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Wood Foundations

Positives:

1.  Wood foundations are more comfortable than their concrete counterparts.  They allow for increased insulation levels within the walls making your basement a more comfortable place to spend time.

2.  They are more efficient than concrete foundations.  That increased insulation inside and out can substantially reduce heating costs.  About 30% of a homes heat is lost through the foundation.

3.  Wood foundations are constructed more consistantly in varying weather conditions.  Building a wood foundation is done just the same over each of the four seasons.  Concrete requires special processes during Calgary winter months. 

4.  You get a stronger basement floor.  The floor slab is a part of the support structure in a wood basement.  It prevents the base of the wood foundation walls from pushing in towards the centre of the basement so it needs to be robust.  The floor in a concrete foundation has nothing to do with the structure of the home and is often much thinner and prone to cracking and movement. 

5.  Although there is no research available, it is highly likely that as Radon testing becomes more widely implemented we may discover that wood foundations are less likely to allow high levels of radon gas into the home.  Radon moves into the home via air movement.  A concrete foundation allows more air movement because it is porous (has air bubbles in it) and has less insulation applied. As mentioned above, concrete foundation floors are often thinner and have more cracks that also allow significant air movement into the home.

Read more about wood foundations from the Canadian Wood Council.


Negatives:

1.  Wood foundations have a stigma to most buyers.  Buyers are concerned, and rightfully so, that the foundation may not be as strong as, or last as long as a concrete foundation.  This will likely perpetually hold the homes value slightly below it's potential indefinitely.  

2.  Wood foundations can allow water penetration faster than concrete foundations.  No matter what type of foundation material you have, it is absolutely imperative that you divert water away from the foundation with proper downspout installations, proper lot grading, and ground water management systems.  Concrete does leak quite often, but the leaking is typically held to some reduced volume of flow as compared to a wood foundation that will freely allow the water in where it has the opportunity. 




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