Sketch of wood foundation components (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesWood Building Foundations: Inspection, Diagnosis, Repair

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Preserved wood building foundations: this article explains wood building foundations, their inspection, installation, diagnosis, repair, and durability. Also see INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE. Page top sketch of a basic wood foundation design is provided courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

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How to Identify, Diagnose, & Evaluate Wood Foundation Defects

Sketch of wood foundation components (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

Some building jurisdictions permit the use of preserved or "treated" wood products for below-grade building foundations. These materials offer advantages of construction speed and low cost. As in the installation of Concrete Pre-cast Foundation walls, treated wood foundations may be installed on a gravel pad rather than requiring a solid masonry footing.

Suggestions for Inspecting a preserved wood foundation

  • Check for evidence of foundation leakage at butt-joints where gaskets or sealant may have been omitted.
  • Check for evidence of buckling or other damage;
  • Outside check for the presence of a moisture barrier against the foundation exterior.

Our opinion is that "30-year guaranteed treated wood foundation products" used below grade mean that no permanent building foundation has been provided. This sketch of the components of a preserved wood foundation is courtesy of Carson Dunlop Associates.

Buildings using a wood foundation are in our OPINION a temporary structure. In areas of wet soils and insect damage risk damage may occur sooner than the warranty period.

CONTACT us by email to suggest photos or content regarding wood building foundations.

Note: use of plumb lines, levels, laser levels, & simple measurements of amount by which a wall is out of level or plumb, or of crack widths and patterns are beyond ASHI or other home inspection standards scope but are common simple tools and procedures used by masons, carpenters, builders, as well as foundation experts and engineers.

Below are some articles that offer additional foundation damage analysis methods that pertain to wood foundations as well as other foundation types:


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the types of damage found on wood foundations of buildings: inspection, diagnosis, repair


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