Foundation Systems Introduction
What is an All-Weather Wood Foundation?
It’s a basement built of wood, just like the walls of your house – with a difference. The difference is that the wood framing and plywood are pressure treated with a preservative to make them last in contact with the ground, like the wood pilings and supports under high-rise buildings constructed more than 80 years ago. (The preservative treatment is even better now.)
Why is an AWWF so good?
It’s a better building system because it has features no other foundation system can offer. Here are just a few.
- It is designed and engineered especially for your home site, your soil conditions, your house plan. Wood foundations don’t crack because plywood-and-lumber construction acts as a structural diaphragm, a ”bridge” across areas of differing soil settlement. Wood has the ability to absorb stresses of all types that cause cracks in more brittle materials.
- The All-Weather Wood Foundation provides drier, more comfortable living area below grade. The AWWF starts with an excellent drainage system built in, not fix-it measures later.
- The AWWF is dry to start with, because it’s built to be dry with dry materials, and it stays that way. Whether your house is set into a hillside or stands in a level lot, you get no moist, clammy “basementy” feeling, no musty smells.
- The AWWF costs less to live in. Wood is a natural insulator and wood framing provides for ease of installing thicker batt-type insulation, resulting in substantially less heat loss through the wall. You don’t have to pay for excessive heat loss through the foundation. An insulated wood foundation saves many dollars annually in fuel costs.
- An AWWF can cut your initial building costs. Your builder doesn’t have to pay workmen or delay construction while waiting for rain to stop, ground to dry or thaw, or concrete or mortar to cure. He can put in an AWWF in any weather. Your house goes up faster. You get a high quality home, bottom to top, and the savings can be passed on to you.
- A wood foundation is easy to finish inside. There is no need to attach furring strips to permit installing insulation and interior finish materials such as drywall or paneling. With an AWWF, the nailable studs are already in place. Thicker, more effective insulation can be readily added to an AWF wall. Finishing is as simple as any other wood wall. If you are a handy homeowner, you can save even more money by doing the finishing work yourself.
- The AWWF exterior can be finished many, many attractive ways. It can match or complement the rest of your home’s exterior. It can be finished with wood siding, stucco, brick veneer – any kind of finish used on the upper part of a conventional home. Plywood sidings with wood stains make available many pleasing combinations of texture and color for the entire structure.
- An AWWF provides more actual living area below grade. Multiply the extra three to six inches of concrete or masonry wall thickness by the length and width of each wall in your basement. Add the answers together to get the total extra space your AWWF provides. This can add from 35 to 70 square feet or more. At today’s construction costs, it’s a meaningful bonus benefit.
- An AWWF is easy to remodel. You can add window or door openings or readily make additions to an AWWF at a later date.
Who says an AWWF is a better building system?
All-Weather Wood Foundations are recognized by all the major building codes in the United States and by most local codes. They are also accepted by both government and private mortgage insuring and lending agencies. The Farmers Home Administration guarantees loans up to 50 years for certain multi-family housing units on All-Weather Wood Foundations. Loans for single-family homes on AWFF’s run the same length as other conventional home loans. Insurance rates are the same as for other foundation systems.
People who live in homes on All-Weather Wood Foundations say that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
All Wood Foundations Are Not Created Equal.
Reading thru our literature, you know that Natural Spaces is committed to resource efficiency and minimizing environmental degradation.
When first available, we switched to the new ACQ treated wood containing NO Arsenate, Chromium or other EPA listed hazardous items. ACQ preserve is guaranteed to protect against rot, decay and termite attack using an environmentally-sensitive preservative. It also comes with a lifetime warranty.
We also use a 60 mil thick membrane waterproofing which will not dry out and crack like old-fashioned tar dampproofing. We use high quality stainless steel nails below grade.
Our standard wall utilizes ACQ preserved 2×8 kiln dried studs for added strength and insulation value. Our footings are 2×10 providing better bearing.
We custom build our treated wood foundations in pre-panelized sections to match your dome above. The stud size, spacing and details are worked out for your site. For those who want to build and fabricate their own foundation panels, we can provide detailed shop drawings. Those are most of the reasons why ours is the highest quality treated wood dome foundation on the market.
Our domes are often built using other types of foundations: insulated concrete slab on grade (often with radiant floor heating systems built in); crawl spaces; pier footings; full lower levels (basement or walk out). We also have many domes utilizing the new insulated foam forms for reinforced poured concrete walls.