concrete vs wood stumps

Concrete vs Wood Stumps

September 30, 2017

We know, we know, we’re pretty passionate about what we do. This means that where watercooler talk at a finance company would mean extended conversations about 401k’s and investing, our team chats are pretty passionate about things like material comparisons. It’s for your own benefit. We’re driven by our valuable customer community, and don’t see our relationship ending with the install of an updated or reinforced foundation. We see it continuing with knowledge, with conversations, with troubleshooting and with tips and tricks. We see this blog, particularly, as a forum for this. For those who are newer to the VIC blog, welcome! For those who are old hat, welcome back. Today, we dive into the age-old question… Which stump material can be more troublesome- concrete? Or wood?

The stumps beneath your house will sink. But they do so for different reasons, dependent on the material. So first, let’s dive into why wooden stumps would sink and what you can do about it. One of the most popular reasons is termite damage. No one wants to think about it, no one wants to talk about it, but pesky termites can be an expensive and long-term problem to have. Termites push the dirt up, directly into the middle of the stump, which does not allow proper distribution of weight. When this is the case, the stump can’t properly support any structure above, it has too much tension on it.

Another reason that wooden stumps fail, is due to dry rot. Dry rot will affect the lower part of the stump, which is, as you can imagine, a very important part. Essentially, dry rot would create a growing gap in the stump, allowing your home to shift in direction. Negative bonus points if moisture is involved. This speeds up the dry rot process, exponentially.

Finally, a surprise catalyst—the soil itself. If you live in an area like Stones Corner, Pullenvale or Rocklea, do your due-diligence. You live in an area where black soil runs rampant, and homes are prone to sinking, if they’re not properly fortified.

So that’s wood for you. When it comes to concrete, you’re not so much looking at deterioration of the material, as you are looking at cracks. The primary reason for this is rooted in history. Luckily, today, we can leverage far more recycled materials. But that hasn’t always been the case. We used to have to use dumped concrete, which was already crushed in the dumping process. That doesn’t really set homeowners up for success.

If your home is supported by concrete stumps, you should also confirm the state of your steel reinforcing rods. For some older homes, these were cut too long and then hammered into the ground on top of the timber boxing. This is a recipe for rust, which in turn can also provide far too much tension on your stumps.

So, is there a clear-cut winner. There is! It’s working with the VIC team, because only then can you rest-assured that the material used is of the highest caliber, and the utmost care is put forth for your underpinning job.