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Old 11-05-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


Hello all,

I discovered that my c.1895 house has some sill rot. When I bought the house 1.5 years ago, the inspector noted that much of the basement window framing had had old termite damage, but that it was long ago and didn't have a current infestation problem (the window frames had become partially buried in dirt from un-managed turf buildup). He inspected the sill in various places and it check out fine. He told me if I replaced the windows everything would be fine.

I just embarked on replacing the windows myself, with vinyl hopper windows and pressure treated framing. I successfully replaced the first of three, and indeed, the frame rot was extensive-- what appeared to be intact 2x6 was mostly hollow inside! After removing all the framing and re-pointing any newly exposed voids in the brick mortaring, I reframed with new pressure treated 2x6.

After removing the old frame, I did notice a small section of sill above the window framing that was rotted. I would estimate the area to be about 10" long by 4" wide by about 1" of penetration into the wood. The rot is focused right above one of the vertical ends of window frame, and on the inside portion of the sill facing the basement, not the outside. I suspect termites had continued past the window frame and into the sill. I suspect termites because there is no moisture or water damage to that area; I also suspect the inside face of the sill was rotted rather than the outside because the basement was always damp. The sill is not in an area that can get water, but the window frame below it did routinely get wet (being submerged in dirt!).

In addition to reframing the window, I've also dug and re-landscaped the area around the window, so there is no chance of continued moisture around the window, and the house has been inspected twice now for termites, with none found. Also, the basement air is now very dry and has a dehumidifier running year-round.

How critical is it to repair this section of sill rot? And what are my options if repair is called for?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


If you do not mind the walls and flooring sagging then leave it as is.
Got some pictures?
The outside siding in most cases will have to come off to be able to pull it out.
Temperary supports built under the house to hold up the floor joist.
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Old 11-05-2012, 04:08 PM   #3
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


Open it up to see the extent of damage and fix it. Post pictures and go at it step by step as you did the window.

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Old 11-05-2012, 04:15 PM   #4
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
If you do not mind the walls and flooring sagging then leave it as is.
Got some pictures?
The outside siding in most cases will have to come off to be able to pull it out.
Temperary supports built under the house to hold up the floor joist.
There is no floor sagging anywhere, and the sill still sits level along the foundation. Remember that the rot area is no longer than 10" and is only about 1" penetrated into the wood, so there's nowhere for the sill to sag.

I am concerned, more than anything else, about long-term stability of the wood and the possibility of wood fungus being present and slowly deteriorating the wood, even with a dry basement and no water problems. If I am advised that wood can continue to rot even in a dry environment, then I need to take action.
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Old 11-06-2012, 06:10 PM   #5
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


Wood can and will continue to rot, even w/o a moisture source. Remember wood is never perfectly dry. But it's a slow process. If it's really as small a section as you describe, denitely add it to the list, but I'd think there are more important issues to deal with in an 1895 house.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:08 AM   #6
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Foundation sill rot: what to do?


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Originally Posted by Tony Scott View Post
The old houses were generally composed of woods only. So if the old wood is rotting it is advisable to replace your wooden flor with laminate flooring.
Not true at all. Doesn't even make sense. Must be a laminate salesman.
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