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Old 07-20-2008, 10:18 PM   #1
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


I'm currently in the process of replacing rotted wall studs and bottom wall plates behind the tiles and backing (particle board ) of my shower. The rot was caused by a water leak from a crack on the shower window's mortar sill. However, I'm currently stuck on how I should approach in repairing the rotted wood since the subfloor, which supports the wall's bottom plates, is also rotted. I'm not exactly sure on how to replace the rotted subfloor without jeopardizing the roof and wall's structural integrity.

Can anyone please provide some suggestions on approaching this repair?

Thanks!



Here are some pictures to better illustrate the problem:

Before removing drywall backing:



Wood rot under the window:




Rotten studs, bottom plates of the wall frame, and the subfloor:







Last edited by smallblockchevy; 07-21-2008 at 12:09 AM.
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Old 07-21-2008, 01:30 AM   #2
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


sill plates are supposed to sit on concrete.
the subfloor sits on floor joists. There is no reason for the subfloor to sit on your sil plate.
so what was the subfloor sitting on ?

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Old 07-21-2008, 02:51 AM   #3
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


Quote:
Originally Posted by mgsproperties View Post
sill plates are supposed to sit on concrete.
the subfloor sits on floor joists. There is no reason for the subfloor to sit on your sil plate.
so what was the subfloor sitting on ?

Sorry for the confusion.

The subfloor sits on top of floor joists. Above the rotted subfloor sits two layers of 2 x 4's. The last two pictures above show some of the rotted wood that I lightly scraped out of the bottom 2 x 4.
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Old 07-21-2008, 03:40 AM   #4
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


Ok

take out the rotten subfloor
cut the 2 sill plates along with the rotten studs
replace sill plates with pressure treated sill plates
build new wall using 2x4 studs
replace with new subfloor
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:21 AM   #5
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


Quote:
Originally Posted by mgsproperties View Post
Ok

take out the rotten subfloor
cut the 2 sill plates along with the rotten studs
replace sill plates with pressure treated sill plates
build new wall using 2x4 studs
replace with new subfloor
How should I go about removing the rotting subfloor when the two layers of 2 x 4's sitting on it is supporting the load-bearing studs?

BTW, thanks for replying to my thread. I really appreciate it.
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #6
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


Quote:
Originally Posted by smallblockchevy View Post
How should I go about removing the rotting subfloor when the two layers of 2 x 4's sitting on it is supporting the load-bearing studs?

BTW, thanks for replying to my thread. I really appreciate it.
You would build a temporary support wall with 2x4 framing that will support the joists that the rotted wall is holding up. Then remove and replace the decayed framing. When done, remove (dismantle) the temp framed wall.
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:17 AM   #7
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


While you are in "re-construction mode", perhaps now is the time to look at the reasons why you are doing this in the first place, after all, knowing why you are doing it is half the battle to not having to do it again (that is unless you do this for a living): water that came in underneath the glass tiles.

It probably didn't take all that long to reach that state and -depending on where you are located and use the shower - could be somewhere around 2 years. Glass tiles or blocks are very difficult to grout/caulk properly because of their edges and it takes some practice to get them waterproof. But it is do-able. But it is possible that a gap was left somewhere in the installation that let water seep in and down the wall along the whole length of the window. So, OK not my choice of wall inserts...

But beyond that I don't see any insulation or vapour barrier. Were they taken out before the picture were taken? Now again, depending on where you are, you may not need these items but I presume that's an outisde wall and you are somewhere in the South (because glass blocks are poor insulators). But even in the South, a vapour barrier is still a good idea in showers. You can get by without insulation, that's your choice, but no vapour barrier just speeds the next time you do the process you're doing right now.

On top of that, the whole glass block+wall assembly is not waterproof so on top of coming in below the window, water is coming throught the grout around the tiles - in liquid and vapour form. It then condenses and/or runs down the wall into the drywall, giving mold. So your problem really stems from inadequate waterproofing.

Once you have replaced the studs etc, now is the time to waterproof the new wall elements using a liquid or a physical membrane on top of either more drywall or cbu (cement backerboard) to reduce the water coming in under the glass blocks. That is if you want to keep the blocks. Replace them now if you don't - but that's another matter.

You may have to remove the tiles around the 3 sides of the glass blocks that receive water and waterproof those by making a seamless barrier right down the wall to the floor. Kerdi is a good product here for that. Stud/CBU/Thinset/Kerdi/Thinset/Tiles...

This bit of attention to waterproofing now that you are half way there is a smart idea...
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Old 07-21-2008, 10:44 PM   #8
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


Thank you AtlanticWBConst. for your suggestion on building a temporary wall support! It's a brilliant idea that I will implement to facilitate the repair.


Also, thank you ccarlisle for your advice! I definitely need to make sure this problem won't reoccur again. Nobody should waste time and money on something they should have done right the first time (marriages? jk).

In last 4 pictures above, I removed the insulation and vapor barrier before I took the pictures. As for the leakage, water from the shower head leaked through fine cracks on the sloped mortar sill between the lower edge of the glass blocks and the tiles. I'm guessing these mortar cracks occurred over the span of 20 years of contraction and expansion of the glass block area.



Unfortunately, there is another problem associated with this leak. The glass block tile window sits on top of a horizontal 2 x 4 that is supported by rotten 2 x 4 studs.



To add more to the injury, the grout between the glass blocks has hairline cracks.







Furthermore, bits of grout between the outer glass blocks and the studs has fallen off.




Should the whole glass block window be replaced or just re-mortared? If re-mortaring, how abouts should I remove rotted wood without further threatening the structural integrity of the glass block window?

Thanks again!!
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:14 AM   #9
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Help: Rotted wall joists, wall frame plates, subfloor


There you go...you found the exact weaknesses in glass block construction as they pertain to shower stalls. They are sieves...you can see the white thinset they use to fuse the blocks together and you can see the white grout they use to make it all look nice. Trouble is those are all steps each one of which has it's own set of failure possibilities...don't approach this job "piece-meal"...forget the need for a temporary wall as you should be redoing the whole part of the wall that is affected ie. right up to the ceiling and down to the floor just like that in one fell swoop...

And I was way off in my thinking you were down south...LOL.
I shouldn't assume like that. But you are in Vancouver so that makes me suggest the following.

(Oh, yeah; for those who don't know where Vancouver is, it's a city on our Western Coast, a city perched between the ocean and the Rockies; being so located, it gets it's fair amount of rain. Some snow, but lots of rain.)

Your detective work has found a number of problem areas around the glass block structure; I normally replace these structures and the framing that goes with it and I suggest this very same course of action. Take it all out and replace the glass blocks by a vertical double slider window with privacy glass, perhaps a vinyl/wood. Might cost $400 custom made and most probably would take a week or so to find. But IMO it's an investment, along with the proper waterprooofing plan I mentioned that will free you from worries - and pay itself back in due time. If you leave it to an installer, he'll do it for $800 - but he'll do nothing a DIY warrior wouldn't do himself, so go ahead find a place to order it from, and put it in. I know your shower will be out of commission for a while - but what can you do...

Do you have a ceiling exhaust fan too? some codes suggest one or the other but at least one is needed. Perhaps you don't - suggesting that there was a window there before, and that nowi t has been sealed with the glass blocks, there is more of a humidity problem, one that will be solved by the window I suggest.

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