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Wood Foundation Testing

For a wood foundation to perform properly, it needs to stay dry or be given the chance to dry if it gets wet. While they help give your basement a warm and cozy feel, it is a challenge for wood foundations in the land of 10,000 lakes and swamps to stay dry. A wood foundation should be built with treated lumber to resist rot and should also have water proofing barriers tied into drainage systems to keep water away from the foundation. Over time, drainage systems get plugged and barriers wear out.

Wood Foundation Moisture Testing | Certified Moisture Testing

Even though the wood used in the foundation is treated and may not rot for a long time, the moisture transfer through the foundation accumulates in the wall cavity, wetting the insulation and other interior wall items. This can cause unhealthy conditions in the home.

If the wood is wet, the water management system has failed. If you’re buying a home with a wood foundation, make sure to have a moisture test performed on the foundation walls.

Commonly Asked Questions

Most foundations, regardless of the materials used, get wet because the grade around the home does not drain water away from the home. Building codes say to slope the grade downward 1” per foot for 10’. Many properties are not able to conform to the codes and accumulate water that drains down along the foundation. Preventing water accumulation at or near the foundation is critical to keeping a wood foundation dry.
Depending on the height and slope of the property, a drain tile may exit to daylight somewhere on a downhill slope. Make sure the tile has a silt/pest screen used at the end. If the lot does not have enough slope, the exterior drain tile should pass through the footings or foundation and enter a sump basket inside the home. The sump should empty into a part of the property that does not drain back to the foundation or into the street.
Check the grade around the foundation to make sure it is sloped away and not able to pool water. Check the grade that is directly in contact with the foundation, significant settling will occur along the foundation. Keep gutters clean and draining 10’ away from the foundation. Sump pump needs to be functioning and draining so not to recycle into the foundation area. Too, name a few.
Some foundation contractors will install an additional layer of treated plywood over the actual foundation at grade level. This is considered a sacrificial cover to protect exposed foundation walls and water barrier systems.
The construction of the foundation should allow water to easily drain into an exterior drain tile around the foundation footings. Interior drain tile should not be needed if the exterior system is functioning. Interior can be a backup for problems if something plugs the system.
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