Wood Basement in Clay--Run?

3 Replies

Hey BiggerPockets at large!

A question for you all, should I run from a permanent wood foundation? House was built in 1987 and showing no visable signs of distress in the foundation. Hasn't been inspected yet. 

I might add, it's in northern Minnesota where the ground freezes solid. Should I run through there with a black light? Anything else to check? 

Thanks y'all. 


No.  Run TOO it.  I've designed many PWF basements and if they were installed correctly, will be drier, warmer, and stronger than any other.  My background is actually as an ARchitect for over 35 years specializing in Energy Efficiency.  This is right up my alley.

Joe Villeneuve


Thanks Joe,

It seems to be a polarizing issue. In my research I've seen many warnings that have been, "wood with water is never a good thing" and various warnings about insects. 

And the frequent "if built correctly" caveat before an endorsement. Any common telltale signs to look out for? Any special steps I should take to insure a problem-free PWF?  


The PWF system is treated for both water and for insets.  Those that warn you about that don't know the facts.  What you look for is found at the building department.  If the house was built, it was inspected, and passed the inspection.

What I would recommend that you do, is to go out and buy a book on PWF construction so you know the ins and outs of how, what and most important...why.  You'll see that it is one of the best basement systems out there.

That "caveat" regarding if it is built correctly applies to any basement system...not just PWF.  That wasn't meant as a warning, just a requirement...which I would have said if you were building a concrete, steel, ICF, etc...basement too.

Let me add this to the mix.  I used to be the featured speaker at a national workshop/school, where we presented PWF's as a great energy efficient alternative to concrete.  We had two students in the class.  One was a retired poured concrete guy, and the other owned a block company that did block basements.  They both built PWF basements on their own homes.  I can't think of a better recommendation.

Joe Villeneuve

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