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Old 09-19-2019, 05:40 AM
 
Location: LKN
1,849 posts, read 1,709,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungalove View Post
In post #4 the OP said the home inspector said wood foundations are rare and builders have been sued over them. How much more warning to the buyers should have been needed?
If it was the inspectors kid I’m sure they would have been steered away in no uncertain terms. Or if it was your kid you might be a little less forgiving. But I know these days many people don’t care what happens to anyone else. So I suppose your solution would be to sell the house to another unsuspecting buyer, screw them over.

I hope it works out for all concerned. It’s clear the kids can’t handle an expensive repair and doing nothing isn’t really an option.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:50 AM
 
Location: NY>FL>VA>NC>IN
2,555 posts, read 1,034,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post

I hope it works out for all concerned. It’s clear the kids can’t handle an expensive repair and doing nothing isn’t really an option.
See this is my confusion ^^^^ the structural guy said it was OK, nothing to "fix", this is to be expected with this type of foundation, basically. I have never heard of such, hence my OP.

I find that hard to grasp. He said he'd provide a full written report that stated foundation is sound and no structural damage, for them to show buyers if they sell.

This makes no sense to me given the issues I cited in the OP (gaps/cracks/slopes).

These kids can blame themselves; they didn't run the purchase by me first, (likely because they knew I'd say no way) and the inspector SAID these foundations are "rare and builders have been sued" over them and they STILL BOUGHT IT. I'm v upset over the thing but mostly at THEM.
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Old 09-19-2019, 05:52 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
12,844 posts, read 49,745,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VexedAndSolitary View Post
But my question is this:
forget the inspector. The structural guy said (paraphrasing) that this is happening simply because of the type of foundation (wood) and found no damage/issues with the foundation itself's integrity, and advised them this would either worsen/improve each year depending on weather/wetness.

So my q is more, if the foundation is stable, and was properly done, how is it this ^^^^ (what he said) the case? Doesn't the damage indicate a problem with the foundation's integrity? Of course the structural guy had no reason to mislead, he doesn't even do repairs and recommended none, but I just cannot fathom this.


Depending on the time of year and weather wood will expand and contract. Soil conditions will/can exacerbate the problem- again, this can be weather related. Certain soils react differently to wet and dry conditions (think expansive clays)- a perimeter drain system can control this to some extent-
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:02 AM
 
1,999 posts, read 690,110 times
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Wood foundation with earth against it sounds totally bizarre and can’t imagine the area where building codes allow this. It’s almost an industry standard and common code requirement in many states that any wood has to be a minimum of 12 inches above any soil.

Basically this particular house has a bio-degradable foundation.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:07 AM
 
Location: NY>FL>VA>NC>IN
2,555 posts, read 1,034,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rickcin View Post
Wood foundation with earth against it sounds totally bizarre and can’t imagine the area where building codes allow this. It’s almost an industry standard and common code requirement in many states that any wood has to be a minimum of 12 inches above any soil.

Basically this particular house has a bio-degradable foundation.
Yes this was my view, have never heard of such a strange thing but when researching it apparently DOES exist (I have links several posts above to articles on them).

Never heard of it until now and am astounded; def seems like should be against code. This is in the heart of Fort Wayne, built in 1990, not rural or area with lax codes.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:16 AM
 
Location: NY>FL>VA>NC>IN
2,555 posts, read 1,034,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Depending on the time of year and weather wood will expand and contract. Soil conditions will/can exacerbate the problem- again, this can be weather related. Certain soils react differently to wet and dry conditions (think expansive clays)- a perimeter drain system can control this to some extent-
OK so are you saying what the structural guy said is so, that foundation is OK, and the issues are just to be expected due to type of foundation but not indicative of a foundation issue?

It makes me feel a teeeeeny bit better to hear you say this, because I can't reconcile the gaps/cracks/slopes with a sound foundation, in my mind.

Still a horrible idea to buy a house with a wood foundation -even if sound- if this is the inevitability thereof.

Last edited by VexedAndSolitary; 09-19-2019 at 06:35 AM..
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:30 AM
 
Location: Virginia
4,147 posts, read 2,171,617 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
Depending on the time of year and weather wood will expand and contract. Soil conditions will/can exacerbate the problem- again, this can be weather related. Certain soils react differently to wet and dry conditions (think expansive clays)- a perimeter drain system can control this to some extent-
Expansive soils can absolutely exacerbate wall separation and cracks in a house. I had a long brick 50's ranch built on marine clay about 1/4 mile from where I live now. When a drought hit one end of the house sank so badly that I could only open one door in the entire house, and every window and doorway had cracks surrounding them. It turned into a real nightmare situation for me.

BTW, OP, I'd advise those kids not only get a perimeter drain system but personally I'd slap a termite bond on that house as fast as I could put pen to paper. Treated or not, wood in direct contact with soil is (to ME) a buffet in waiting for termites, but then I'm a super worrywart about things like that. That's just MHO.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:34 AM
 
Location: In a happy place
3,781 posts, read 6,999,951 times
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A little research is a good thing. I did some on Permanent Wood Foundation’s and the reported pros far outweighed the cons. PWFs are not as rare as you think. We had one in our old neighborhood that had the nicest finished basement in town. (most in the area were on slabs or crawl space) The house was built in 1987 and we left the area in 2014. The builder built the house for his brother and his sister in law lived there until about 2004 when she started having problems climbing the stairs.

https://www.awc.org/pdf/codes-standa...wOnly-1411.pdf

Last edited by rrtechno; 09-19-2019 at 06:36 AM.. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
26,850 posts, read 63,899,108 times
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It is probably a wood sill sitting on block or concrete. Per most or all codes, wood on a house cannot be in contact with he ground. Wood shrinks as it dries out and expands when it gets moist.

New wood comes wet, it absorbs more moisture if it is soaked during construction (which is usually is). It takes about two years of weather and HVAC cycling to get the wood to what will be its normal moisture level, which is considerably drier than its initial level. The wood will shrink quite a bit. About half an inch per floor is pretty normal. The taller the home is the more shrinkage you will get.

Sometimes you get more shrinkage if the wood was especially wet, or if it is some sort of LVL or other laminated chip-wood. The designer is supposed to anticipate this shrinkage and accommodate it in the design , but they often fail to do so.

If the problem is wood shrinkage, most of the damage will manifest on the upper floors.

If they bought the house new, they may still be within the statute of limitations to pursue the builder. Most states it is 10 years. Also many states have an initial mediation process that you have to follow. This gives the builder a chance to fix the problem before the owner files a lawsuit.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:50 AM
 
Location: NY>FL>VA>NC>IN
2,555 posts, read 1,034,228 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
It is probably a wood sill sitting on block or concrete. Per most or all codes, wood on a house cannot be in contact with he ground.
Nope. Much to my amazement, it indeed is wood on ground. See above posts for details.
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