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Old 07-17-2011, 02:34 PM   #1
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


We live in the woods. People here all asked "why" when we told them that we are getting permits for our DIY kitchen remodel. Our neighbor warned us, "be prepared that you will be opening a can of worms -- you'll find things not up to code that now you'll have to fix." This weekend, we opened a wall. We don't like what we see, but are not sure if it's really that bad, and what it'll take to correct the situation. We would really appreciate if you guys help us assess and we value your insights. Before I post the pictures, let me summarize the questions we have:

(Q1) If existing framing is incorrect, are we really obligated to bring it up to code? Inspectors coming over to inspect rough in wiring will certainly see the existing framing that's exposed.
(Q2) So far, we've been DIY'ing, but we are not familiar with building code and house framing. To correct framing issues, are we better off hire a carpenter to tackle it, or do you think we can do it ourselves under the guidance from the online community like you guys? We've invested heavily in tools.

Now, could you please scroll through following pictures and provide inputs on how we could address each individual situation? Each image is linked to its full size image. I will number the paragraphs/questions.

First, the overview of the house. The wall we opened us is between the living room and the kitchen. We took the drywall down on the living room side.


The reason we opened up the living room side of the wall is there are some cracks from the corners of right opening. They grown in the last 5 years we lived here. Having the wall open will help us investigate.



Now, pics of the wall from left to right (standing in the living room):



(Q3) These two spans (sealed off by wood boards) are recent additions in 1994 done by the previous owner. That addition was permitted, so I assume the approach is up to code. The board on the right has crack in it. Do we need to replace it?


(Q4) The center part of the wall. It appears that the framing to the left is newer than the right side. Actually the sheetrock on the left side was screwed on, and on the right was nailed on. Anyway, at the very top between beams, it doesn't really support anything because the roof/ceiling planks run lengthwise. So, is it okay that there are no studs up there in the opening at the top? The span on the right side has one 2x10 (actually 1.5"x9"), which appears to provide lateral stability to a roof joist on the back side. Is that up to code?


(Q5) The framing above the opening where we saw the cracks. Many things look wrong even to my layman's eye. At the left side, there is no cripple stud. There is no cripple stud to support where two horizontal plates meet, and the sagging there is visible. Is the correction as simple as throwing in two extra cripple studs?


The right hand side of the wall that we opened.


(Q6) The details at the top. As you can see, the big beam is not supported by a plate. It is indeed sitting on a wall. But it still appears to me that the beam was cut short and it should have its end supported. Does this need to be corrected?


(Q7) When we look closely at the big beams, it puzzles us how poorly they are connected to the rest of the structure. And some of them fractured due to the partial/broken shim underneath. How do we correct this?






(Q8) Now, about the sagging beam supports. This whole wall sits on a few piers that are supported by concrete blocks. In the crawl space, it appears that a couple of wooden piers have lost contact with the concrete blocks, thus not providing the support. The soil here moves quite a bit (we are in a hilly area), so most likely, the concrete blocks sank over the years. We plan to jack up the pier, rebuild the concrete foundation, and firmly support the wooden pier. Is that the right thing to do?

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for reading and we really appreciate your input, any input. We always learn so much from the online community.

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Old 07-17-2011, 03:28 PM   #2
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


You really need to consult with a lawyer & a structural engineer. No way that the Internet is going to tell you what to do, other than give an opinion, which I have given you in the beginning.

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Old 07-17-2011, 03:36 PM   #3
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


Is it that bad? And a lawyer?

Opinions are welcome. I've found that these online discussions are a good starting point for me besides my extensive research as well as possibly consulting with professionals. Often times faced with a situation, I didn't even know where to start asking questions and doing research, but with the guidance of online community, I was able to make some educated decisions about the next step.
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Old 07-17-2011, 06:53 PM   #4
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


you haven't actually done any work to it yet other than expose. so MAYBE there is no reason yet to bring it up to code (just a guess on my part) ???. i woould think this is the PERFECT time to bring in the inspector and ask his opinion on what it would take to sign off. his answer will no doubt influence how you do the rest of the project .. if at all.

as a minimum, it is important to bring in an expert to look at it to see if there is anything critical that must be fixed regardless. maybe the pros (not me) on this website can help you with some thoughts too.

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Old 07-17-2011, 06:55 PM   #5
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


Knucklez, you may want to take a look at their other thread What to do with this old ceiling?
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Old 07-17-2011, 07:39 PM   #6
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


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Old 07-17-2011, 07:47 PM   #7
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


Yeah, I know. I didn't think the mold was that bad until I saw the picture I took -- and I was there to clean the attic! But that's a separate issue to deal with. There is no mold in this wall. It's just that we are not sure if the framing in this wall was completely screwed up or not.
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Old 07-17-2011, 09:44 PM   #8
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudworm View Post
Yeah, I know. I didn't think the mold was that bad until I saw the picture I took -- and I was there to clean the attic! But that's a separate issue to deal with. There is no mold in this wall. It's just that we are not sure if the framing in this wall was completely screwed up or not.
This wall is missing key framing members that should be added.
Support under the main exposed beams.
Additional jack studs.
If there's a basement, blocking to the main support beam under the floor.
Etc..
The inspector might require you to get a set of plans before preceding with the project so the structure can be repaired properly.
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Old 07-17-2011, 10:58 PM   #9
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


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Last edited by Stillwerkin; 07-17-2011 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 07-20-2011, 07:22 PM   #10
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Did we open a can of worms? -- We opened a wall (pics heavy)


There's no way anyone can give you reliable advise without doing a thorough walk through of the house. There's been no mention of bearing walls. No mention of how one load -like the roof load- is transferred down to solid bearing. A cripple stud has been mentioned. That's like putting a kiddie bandage on a big gash where surgery is required, then crossing your fingers hoping that it just might hold things together.

If you're just doing repair call the local inspector and just talk. Ask him if you're obligated to bring anything to code if you're not doing any renovations. Ask him what you're committed to do before beginning any work. Do not let him know that you've begun.

If you're not obligated to go through the building department hire an engineer and have him do the structure merely for safety reasons and not for the sake of code. Ask him, if this was your house how would you fix it?

In summary. pictures are not enough. They may show what's right there but they don't show what the causes could be and what the many effects might be. One thing always effects another.

Best of luck to you. We're doing a reno now and finding a few sinking floors and ceilings. We've got one big can of worms too.

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