Permanent Wood Foundations (PWFs) are a type of foundation that uses treated lumber as the main material to support a building’s weight. They are a popular alternative to concrete foundations, as they can be more cost-effective and easier to install. In this blog post, we’ll explore the benefits of wood foundations and how they are made. 

Benefits of Wood Foundations: 

  1. Cost-effectiveness: Compared to concrete foundations, wood foundations are often less expensive to install. 
  2. Ease of installation: Wood foundations can be easier and faster to install than concrete foundations, especially in areas with rocky or uneven terrain. 
  3. Durability: Treated lumber is highly resistant to rot, insect damage, and moisture, making it a durable and long-lasting material for foundations. 
  4. Energy efficiency: Wood foundations have natural insulating properties, which can help reduce energy costs by keeping the building’s interior temperature more stable.   

The process of building a wood foundation typically involves the following steps: 

  1. Site preparation: The building site must be leveled and cleared of any vegetation or debris. The soil should also be compacted to provide a stable base for the foundation. Clean rock is then installed for the “footer plates” to sit on.  The rock aids in leveling, drainage, and stability.   
  2. Lumber selection: The lumber used for the foundation must be treated with preservatives for below ground use which prevents decay and insect damage.  
  3. Framing: The treated lumber is then cut to size and assembled into a frame, which will serve as the foundation for the building. The frame is typically constructed of 2×8 or 2×10 lumber, with a continuous rim joist that runs around the perimeter of the building. 
  4. Moisture barrier: A layer of polyethylene plastic extends from the foundation’s top plate over the exterior wall sheathing before backfilling.  
  5. Insulation: Insulation is installed along the rim between the foundation frame and the building’s subfloor to provide further energy efficiency – maintaining a consistent indoor temperature. 
  6. Floor system: The building’s floor system is then installed on top of, and attached to, the wood foundation frame.  Additional blocking may be installed to aid in structural stability. 


PWFs offer a cost-effective and durable alternative to traditional concrete foundations. They are easy to install and can provide natural insulation, helping to reduce energy costs. If you’re considering building a new home, adding an addition, or even adding a basement to your existing home, a permanent wood foundation may be a great option to explore. 

Intrigued by the thought of a permanent wood foundation and the same “upstairs comfort” in your basement?  Our experts are very familiar with new builds, additions, crawl spaces, and replacement foundations.  Call or write us today with any additional questions you might have!