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allie2222 07-27-2011 08:14 PM

Permanent Wood Foundations
I have a wall on my house that has a Permanent Wood Foundation (exterior plywood rated for below grade use). About 4 feet of it is below grade. The house was built about 15 years ago, and I've had no problems. It was properly put in with French drains. The wood was covered with black plastic and then tarred. It was inspected and met county code. The problem I am having is that I cannot get a termite warranty on it without digging the dirt completely away from the wall and then putting in a poured wall 2 feet from my house--UGH! Got an estimate for over $11,000. I know of another house with a wood foundation that is having leakage/shifting problems. I live in GA where we do have a lot of rain and humidity. One of the termite companies told me that the plywood will wick up moisture from the slab, and that it will eventually rot and/or be attacked by termites. Any advice for me out there? Please help me save $11,000!

nealtw 07-27-2011 10:10 PM

Learn something new everyday. I don't suppose the $11,000 included the fence to keep people from falling in the ditch. If you have to spend the money I would change the wall, it shouldn't cost any more as it already has a footing.

inspectorD 07-28-2011 06:03 AM

The wall material should have been pressure treated, even back 15 years ago.
And the termite companies want to sell a job. The plywood can wick up moisture as they said, but what does the condition of the bottom of the plywood look like.
The instalation of concrete does nothing to stop termites. If it's wet or not, termites bring their own moisture with them anyway through tubes.
I would talk to another company or 3. Get more opinions and more prices.
If your foundation is sound , only an engineer can write that for you, then you do not have an issue.
And why do you need the warantee in the first place?

allie2222 07-28-2011 03:14 PM

The wall they want me to pour would be AWAY from the house--keeping the dirt from touching the wood. I cannot see what condition the wood is in, because it is below ground. I have had no problems with it. The wall is definitely a pressure treated wood which was made to be used for foundations. The termite warranty means that the company has to pay for any repairs to your house in the event you have termite damage--a big problem in GA.

inspectorD 07-28-2011 08:59 PM

This all sounds really interesting. Kind of like a scare tactic to sell you work you may never need.

I'm not trying to sell work for other inspectors. Just ask about my reputation here. However, you need the advice of a competant Home inspector to help you with this. Look for a local, American Society of Home Inspectors, ASHI inspector,( more than 10 years experience) and just ask their opinion about what you are dealing with in your area. They may also have a reputable pest inspector you can talk to as to why you may not need a warrantee.
Let me know what happens.Do your homework, and save $$, Good luck.:)

allie2222 07-28-2011 09:13 PM

Thank you so much. I will contact them and let you know the results.

allie2222 09-22-2011 06:19 PM

I did contact an ASHI inspector, and he told me he had never known of any problems with a PWF. The problem is that there are so few of them that they are almost unknown to termite companies. The inspector said I would just have to educate them.

I ended up just having a 1 foot drainage ditch put right against the house to stop any water. I think I was just wasting my money, since I've never had any problem with water there. I had my house treated, and the termite company mailed me a warranty contract--so maybe they are going to cover me. I have to get back with them. Thank you so much for your help with this problem.

inspectorD 09-23-2011 05:43 AM

Anytime, :)

BridgeMan 09-26-2011 11:05 PM

I probably shouldn't bring this up, but a few years ago I had a guy call me in a panic, because an ASHI inspector (hired by the buyer for his home) had "found indications of termites throughout the property" (inspector's words, on the report).

I spent several hours looking for evidence of termites on, in and under the house--found nothing. However, the accumulated wood shavings on the basement sill plates the inspector noted, with pictures, in his report, were nothing more than drill shavings from when the electricians had drilled holes for their rough wiring leading up from the basement into the walls. Pile of shavings at every wiring location.

I submitted my report to the seller, stating I didn't see any evidence of termites. He called me a few days later, happily announcing that the buyer wasn't scared off by the erroneous ASHI report, accepted my opinion, and bought the place. I had to repeatedly turn down his offers to pay me more than my standard fee for my report.

inspectorD 09-27-2011 05:14 AM

We all have bad apples in our groups. Just like Nachi or Nahi. Only it continually gets everyone nowhere to bash the other group. It's the actual inspector that needs to screw up, not the association. Thanks Bridgeman, I encorage everyone to do their own homework and always get their own Pest inspector with a I already said.

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