Preserved Wood Foundations or PWF have sadly be given a poor name when compared to concrete foundations, so we are going to take a closer look. Let’s first begin by stating that in no way are we experts; we are however, realtors who have helped numerous clients buy and sell homes with preserved wood foundations. Preserved wood foundations came onto the scene back in the 60s and were used as a cheaper alternative to concrete. We have scoured the websites of Canadian and American home inspectors to gain first-hand experience with PWFs. Our research shows that there are numerous homes throughout the province with PWFs. Statistics out of Fort McMurray show around 3% of homes have wood basements. Cost is the main driver for the decrease in the use of PWF in and around urban areas, where it is easy to bring in concrete. However, it is still a viable option when building in more isolated areas.
PWFs have numerous benefits:
- Warmer in the winter
- More quiet and comfortable
- Will not crack like concrete
- Adaptable to all environments
- More energy efficient
If you are considering buying a home with a PWF, there are a few things to consider. First, do your due diligence. Hire the correct inspector – one who has training and experience with PWFs. You can even reach out to a company that specializes in building PWFs, or hire an engineer to come look at the foundation. One tip for home buyers that we repeatedly saw is to look for proper water management on the property. Ensuring water is directed away from the home is a good sign that the foundation has been maintained. Lastly, don’t assume it’s an inferior foundation. If properly cared for, Preserved Wood Foundations can expect the same lifespan as concrete foundations.