(VIDEO) Kim Walton on Preserved Wood Foundations + PH

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Kim Walton, principal of Bow Crow Design and the president of Passive Buildings Canada, brought to the Happy Hour her in-depth experiences with using preserved wood for foundations. Walton, who is based in Sundre, Alberta, laid out her analysis of why and when she turns to preserved wood for building foundations. The upsides for using preserved wood? It lets you avoid using carbon-intensive concrete; it does not require any specialized equipment or training; it can be prefabricated; it is easy to insulate; and, it eats up less interior space. The downsides? The need for engineering review and heightened attention to detail during installation, as well as the potentially harmful chemicals used to preserve the wood. She was quick to refute the common but inaccurate belief that concrete is stronger.

Walton showed examples from her own practice where she used wood foundations, including a house in Calgary and a unique multi-use building nicknamed the Yak-Shack, and emphasized the need for good drainage and the advantages of a gravel base. For many viewers using preserved wood for a foundation was a novel concept, while others chimed in with their own positive experiences. As always, the discussion was lively, much of it centered on ways of avoiding the more toxic preservatives. Catch it all here.

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