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Old 09-02-2012, 06:48 PM   #1
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


I recently bought an older house and am going through the rooms doing updates. I tore old wood paneling off of a corner room today and found several 2x4s eaten almost entirely through. The two all the way in the corner are so soft I can put my finger all the way through. Upon further inspection I found an ant mound the size of a basketball on the house exterior in that same corner. I'm assuming they are carpenter ants, and they are all dying as you read this.

I don't have experience pulling framing and replacing.. The top of the wall has two horizontal boards, the bottom of which is damaged. How do I go about repairing this? I don't know how to tell if these boards support anything else, I haven't been in the attic yet or pulled the insulation. Please let me know what my next step should be.

The home is one story, exterior brick.








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Old 09-02-2012, 07:01 PM   #2
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


If you have no clue how to repair this then time to make some phone calls.
If that's an outside wall then that's a supporting wall.
Someones going to have to build temperary walls to support the floor joist while all the bad wood is cut out and replaced.
You say there dieing, have you called an exterminator?
Once the new wood goes in I'd suggest you do so ther can treat the wood with a product like Timbor or Boracare to prevent future damage.

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Old 09-02-2012, 07:05 PM   #3
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


Anytime you are replacing damaged framing it is a pain in the neck. You need to determine exactly what load that section of wall is supporting and then, if needed, temporarily support the load. Remove the insulation so that you can work. With a reciprocating saw (Sawsall) you are going to cut the nails that connect the damaged studs to the top plates. You will then cut the section of plate out and with a hammer, flat bar, and old wood chiesel remove the damaged plate. Nip the nails that inevitably will be sticking through the sheathing and replace the plate(s). Nail in place and sister the studs. Also, carpenter ants like moisture, you need to make sure that water is not entering the brick and getting the sheathing or framing wet. It is the second sentence that is crucial, get someone in who knows what they are looking at to determine the load; e.g. ceiling joists and roof rafters? How large a roof area? Good Luck.
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:51 PM   #4
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


Roger that, I'll have someone over after the weekend to have a look.

One more question concerning whether or not these joist bear a load... If the two in the corner are eaten through to the point where there is nothing in the center and the top half is just hanging there, should it not be assumed that they aren't doing much of anything anyway or am I missing something?

Thanks again.
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Old 09-03-2012, 07:13 AM   #5
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here is your pix with labels attached so you know the names of each framing components



in addition, your corner post probably has three corner studs (one is hidden), like here: http://extremehowto.com/understanding-house-framing/4/

based on your doubled up bottom plates, your house sits on a slab? if it is a single story home (and if your house corner is not sagging), other studs might be taking up the extra load but you can't assume anything and start removing the rotted stuff.

you most likely will need to setup a temporary wall support to remove the rotted bottom plates in addition to your corner studs, so I would for your contractor.

here is an older post about replacing corner posts (Replacing a corner post, Reinforcing the wall?)
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Old 09-03-2012, 10:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by allthumbsdiy View Post
here is your pix with labels attached so you know the names of each framing components



in addition, your corner post probably has three corner studs (one is hidden), like here: http://extremehowto.com/understanding-house-framing/4/

based on your doubled up bottom plates, your house sits on a slab? if it is a single story home (and if your house corner is not sagging), other studs might be taking up the extra load but you can't assume anything and start removing the rotted stuff.

you most likely will need to setup a temporary wall support to remove the rotted bottom plates in addition to your corner studs, so I would for your contractor.

here is an older post about replacing corner posts (Replacing a corner post, Reinforcing the wall?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by allthumbsdiy View Post
here is your pix with labels attached so you know the names of each framing components



in addition, your corner post probably has three corner studs (one is hidden), like here: http://extremehowto.com/understanding-house-framing/4/

based on your doubled up bottom plates, your house sits on a slab? if it is a single story home (and if your house corner is not sagging), other studs might be taking up the extra load but you can't assume anything and start removing the rotted stuff.

you most likely will need to setup a temporary wall support to remove the rotted bottom plates in addition to your corner studs, so I would for your contractor.

here is an older post about replacing corner posts (Replacing a corner post, Reinforcing the wall?)
Thumbs, thanks a lot for the info and the diagram. I checked out the links you provided and read into the wee hours last night. I ended up getting to it this morning, cut back a 4x4 section of the ceiling, cut a couple of 2x4s and used them as a temporary brace to the floor. When I pulled back the insulation, the triple stud in the corner came out with it! It was wrecked beyond belief. Luckily the damage was isolated to the three studs in the corner and the two top double plates about two feet in either direction, no idea why they didn't go after the bottom plates but those were solid as can be. I tore it all out, cutting the double plate to the next good stud. Nipped off all the nails, doubled up on the studs to give the new double plate something to sit on and assembled new corner studs with new double plates. I used a nail gun, secured everything and then used stud plate ties to tie together everything I replaced. Looks like what I imagine it did when it was constructed and also identical to the corner on the other side of the room. Thanks for the words of advice.
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Old 09-03-2012, 11:46 PM   #7
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


awesome! post a new pix to show it off!
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:26 AM   #8
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


Sounds like termites,not carpenter ants---get a bug man in to treat before closing up the wall---
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #9
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Having owned a pest control business, I have experience with both carpenter ants and termites. Just based on your photos, I see wood dust, which rules out termites. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood, they nest in it. Termites eat wood, not live in it.

There are other wood destroying organisms. What did you see in your repair?

Gary
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gobug View Post
Having owned a pest control business, I have experience with both carpenter ants and termites. Just based on your photos, I see wood dust, which rules out termites. Carpenter ants do not eat the wood, they nest in it. Termites eat wood, not live in it.

There are other wood destroying organisms. What did you see in your repair?

Gary
Interesting... The damaged wood looked like and had the consistency identical to that of a hornet's nest, it was paper like and hollow. When I pulled out the insulation the center of the triple stud crumbled. The wood that didn't fall out on it's own was so thin I could poke a finger in with little to no resistance. There was dust everywhere and black vertical streaks on the insulation rolls.

The only reason I assumed carpenter ants is because there was a huge mound on the exterior of the brick wall in the exact spot that had the bad wood. The ants were black, decent size, and there were several with wings.

Oddly enough, there was not one insect in the wall or in the wood. It was like they got into the corner, destroyed the wood a few feet in either direction, and moved on.
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Old 09-04-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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Insect damaged framing, need advice


When you say paper like and hollow, were there layers like rings separated only by about 1/4", or were the corner members nearly completely hollow?

Mature carptenter ant colonies occupy acres and have satellite colonies, multiple queens, and millions of workers. They are primarily nocturnal.

Ants own the world, we just fool ourselves with paper and lawyers. There are baits available on the commercial market. Some are specifically labeled for carpenter ants. I suggest bait because the ants will carry it home, feed it to the larvae, and the whole colony can die. You can control where the bait is placed, monitor whether the ants are collecting it, and pick up what isn't taken. Ants alter their food choices based upon their colony needs. This means good quality baits can be passed over by the food foraging worker ants. 10% of each ant colony are winged reproductives. Seeing the winged ants is usually a mating ritual.

Gary

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