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Old 01-25-2008, 12:03 PM   #1
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Floor Joist damage - bathing my way to disaster?


God Grant me the Serenity - Will this rotting joist cause disaster?

When I demolitioned the interior of my enclosed porch I discovered that the former 'remodeler' used a foil backed membrane to separate the old porch sheathing from the fiberboard ceiling (I think it was circa 1940s). This very conveniently trapped water leaking from around the uncaulked bathtub up against the pine sheathing causing it to rot, mildew, decay, etc.

After I removed all of the sheathing I discovered that it also damaged one of the joists. It is approx 5 5/8 by 3 3/4, spanning 7 1/2 feet. This joist is located directly under my 2nd story bathtub. It is adjacent to a similarly sized beam that supports the wall of the 2nd story bath. As far as I can tell the bathtub does not rest directly on the damaged joist; but instead on a ledger board on the walls.

50% of the length of the joist shows old water damage that has 'dried out'. There is one cavity @ 1/2-3/4 deep. Beneath that appears to be solid and hard. The other 50% length shows evidence of more recent activity; it is soft 1/4 to 1/2 deep.

Other than from around the un-sealed tub edge (which I have sealed) there appear to be no leaks in the galvanized plumbing!!!

FYI- the 2nd story bath is slated for total tear out in 6-9 months.

Q's:
1. Should I worry about it? My friend told me not too, but he also offered to loan me his jacks (his words: I wouldn't use them). Should I have a carpenter look at it? (answers her own question: of course you should have a professional look at) (revise) Do I need to have a carpenter look at it?

2. Should I sister the smaller joists?

3. How do I arrest the rot? I assume I need to remove as much damaged material as possible (best tool for this?) and apply some sort of chemical. How do you apply this to a surface above your head? What do you recommend?

4. When I get ready to re-install the ceiling (hopefully within the next three weeks) how should I deal with the area under the bath? Insulate? Vapor barrier, but where (on the bath side or the ceiling side?

I know this is lengthy, but people always seem to leave out important info. What did I forget to include?

Thanks for the thoughts.
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Old 01-25-2008, 11:30 PM   #2
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Floor Joist damage - bathing my way to disaster?


You shouldn't have an issue with the beam. A 1/2" rotted section in a 4"x6" beam won't compromise the structure. Also true of the isolated 3/4" pocket. You could address it when you redo the bath.
Ron

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Old 01-27-2008, 02:21 PM   #3
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Floor Joist damage - bathing my way to disaster?


So anyone have recommendations about applying a product to stop the active rot?
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Old 01-27-2008, 11:33 PM   #4
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Floor Joist damage - bathing my way to disaster?


You don't need to do anything. The beam rotted due to moisture. You stop the moisture, you stop the rot. What would be the point of insulation or a varor barrier? Both would trap water against the wood. If you have a leak under there, you want to know ASAP. If you want to add some structure to the punky wood, apply minwax's wood hardener. Wear protective clothing and goggles. You can apply it with a paint brush or small roller.
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