CommunityVulnerable Foundation?

Vulnerable Foundation?

Here's a situation that was difficult to explain on air with Tom & Leslie. Hopefully the description and photos will help find a solution. This home was built in the Minneapolis area in 2004. The wood foundation is wrapped with a dimpled membrane (plastic like material)for water proofing. Over time the landscaping soil has settled and has pulled this outer membrane downward one to three inches, creating rips and tears as shown in the photos. Directly behind this membrane is what apprears to be untreated plywood. The condition below grade is undetermined at this point. No reports of water infiltration in the basement at this time. The builder is no longer in business, and I've been told by one source that this material should have been covered with a protective board to protect it from UV rays to avoid becoming brittle. Does this condition warrant repair? Since it's damaged above grade should one presume it's damaged below grade too? Does my friend need to dig up around her wood foundation and replace it with something else? Current thoughts for this winter are to cover it above grade with ice & water shield as a temporary fix, but what about a more permanent fix? If you have any knowledge to share please let me know, I appreciate your thoughts. I have more photos, but can't seem to upload them for some reason. I could email them directly if requested. Thanks! John in MN

The Money Pit Answer

The dimpled plastic material is, in fact, a water proofing membrane.  However, it is designed to exist only below grade.  Leaving this above grade invited UV degradation from exposure sunlight causing it to fall apart.

My recommendation is to cut this down to the grade level and remove it as it is not necessary. This is a wood foundation and designed to be exposed.  If you have a desire to protect the foundation areas above grade, you could stain the pressure treated lumber with a solid color wood stain.