If a home is built with a wood basement, it essentially means the house has a wood foundation rather than a poured concrete or stone basement. The advantages of a wood basement include cheaper construction costs, easier replacement of posts or beams, and the possibility of reusing the materials should the house be torn down at any point. A basement made from wood is not as resistant to water damage as concrete, however, and wood is likely to rot after several years of being exposed to moisture. This type of basement is also not as consistently strong as a concrete basement, though if constructed correctly, it is strong enough to adequately support the weight of a home.
A wood basement will have to be waterproofed thoroughly to prevent moisture from entering the home. This can be costly and time-consuming, negating the benefits of the wood basement over a concrete one. A concrete basement is more expensive to initially construct, and it takes more time than a basement made from wood to complete, but once waterproofing is factored in, the cost and the time comparison is fairly even. Basements made from wood are more versatile than concrete basements, and it is easier to make changes to wood basements after they have been built, but they will require more maintenance in the long run.
While wood basements are certainly adequate for holding up the weight of a home, after time the boards are likely to warp under the weight of the materials above them. Concrete will not buckle under weight if poured correctly, though it does run the risk of cracking after years of exposure to moisture and changing weather conditions. Concrete is also less susceptible to ground moisture than wood is; wood will have to be properly treated and retreated after several years to resist moisture from the ground. If the home is in an area with prominent insect populations, wood is also susceptible to damage from insects and rodents.
The ideal basement made from wood will have a concrete slab as a base and a waterproof layer between the wood and the ground outside. This eliminates the problem of ground moisture affecting wood beneath the flooring, and the waterproofing will help extend the life of the basement walls. Such waterproofing can be expensive, however, meaning a concrete basement might be just as good of a choice. Aesthetically speaking, wood basements are far more appealing, and hanging drywall or installing basement windows will be much easier, but this convenience comes at a cost.