7, published by the American Plywood Association. In fact, we built our 5800 sq. ft. corporate office as well as our 1625 sq. ft. model home on permanent wood foundations. In addition, a wood basement floor was used in the construction of our model home. The wood panels were constructed and shipped from Amwood's manufacturing plant in Toledo, Iowa, which produces the majority of the wood foundation panels for their homes.
Once a homeowner has lived with a wood foundation, it's hard to get them to switch back. The dryness, warmth and energy efficiency makes it very attractive and some even believe it will become the foundation system of the future.