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Old 11-09-2009, 05:33 PM   #1
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


Help.........

I purchased my grandmother's home and the old wood siding was yucky so we decided to pull it off and insulate and add sheathing and vinyl siding....

Needless to say when we pulled the old siding boards off we found the sill plate to be rotted out in the batharea and behind the kitchen sink. Can anyone tell me in construction for idiot's terms on how to repair this or about how much a contractor would charge me. My husband recently acquired a traumatic brain injury so I am sorta in charge and I am nooooo
carpenter and have limited funds.

Thanks so much for any info anyone could give me.

I am located in Oklahoma

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Old 11-09-2009, 07:37 PM   #2
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


Hi- I had a nice answer typed out and the computer ate it!!!

This will be shortened-my computer may still be hungry.

If the house has not sagged into the place where the sill belongs-Good- Use a Saws-all to remove the rotten sections--add new ones using green treated 2x4s and a big hammer.Notch the new sills around any anchor bolts you find.


If you find that the house has sagged, you will need to build a "jack wall" to lift the house.

To bad I lost the post- very over simplified explanation here.

A jack wall is simply a wall that you build(typically with 2x6's) that you intentionally cut the studs too long.

First you nail a top plate into the bottom of the floor joists.(about a foot from the foundation)
next place the bottom plate on the cement floor-Screw with Tapcons or nail with a stud gun.

Last measure the distance between the top plate and the floor plate. Figure the lift needed(1 1/2 ") add an inch or so--(a total of 2 1/2")cut one stud for each floor joist.

Toe nail a stud to the top plate,just below a floor joist. Tap the bottom in with a sledge hammer.

Keep adding studs like this until the jack wall is complete.


Now the lifting begins--Start beating the 2x6 studs a little bit straighter one after the other until the 'TOO TALL" studs have lifted the house enough to slip the new sill plate in.

It's not a big deal- but great care must be taken if any studs show signs of splitting ,add more studs- they can cause some serious injury should one actually break.

As always Think-Be sharp-work safe---MIKE--

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Old 11-09-2009, 10:14 PM   #3
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I know I'm a slow typist -but I know I did this today. I think this computer in in the Twilight Zone tonight!
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:46 AM   #4
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


Oh, mike gave good advice as long as the house framing is modern standards. There are many variables that have to be considered, some of which I'm sure have already been addressed, but "eaten" and floating around in virtuo somewhere. One of the major factors is how old is the house? If you are dealing with a house that is more than 65 years old, you are likely looking at a hardwood 8x8 that is mortise and tenon(ed?) to the joists. The repair on one of these is likely to be more complex, especially if there has been renovations done after the house settled, due to the rotted sill. But it is also important to point out that many times a layman will look at a hardwood sill, and find the outer surface to have rot on it, only to find out later, that there is still ample rock solid hickory/oak/maple underneath the rot. Another question would be what kind of foundation is involved? A few more details would be very helpful. If you have pics, those would help if you have a hard time describing what you are looking at.
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:52 AM   #5
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


"oh'mike"-And I thought I had the only computer that liked to eat items I had spent time and thought into writing, now I know there is another computer like that.
"kmc123"--oh'mike's suggestion is a good one, IF you have the experience with working with this situation. "Custombuild" offered good advice also, which does have to be taken into consideration with the age of this home. In my business I have replaced sills under homes built as far back as 1921. Each house is unique to itself as far as how it was constructed. Maybe what I'm saying is that you can read all the books you want as to how to build a house, but different contractors use different techniques to get the same job done proficiently. Unfortunately, I must offer this advice: In m opinion, this is not a job for a novice Do It Yourself'er. Experience with working under houses is one of the first considerations I bring up. Jacking up a floor as "oh'mike" suggested is efficient, but time consuming. I use multiple hydraulic bottle jacks placed onto proper cribbing, and 4 x4's to hold the floor in place while we replace the sill. Most sills in older homes are larger than 2 x 4's, I've run across sills as large as true 6 x 12's, old hewn real lumber. I have, and often, had to custom cut lumber for a new sill. Do use pressure treated lumber for this. Another consideration--what condition is the foundation your existing sill is sitting on? Many a concrete block wall foundation has crumbled when we take out the old, rotted sill. "kmc123" I do understand you situation, but I feel that this is work best left to someone with experience. As far as pricing, I don't know about your area, and I don't feel that it's fair to post pricing on this forum. Ask around for someone who can do this type work. With the housing market as it is, you may find a competent carpenter who can do this work affordably. Good Luck, David
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:56 AM   #6
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Custom Build make some very good points. Your local lumber yard is often a good resource for skilled honest carpenters.

If the job is beyond your skills or ability remember your old time lumber yard.
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:06 AM   #7
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THURMAN-Well said;I was trying to get the home owner to under stand the process that a skilled carpenter might use.

Sill replacement is just another days work after you have done a bunch of them.

There is a lot to consider when you do the first one--Best to watch an expert do the job .-MIKE-
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:37 AM   #8
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


Yeah sills can be a real pain
They sloped my back patio TOWARDS the house
Luckily the sill rot was only on the surface - a 3 season porch had been on the back patio at one point

Keep in miond you do not cut out ALL of the sill plate at once unless the whole house is supported as Thruman said
I have seen where only 3-4' sections were cut out & replaced at a time
But I think longer pieces are better

I used a few hydraulic jacks at my last house to jack a corner up
Not fun
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:35 PM   #9
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I used hydraulic jacks to lift a sagging center beam on a house with a crawl space.

Way more work than a jack wall--scary the way the jack could punch a hole in solid oak blocks.
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Old 11-10-2009, 10:09 PM   #10
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I'm sure everybody who has tried jacking houses has had a jack shoot out while everybody scatters. It is extremely difficult to predict where to put the jack, to be directly under the load point. It is easy to underestimate the amount of stored energy in lifting 20 tons of house. This is why I do not recommend using jacks to someone who hasn't done it before. A jack wall is more time consuming, but much safer.
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Old 11-18-2009, 08:12 AM   #11
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Hi all,

I have a similar situation. The sill beams are rotted in places, I will have to remove some siding to see the full extent. (This sill can't be reached from the crawlspace).

I believe this is what is called baloon framed, where the first floor joists are sitting on the foundation walls, and that sill beam is sitting at the same level outside of the ends of them. The floor joists and the central beam are all solid. It looks like at some point some cement had been added to the outside of the foundation, but the top of it was level instead of sloping away so water collected there. I guess I should try and take a picture to explain the construction. (this is a 100 year old house)

It was suggested to me that I could cut out the rotted areas, and replace them with a stack of pressure treated 2x8 or 2x10s nailed together. Is there anything in particular I need to be careful of when doing this?

Thanks,
Ord
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Old 09-19-2013, 05:49 PM   #12
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Oh'Mike, Thanks very much for your suggestions, and also your reminder about respecting good work in place.

When we married, we bought a wonderful little 1950's (San Fernando Valley) house, which had recently replaced windows. While preparing to paint, we discovered epic parking-lot-guys work merkined behind short-cycled clapboard which should have been incinerated, and which allowed new termites the easier access to all that nice, moist wall where stucco, the original sized windows, and any building paper, should have been.

So flying back to the old books and scouring for help online, I read your post. Thank you very much for that injection of pioneer spirit, and for the PC Heimlich.

Back east, you must find all kinds of work, from the 'get it up before winter' to state-of-art (then) colonials, and the difference between an eye-job and uniform work just shines through. I'd much rather pay homage to that than add to the local population of jacked houses!

When this valley was going up builders were using good, thick redwood studs, double layers of vermiculite board, ditto building paper wrapped under and on corners. No doubt, after the war, they were also thinking about the firemen. We're facing our wall replacement with that in mind, which really allows us to better focus what we have to do. What can be saved will get System 3 and sistered in, leaving the sill work, which really had me going till I got here. Thank You very much for your advice!

VChucks
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:42 PM   #13
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


I just replaced some of my damaged sill plate and rim joist - 1965 home
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:45 PM   #14
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


Wood was rotted from moisture
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Old 09-21-2013, 11:51 PM   #15
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how to replace a rotted sill in an older home


After I set up 4 spaced stacks of 2x2 cribbing and 18' of 4 x 8 under the subfloor 2' in from sill plate (see pics) I used one 20 ton bottle jack to gently bring it up and hammered in cedar wood shims. Go search for you tube videos that will give you additional ideas how its done.
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