New Post-Frame Building Foundation Options

01/20/2010 15:52


Post-Frame Buildings are the most economical, efficient and environmentally-friendly of all building types. They require less energy and resources to build, and are more energy-efficient than other kinds of buildings throughout their use. They are the "greenest" buildings one may erect.

Before and after post repair

One typical characteristic that makes them very economical is use of preservative-treated wood posts or laminated columns embedded directly in the soil for the building's foundation. Treated wood foundations last a pretty long time, but few are willing to say exactly how long. Many builders give 50 or 60 year warranties, but there have been cases of deterioration in less time. Many sources in the treated wood industry indicate that treated wood should last between 25 and 50 years in soil contact, with some cases showing degradation in less time under adverse conditions (such as acidic soils or animal waste) and some lasting much longer than half a century.


Despite the fact that post-frame is the most economical and efficient of buildings, many are relunctant to select post-frame due to the uncertainty of treated wood foundation performance. What they may not realize is that there are several foundation options for post-frame, including Perma-Column© pre-cast concrete piers. One may also use Sturdi-Wall© brackets to bolt posts on a concrete wall or slab, and Sturdi-Wall Plus© wet-set anchors for cast-in-place concrete piers, stem walls or thickened edge slabs. Perma-Column products also may be used to repair decayed building posts.


Most post-frame buildings utilize a wood foundation comprised of pressure-treated posts or laminated columns that are embedded directly into the ground. Post-frame buildings may also be bolted onto a reinforced concrete slab or a traditional cast-in-place concrete or masonry block foundation.

Post-frame buildings may also utilize innovative products that provide alternatives to placing wood directly in ground contact. The most durable of all foundation materials is concrete. Products offered by Perma-Column allow one to elevate wood columns away from conditions that may facilitate deterioration.

Innovative Post-Frame Foundation Products

Diagram of pre-cast reinforced concrete column

Perma-Column pre-cast reinforced concrete columns designed specifically for post-frame construction utilize a bracket that extends 12 inches above grade to which a solid-sawn post or laminated column is affixed.

  • A standard non-treated wood column can be bolted into the “U” shaped connection bracket, eliminating the need for treated wood.
  • Reinforced concrete columns are made of 10,000 p.s.i. pre-cast concrete with built-in corrosion and freeze/thaw protection. This special blend ensures superior durability compared to the standard 3,000-4,000 p.s.i. concrete typically found in most building foundations.
  • With an innovative uplift system, no ready-mix concrete is needed for installation. This allows the builder to combine the efficiency of post-frame construction with the durability of concrete.
  • Pre-cast reinforced concrete columns maintain their value, giving peace of mind to the building owner (and his or her lender, insurer and realtors). Perma-Columns are primarily composed of concrete - essentially man-made rock: something that can last virtually forever with minimal care.

Sturdi-Wall Post Bracket

Sturdi-Wall Brackets on a concrete slab, concrete wall or masonry wall use a bracket bolted in place to keep posts away from conditions that may lead to decay caused by microbes and insects.


  • Provides an economical method to take advantage of the efficiencies of post-frame design with traditional foundation options.
  • Bolts may be embedded or driven into concrete.
  • Adapts to traditional masonry wall construction.
  • Cast-in-place concrete walls may use the Sturdi-Wall bolt-on bracket or the Sturdi-Wall Plus wet-set anchor.
  • Thickened edge slabs may also use the Sturdi-Wall bolt-on bracket or the Sturdi-Wall Plus wet-set anchor.Cast in place concrete piers

Sturdi-Wall Plus cast-in-place concrete piers use a pier bracket placed over a hole filled with concrete. Once the concrete sets, the post-frame is bolted onto the brackets.

  • Cast-in-place concrete pier systems utilize a bracket that has rebar welded to it that extends down into the wet concrete.
  • A commercial bracket that also carries an engineer’s stamp certifies that it can carry the moments and the forces of a 6 x 8” laminated column.
  • Concrete piers provide a neat, clean look on the inside, without columns being spliced and roof purlins run continuous end-to-end.
  • Piers are on grade, which allows prefabricated walls installed on the ground.
  • There are a wide variety of uses for innovative builders and designers.


Typical details of post-frame buildings on continuous concrete foundations:

Thickened Concrete Wall Footing Illustration
Thickened Edge Concrete Wall Footing Illustration

Concrete Wall Footing Illustration
Concrete Wall Footing Illustration


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