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Old 08-13-2006, 09:27 PM   #1
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Repairing rotted top plate and joists

Howdy, folks

I am attempting to help out a friend with pretty severe entryway issues. The interior design of the house is great, but I really don't know what they were thinking when they built the exterior.

Ok, here we go. Main entrance to house is on second floor, and is reached via an exterior stairway, attached to front of house. Garage door is directly below main entrance. There is no protection from the elements on this front door, as the soffit extends perhaps two inches off the front of the house, and that's over the third floor.

But wait, that's not all. The platform at the top of the exterior stairs for the front door is framed onto two beams that were extended from inside the house, even with the first floor joists. Of course, there is no flashing where the vinyl siding meets the framing for the platform. Sheer genius.

Well, my friend notices that the sheetrock on the garage ceiling is stained, rips it down, and disovers that water has been seeping into this area for years. The worst damage is directly under the door, and it looks as though the ends of the floor joists have rotted, but also the top plate for the exterior wall, complete with insect invasion.

Now I did about three years of construction/remodeling work in my twenties, so I understand how all these pieces fit together, and of it were a case of simply fixing the floor joists, I would have no problem. However, it looks as though we're going to have to build a temporary support wall to take the load while we replace the top plate, and I am not sure how to go about that for a three story house.

Normally, I wouldn't have gotten involved further than recommending a good contractor, but my buddy is in the midst of some financial woes, and can't afford to hire anybody. What I'd really like is a time machine, so I could advise him to NOT buy this house. Yikes!

I know this is a pretty involved scenario, and will answer any questions I can as to the particulars of the construction. Looks like the double top plate for the first floor wall, the ends of 4-6 joists, and the sole plate for the second floor may also be affected.

Any comments or suggestions welcome.


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Old 08-14-2006, 08:13 AM   #2
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Sounds like the joists can be treated and “sistered” with new joists. Like you said, that would be the easy part. As for the top and bottom plates, I think you’re on the right track with a temporary wall and maybe some jack posts to lift and re-level if needed. It’s going to be a big job. At any rate you’ll need to cut out all the rotted wood (sawsall probably will work the best). You might want to consult with an engineer first just for possible other ideas and things that might have been missed (two sets of eyes are better than one sort of thing).


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Old 08-14-2006, 01:32 PM   #3
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Also, when you build the temp. wall:
Set the studs at a "T" for a stronger vertical load hold. If you are still concerned about the load weight above you, you could even build a header into the temp wall. Make sure that the temp. wall is running perpendicular to the floor joists it will be sitting on.
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Old 08-14-2006, 02:28 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies, folks. Those are some good suggestions.

At my behest, my friend ripped out the sheetrock and insulation from the area, and took some pictures.

It now looks like we will have to replace the header for the garage opening, as well.

My plan now is;

1. Sister the joists.
2. Build a temporary header structure about a foot inside the garage opening.
3. Remove the rotted pieces of the original header structure.
4. Rebuild the missing pieces.

Does this sound feasible? Would it make sense to install lolly columns in the outer wall on either side of the garage opening to provide additional support?

Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks!

Last edited by ConsarnIt; 08-14-2006 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 08-14-2006, 03:55 PM   #5
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Now you can show us the pictures, no?
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