APA - The Engineered Wood Association

10 Reasons to Build Raised Wood Floors

Construction worked building a raised wood floorBuilders who offer the raised wood floor option, framed with durable, renewable wood, create value for not only their clients, but also themselves. The construction advantages of a raised wood floor system include:

1. Costs less to build than slab-on-fill
A raised wood floor system can be a cost-competitive alternative to a concrete slab system – especially when bringing in dirt to elevate a structure is necessary.

2. Expedites scheduling of trades
Construction of a raised wood floor helps accommodate the scheduling of trades. For example, concrete and masonry work does not have to wait on plumbing installation and inspection, which is typically the case with slab foundations.

3. Speeds up construction
Concrete forming and curing is time consuming. Hauling in fill dirt and properly compacting it adds more time. Poor weather and inspections can result in lengthy concrete delays. Constructing a pier-and-beam or pile foundation, builders contend, is faster, regardless of the weather.

4. Provides more level foundations on any soil type
Raised wood floor systems may be constructed on any soil type and perform very well on problematic soils, such as expansive clays, which can crack conventional concrete slabs. While any foundation can settle, the use of piers with a raised wood floor system makes leveling or repairs simple. Pier-and-beam raised wood floor foundationRepairing or leveling a cracked, damaged concrete slab can be very expensive.

5. Solves floodplains and sloping lots
Raising a slab with fill dirt to meet floodplain elevation requirements can be expensive, time consuming and difficult to properly compact. A raised wood floor system provides a practical and affordable solution for meeting code and keeping a home above flood waters. For sloped lots, a raised wood floor on piers is more economical and practical than building a “cut and fill” slab foundation. Less soil is disturbed, reducing erosion, and the piers eliminate the need for reinforced retaining walls.

6. Simplifies repairs and renovations
Installation, maintenance and modification of utilities such as water, sewer and electrical is easy and economical compared to slab systems. Routing and rerouting of wiring for electrical, telephone, television and home entertainment is more quickly accomplished. Renovating or relocating plumbing fixtures is relatively easy and less expensive.

7. Identifies the builder as green and progressive
A raised wood floor is the right choice for the environment. Wood is a renewable resource that takes far less energy to produce than concrete or steel. The latest advances in wood products and building technology help produce more durable and efficient homes.

8. Sells homes faster and for more profit
The aesthetics of a raised floor home make an impression on homebuyers. “People notice that,” says builder John Cooper of Cooper Homes. “If they don’t pay more for (the aesthetics) – which I think they do – the house will sell faster than a house that is on a slab.”

9. Matches changing consumer preferencesRaised wood floor homes match consumer preferences
More and more homebuyers desire traditional style and charm but don’t want to sacrifice modern conveniences. Raised wood floors “give home owners the amenities of the present while embracing the style of the past,” says builder Dennis Collier of Collier Construction. In flood-prone areas, “people like (raised wood floors) just for peace of mind,” says builder Peter Russell of Bay Homes.

10. Reduces call-backs and liability
Strong, durable wood houses last for several generations. Furthermore, foundation access on a raised wood floor home allows many structural modifications and maintenance to be performed easily, extending the useful life of the structure. The elevated living space of a raised wood floor foundation is isolated from ground moisture, termites and pests, and is less susceptible to disruption from growing tree roots. Easy foundation access makes inspections fast.

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Raised Wood Floor Case Studies

Raised Wood Floor Construction Case Study

Raised Wood Floors: Case Studies in Progressive Home Construction
More and more builders are benefiting from the competitive advantages of a raised wood floor system. Download this free PDF to learn how.

Case Study: Murray House
This 2-page brochure features the construction of owner/builder Scott Murray's raised wood floor home in St. Augustine, Florida. Download this free PDF to learn how.