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Old 12-12-2010, 11:51 PM
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Default Wood basements: Any good??

Having finally sold my old house I can finally begin the search for a new house, I have noticed a good number of homes in Lloyd have wood basements. I know they have been around for awhile, just looking to see if any board members have any experience with them. Thanks.
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:24 AM
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STAY AWAY FROM WOOD !

I have looked at a lot of houses with wooden basements. Some were just fine, but from my experience thay are trouble...
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Old 12-13-2010, 01:34 AM
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Think about water, termites etc.


Look at the great temples, tombs and castles that are still standing in the world today. One thing they all have in common is they all are made from rock. The Great Pyramids are still standing after thousands of years as are temples in Central and South America. Europe has castles that are hundreds of years old that are still in excellent condition. Remember, concrete is nothing more than artificial rock.
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:09 AM
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I've been to one that was suffering from excess humidity problems, as the buggers who put it up skipped a lot of vapor barrier, and the place seems to be over a bit of a natural spring. This place is in the Strathcona area of Calgary, as regular a neighborhood as they come.... I was very surprised that they did something so unconventional as this there. It's actually less than a block from my Dads house and his place is normal. I don't know Lloyd, but I'd avoid any house similarly constructed like the plague. I don't like nasty surprises, and certainly don't want to be tied to a big one with a mortgage.
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:48 AM
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I have a wood basement in my house. I also have an engineer's report about 5 years old evaluating the condition of the wood. It is still in perfect shape with no degradation at all. My basement is 26 years old and built in an area where there is lots of groundwater. Termites and bugs are not a problem. The wood is treated so bugs don't touch it. Moisture also does not harm it. Remember; treated wood will last for decades underwater.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:12 AM
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most wood bacements are treated wood that usualy means very unfriendly cemmicals which give off fumes that get you after years of exposure.most wood basements are band from putting sleeping quarters in them. so I wood stay away from them.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:38 AM
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I crib basements for a living.Why spend 200,000$ building a house on a wooden foundation?Spend 8 grand on concrete that will last for generations.
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Old 12-13-2010, 04:51 AM
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a good concrete foundatoin will help keep valeu of the house for life time 100yrs.plus. I dout that wood wuold last that long. plus no knowen health problems
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:54 AM
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Call a few insurance companies and ask how a wood foundation would affect your rates. Be sure to be covered if that thing ever needs replacing if you still want the place. Those buggers have statistics for everything. I bet it'll be a higher rate than for a concrete foundation. Factoring that cost might be the deal breaker for you, who knows?
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:05 AM
rhuntley12 rhuntley12 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaberTosser View Post
Call a few insurance companies and ask how a wood foundation would affect your rates. Be sure to be covered if that thing ever needs replacing if you still want the place. Those buggers have statistics for everything. I bet it'll be a higher rate than for a concrete foundation. Factoring that cost might be the deal breaker for you, who knows?
Our insurance didn't go up for our new house (Other then rate hike due to being in the country and more expensive place) with a wood foundation, it's a 20 year old house and engineers report is fine on it when we bought.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:09 AM
saskbooknut saskbooknut is offline
 
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Default wood basement problems

Based on a sample size of one -
Friend's house in Saskatoon has had endless problems with water and wood foundation, even after he fitted a sump well which did not cope with all the water during a particularly wet spring.
A poorly waterproofed concrete basement would possibly have some problems too, but I have more faith in concrete.
It is incredibly disheartening to repeatedly have to repair a water damaged lower level.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
most wood bacements are treated wood that usualy means very unfriendly cemmicals which give off fumes that get you after years of exposure.most wood basements are band from putting sleeping quarters in them. so I wood stay away from them.
Sorry I do not know where you get your info from but I would not go back to it , nothing could be further from the truth.

Wood basements are fine, I have done plenty in my life. Only one thing though there is special care that needs to be done during construction. Not many framers do wood foundations and they might miss a step or two that could be problematic. I would suggest a full inspection and report with moisture content of the foundation wall cavity in many locations before I would buy. If the report comes back good Bobs your uncle, if the report shows any moisture I would stay away. This being said I would do the same test on a concrete foundation as well. many people end up with leaky basements as there is no attention given to the foundation if it is concrete. I just did a large wood foundation on a 6plex and the engineer has given it a garantee for 100 years.
The owner saved a few bucks with the wood but not worth the money saved in my opinion, but it was his choice and more contract for me. with the basement floor being 2 suites he did not want a pony wall all the way around, this is why he went with the wood. This being said I would buy a house that has a wood foundation after a clean inspection report, remember there are many companies that do concrete foundation repair as well, they leak too. There are no termites in Alberta and no other wood damaging insect will touch a treated wood, so disregard any concerns on this front. Good luck.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
This place is in the Strathcona area of Calgary, as regular a neighborhood as they come.... I was very surprised that they did something so unconventional as this there.
Strathcona's east slope is full of wood basements

An engineer would be preferred over an inspector for proper evaluation. However, if the building is 20+ years old, it will be damaged by now if not properly done. Most people shy away because it's outside of thier exposure, but a properly done foundation will last many years.
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Old 12-13-2010, 11:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
a good concrete foundatoin will help keep valeu of the house for life time 100yrs.plus. I dout that wood wuold last that long. plus no knowen health problems
We have a preserved wood basement in our house. House is 12 years old and we have had no problems whatsoever. That said, it is a walk out built into a hillside with excellent drainage. The soil is sandy. So I would not expect water problems regardless of basement type.
I was once told by an engineer that concrete foundations do in fact have a longer life expectancy than preserved wood. He said the concrete should last 103 years whereas preserved wood might only be good for 98. I ain't losin' too much sleep over that 5 year difference.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:28 PM
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I personally know of two homes with wooden basements where the walls heaved up to 4" from thier original position in the 25 years since they were built.Both owners ended up building a sub basement inside of the original basement to correct the problem.I should add that the homes are located in an area where the homes were built on what used to be muskeg,and we get a great deal of frost.However,the concrete basements are holding up fine in the same area.After seeing those homes,I will never consider a wooden basement.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fisherpeak View Post
I crib basements for a living.Why spend 200,000$ building a house on a wooden foundation?Spend 8 grand on concrete that will last for generations.

i think you are a few $$ short on your 8 thousand dollar guess. last time i looked into it a cement basement was between 20-30 grand for an average sized house. non the less either one can have issues if not done properly. and on the flip side if done properly either will outlast you.
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:49 PM
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Just because something meets the minimum building code standards does not neccesarily mean they are a good long-term solution.

The firm I work for often will not accept minimum standards related to building envelope due to liability concerns.

My personal .2 cents? I would never use a treated wood foundation.

Case in point, I'm working on a remote lodge where everything is to be flown in by helicopter. Despite very significant savings to go to a wood foundation, it was rejected and a concrete basement is going to be constructed.
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Old 12-13-2010, 03:37 PM
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The effectivness of a PWF foundation is dictated by the soil conditions and water table , depth below grade of foundation and lastly that it has been built correctly( to eng. spec, proper blocking, wall straps installed at proper centers , correct membrane and water barrier on exterior, etc). Much the same can be said for concrete or bloc foundations. I have built many PWF and concrete foundations, each is useful for certain designs and areas. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:20 PM
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If done correctly wood basements are just fine. Just make sure the proper steps are taken. I would not hesitate to do one myself.
As for not having bedroom in one that is total B.S. I grew up in one. You can not tell the difference. I think a wood basement is also warmer. Concrete can crack and usually it is not that well water proofed then you have a real problem.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:29 PM
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Default It's "Standard Practice" in Lloyd

When I was looking at houses in Lloyd a couple years ago they almost all had wood basements. It was new to me but I was re-assured they have good success with them. I don't know why it's standard practice there but we were hard pressed to find homes with concrete basements. I'm still skeptical and would prefer concrete, but unless you build a cu$tom house it may be your only option.

If it's built properly with good drainage I'm sure it will be fine. If it doesn't last 100 years I'm not convinced that matters. The rest of the house probably won't either.
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonnie View Post
most wood bacements are treated wood that usualy means very unfriendly cemmicals which give off fumes that get you after years of exposure.most wood basements are band from putting sleeping quarters in them. so I wood stay away from them.
X 500 there's a reason it doesn't rot and bugs won't touch it.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:07 PM
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Default Be realistic.

All of this is ridiculous. You have to build to your conditions. And wood basements are not for everywhere. They are A cheaper alternative for those that can build in dryer conditions. No matter where you go there is A ground water line when you start digging. This is the level that is constantly wet regardless of surface conditions. It could be 20+ feet underground or in the case of my house 2 feet under the surface. If the water line in the ground is anywhere against your basement then wood is iffy as A long term option. You can build about anything. Quality and longevity is another thing. You can put A wood basement in with the water line against it.. And you will meet building codes. But one tear in that vapor barrier in the back filling and it is A long term problem. And even concrete fails. As I said above water line at my house is 2 feet below the surface and it freezes deeper then that so it swelled and cracked the foundation. This is due to the original builders doing A horrible job of drainage around the house. This is not A young house. But has A effectively useless basement. When I get rich I am gonna knock this sucker into the hole with my track hoe and start again. If they had done A proper job on the drainage surrounding to prevent the frost from getting to the water line around the house it would be fine. And if you can't drain it away you install weeping tile to shunt the water to the septic system and pump it away. Fact of the matter is anything that meets code is good as long as it is done right. And that someone takes the time to know what they are looking at when they go to plan their house. And how to give it the greatest longevity. EDIT. Loydminster area is quite dry I have many family members out in that area. Those that have basements area concrete but they are in the country..

Rhino.

Last edited by Wolf Medicine; 12-13-2010 at 06:16 PM. Reason: Loydminster area.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:54 PM
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Default Continuing edit.

As they are in the country. And the particular areas that they built theirs warranted the concrete against the ground water. But if you go 150 feet over as we did to dig in A water line to A water trough. Then you get above the water line and they could have gone with wood and had no worries about doing A wood basement. At my Uncles place it wouldn't matter you best get the concrete unless you are awful trusting of the vapor barrier or willing to trench the water away.

Rhino.
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Old 12-13-2010, 10:28 PM
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Default site conditions !!

I too would let site conditions (perc ratios, local surface drainage patterns, soil composition, final grade) drive the decision. Either way, foundation engineering & build detailing is a good place to spend time and money.
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Old 12-14-2010, 03:54 AM
Fisherpeak Fisherpeak is offline
 
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Originally Posted by bingo1010 View Post
i think you are a few $$ short on your 8 thousand dollar guess. last time i looked into it a cement basement was between 20-30 grand for an average sized house. non the less either one can have issues if not done properly. and on the flip side if done properly either will outlast you.
Right,I was thinking what we get for cribbing,stripping and waterproofing.
You CAN indeed have problems with concrete if not done properly.Same as anything.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:16 AM
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A wood basement is easier to finish but requires finishing. i built with foam block with 6in of concrete inside. warm, quick to build, easy to finish. yea may cost a little more. but the strenght of concrete, with good insulation.
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Old 12-14-2010, 12:42 PM
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I have a 20 year old house with a wood basement and I live 200 feet from the shores of Cold Lake. The water table is very high here. I would not trade this basement for concrete ever. It's warm, it's dry and I believe it was done correctly. I was skeptical when I first bought it (13 years ago) but I'm a believer now. I don't know anyone personally that has had a wood foundation repair done; but I know lots of concrete fixes.
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Old 12-14-2010, 01:30 PM
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I too have lived in and built homes with both wood and concrete foundations.

A wood foundation that is properly designed and constructed should have no issues, and should be warmer. But, as with anything, cut corners, make mistakes etc and you're asking for troubles.

Spend the time to talk with an engineer and get it inspected by someone who knows about them and all should be good.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:48 PM
59whiskers 59whiskers is offline
 
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Concrete is hard to beat when built the right way. Seen lots of speculator houses built on wood basements and the prices for these houses are the same as ones with concrete. If I planned to live in the place for the next 50 years I would buy a house with a concrete basement in a area that does not have a high water table and a sump pump going all the time.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:58 PM
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Concrete crack s, heaves and colapses at the same rate as other foundations. If the ground is movable as with clay etc. It moves period. Wood foundations are perfectly fine if prepared properly. However as with most consrtuction these days, nothing is done properly by trades people. It is done as fast as posible to finish & get paid. That is the reality.

Straw bale houses made correctly will last over 100 years. Want proof, drive past the Straw Church near the Bad Heart outside of Grande Prairie AB. 110 year old.
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