The Pros and Cons of Wood Foundations

wood foundation

Wood foundations save material costs for new home construction, however there are cons to selecting wood for the foundation too. Since it is such an important component of the structure, carefully consider whether wood is the right choice for you or whether the traditional concrete is a better option.

Pros of Using Wood in Foundation

The biggest pro to choosing a wood foundation is the cost. Wood foundations are significantly less expensive than concrete. You can realize savings of up to several dollars a square foot of foundation laid, up to $15,000. The savings can be significant when considering the overall cost of the building.

In addition to a lower labor and material cost, it’s much more likely that you can install the wood foundation yourself where a concrete foundation should be poured by professionals.

Another advantage of wood is that it is sustainable. Concrete, on the other hand is responsible for off gassing and is difficult to dispose of when the structure comes down.

Cons of Using Wood in Foundation

The cons of using wood includes the possibility that over time, the wood will rot, causing the foundation to fail. This failure will result in tens of thousands of dollars in repair costs to fix or replace the wood foundation.

If you are in an area of the country that is subject to insect infestation such as termites or other insects that eat wood, you will find that using wood may not be a smart choice. Unless the wood is expertly treated to prevent infestation, you will find that wood is an inviting buffet to wood-eating insects.

Wood foundations are more susceptible to damage from weather elements over time than concrete foundations. Water can penetrate wood more easily than concrete; eventually it will cause the wood to become waterlogged and splinter. As the wood weakens, planks will need to be replaced to prevent the entire foundation from failing.

Water damage is an important consideration when the home is located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized flood zone that is subject to constant flooding problems.

Whether you choose to use wood or concrete in your home’s foundation is your personal preference. Do not let cost alone determine the advisability of one building material over the other. Also consider the effects of environment and other conditions over time on the foundation, as well as how these conditions will affect the ability of your foundation to stay intact and work as designed.