Preserved Wood Foundations (PWF) "A not so new way to build"

In 1990 I acted as the general contractor in the building of my own home in Keswick Ontario. It was a conventionally designed and built home except for one aspect, it was built with a preserved wood foundation! This is not the same stuff you buy at your local lumber yard to build your deck either. Each piece of lumber must have the PWF stamp on it meaning that it has been treated to the standards required to be used in foundation walls. The lumber is treated under pressure for a longer period of time than the deck variety and therefore attains a deeper penetration of the preservative into the wood. When I was researching alternatives for foundations I was fortunate to meet a carpenter who had come from Western Canada where he had been involved with building many homes with PWF foundations. He had purchased an older home in town that didn't have a basement and he proceeded to raise it up and dig one out. He then built the basement walls with PWF lumber and set the house back down. This didn't happen over night but I tell you when it was done I was convinced that was the way I wanted to go! He was hired and the planning began to move forward. I compared PWF with your typical concrete foundation and was told that it wouldn't be any cheaper (although I think it was) but I liked the idea that the carpenter was going to build my whole house literally from the ground up and not be able to point the finger at another trade and say that he can't produce a good product because someone else didn't do a good job. My basement walls were 2" X 8" PWF studs on 16" centers providing for R28 insulation. The basement was comfortably warm even in January with very little heat. There was no concrete in my house except for the floor of the garage. The home still stands and the only reason we sold was to eliminate the big commute time we had to endure for our jobs. I would love to hear from anyone who has either built their home with preserved wood or is living in a home with a PWF foundation.

1 Comment

  1. Evan MacDonald 03/05/2013 at 9:52 AM

    Hi Leslie,

    I'm building a home in the spring and will be using a PWF! I love the idea of a warm, dry basement, not to mention saving a few bucks.

    The only downfall to the PWF in my area (Prince Edward Island) would be resale value. People seem to be scared of it. Did you have any trouble selling your home due to PWF?



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Leslie Weir

Leslie Weir

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Leading Edge Realty Inc., Brokerage*
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