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Old 02-25-2012, 08:57 PM   #1
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


The kitchen floor sags at the center. The bathroom off of the kitchen slopes downward toward the kitchen away from the bathroom wall. I went into the basement to inspect the floor joists as a means of leveling the floors and to determine if the bathroom is capable of holding an antique claw-foot bathtub I was recently gifted. I tapped the old 6 x 6 sill and portions of it crumbled. It had rotted.

Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home-image-148959697.jpg



Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home-image-1111004845.jpg



Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home-image-2071253071.jpg
The 6x6 sill is ruined in sections and where the rot has occurred, I noticed that the kitchen windows above slightly slope inward like a v.



Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home-image-1825433178.jpg

Talking to a carpenter revealed that my 1881 home had a joist and beam support system whose description baffled current construction standards. They are not nailed or bracket supported, each 2x6 joist and 6x6 beam is notched into the 6x6 sill or beam like a puzzle.

I bought this house less than 1 year ago. Because of financial reasons this project is something I'll have to tackle myself a little at a time.

My plan of action:

1. In replacing the sill I thought about replacing the 12 foot section of the 6x6 atop the foundation.
(The problem I have is that the current beam and joists are notched at the ends and do not extend beyond 1 inch along the foundation. They were notched into the 6x6 sill. Over the 120 yr period, they have worn along the bottoms and cannot sit on the foundation wall. The only support is the pegged ends).

2. I'm thinking that I support the rear of the house on a beam of 3 2x8 's on jacks, remove rotted sill beam, remove all old notched 2x6 joists carefully and install with metal brackets new 2x6 joists, 1 at a time onto the foundation bracketed to the sill beam.(The space for the beam is 6x6.)

3. In replacing the old worn out beam I could sister 3 2x8 lvl beams together, notch 2 inches off the foundation end of the beam, make certain it is level, secure, and remove support beam.

4. After the new sill, joists and beam are installed, I'm thinking of using 2x4s to build a support wall underneath the claw foot tub by creating a support wall in the the form of a basement storage closet.


Any ideas, comments suggestions, anything?

Thanks in advance, M.dizzle
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:02 PM   #2
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


What's in that area on the outside of the house? A deck, stoop, steps?
What in the room above that area? It looks like there's been some water damage from the room above.
This is not a great DIY job, there's going to be a lot of things that need to be though out on this one. Your dealing with ballon wall constrution so that old beam was supporting everything from the ground up to the roof.
If had to do a few of these before and I would do it a little differant then you suggested.
I would not use LVLs as a new beam. There not pressure treated and your setting them right on the foundation so they should be treated. You could make it out of ganged up 2 X's or one soild beam.
All the old siding on the outsides going to have to come off so you will have room to work. A 12' long Lenox hack saw style sawsall blade can get up behind the siding to cut off the nails.
Once the sidings off most likly your also going to find out some of the old wall studs are rotted at the bottom. Take the time to sister some new 2 X's at least 4' long to them so the wall will have a way to level on the new beam.
Since 2 X 6's are undersized for floor joist it would be best to take the time to sister some wider joist to beef it up, it also will help as a stronger attachment point when you find out the ends of some of those floor joist are also rotted.
You can use double joist hangers made for LVL's which are wider then reguler hangers to support the ends of the joist.
Once the old beams out you can just cut off those tenons so the ends can sit flush with the new beam.


Last edited by joecaption; 02-25-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:28 AM   #3
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption
What's in that area on the outside of the house? A deck, stoop, steps?
What in the room above that area? It looks like there's been some water damage from the room above.
This is not a great DIY job, there's going to be a lot of things that need to be though out on this one. Your dealing with ballon wall constrution so that old beam was supporting everything from the ground up to the roof.
If had to do a few of these before and I would do it a little differant then you suggested.
I would not use LVLs as a new beam. There not pressure treated and your setting them right on the foundation so they should be treated. You could make it out of ganged up 2 X's or one soild beam.
All the old siding on the outsides going to have to come off so you will have room to work. A 12' long Lenox hack saw style sawsall blade can get up behind the siding to cut off the nails.
Once the sidings off most likly your also going to find out some of the old wall studs are rotted at the bottom. Take the time to sister some new 2 X's at least 4' long to them so the wall will have a way to level on the new beam.
Since 2 X 6's are undersized for floor joist it would be best to take the time to sister some wider joist to beef it up, it also will help as a stronger attachment point when you find out the ends of some of those floor joist are also rotted.
You can use double joist hangers made for LVL's which are wider then reguler hangers to support the ends of the joist.
Once the old beams out you can just cut off those tenons so the ends can sit flush with the new beam.
Hi joecaption,


Thank you very much for responding


There are no structures beyond that portion of the wall. Above that area lays the bathtub/shower which leaked for a very long time based on closer examination. The other rotted spot occurred where the kitchen sink was prior to the renovation before I bought the place. The good news is that this section of the house is single story, it is the kitchen and bathroom section, the bottom of a sloped roof.

Ok, I will go with pressure treated. The sill beam is 2x6, could I use 3 8' sections or should I fight with placing the 6x6 beam into that section?

Questions:
I just came from the basement and have been studying the rot in greater detail.

1. Based on the rot and age I would need to replace all 11 joists and the beam, given the 19th century framing technique used, how would I go about Attaching 2x8 joists to 2x6 beams?

2. Would I bolt a 2x8 or 2x10 onto the beam and attach joist hangers or would I notch the 2x8s as to fit the current space?

3 The beam is rotted at the sill as well, would it be worthwhile to replace this 6x6 with a 6x8 (3 2x8 ) pressure treated as well(if so, do I notch them)?

Randolph, Ma<------- location.

Last edited by M.dizzle; 02-26-2012 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 12:52 AM   #4
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Getting late so I'll reply tomorrow.
In the mean time go back and add your location. Just tap on your name and the edit info should come up.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Mr.Dizzle--We need pictures of the outside of the house in the affected areas----

Lifting the house back to its original position will require pictures --of the room above--and the outside of the house.

Because the walls are resting on the sill and not on the floor joists (typical of todays construction)
we must see how to lift the walls up---and the floor joists--

I suspect that the section of your house may be older than you think---an overall shot of the house and additions will help one of us to date the structure.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:14 AM   #6
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike
Mr.Dizzle--We need pictures of the outside of the house in the affected areas----

Lifting the house back to its original position will require pictures --of the room above--and the outside of the house.

Because the walls are resting on the sill and not on the floor joists (typical of todays construction)
we must see how to lift the walls up---and the floor joists--

I suspect that the section of your house may be older than you think---an overall shot of the house and additions will help one of us to date the structure.
I took a shot of the wall inside and outside

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Looking at the vinyl, the sill beam, joists, gutter, and windows tells me that I will have one very very busy summer researching, tearing down and building things back up. The bad economy and empty pockets dictate that I will have to diy with some friends. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:36 AM   #7
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


I admire your initiative. There are many websites that show examples of individuals who have jacked up their houses and replaced sills and beams. This forum has had discussions on this topic periodically for the last two years at least, you can search and read the discussions.

This is an advanced DIY project. I say this because you need to properly size the beams to temporarily support the house, and you need a very carefully designed plan for the use of jacks to temporarily support the house. Plus you are doing this on what sounds like a minimal budget. I have a few specific suggestions on things to do to help you perform this task safely.

1. Do NOT rely on standard hydraulic jacks for long term support of the house. They tend to bleed oil, and lower over time. It is essential that you have a plan for installing robust supports under the beams you are lifting, which may include wood cribbing, steel supports, or similarly load rated devices that are not going to sink on you.

2. Develop a careful plan for lifting the house very slowly. This could be as slowly as 1/4 inch per day, depending on how fragile the house framing is, and how much interior damage you are willing to tolerate due to deflection induced cracking. The professionals have this all figured out, they use multiple jacks controlled centrally, so they can lift the entire support beam uniformly at multiple points, but I doubt you have the budget to support multiple jacks with simultaneous control, so cracking of the house is a real concern that must be addressed.

3. Safety is critical. When your house is partially supported on jacks, it is very vulnerable to structural failure caused by jack failure (see the most recent CSI episode for a TV show involving a fatality due to jack failure during a house move). You need to be careful to account for lateral loads which can move the house off the jacks, including wind, impact, and even potentially an earthquake. Lateral restraints to prevent such a disaster are part of a professional plan, so you should think about how you are going to provide positive restraint against lateral movement. This is especially critical if you need to get under the house during the operation to drive out the old sill beam, or to install the new beam.

4. There are a lot of tricks and techniques that you will pick up along the way. It would be best if you could enlist support from one or more persons who have actual, hands on experience doing what you plan. This is a very ambitious project, and the learning curve can be quite steep, and the penalty for failure can be severe.

Again, I admire your initiative. Be careful, be safe, good luck. Keep us posted on how it goes.
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


That shed wall and its roof don't weigh to much----The siding will need to be removed---exposing the wall framing---a ledger will need to be attached to the framing and blocking above the ledger--

Then Jack and prop the wall and roof--

A Jack wall will be needed in the basement to lift and hold the floor---

New sill --Custom made hangers for the floor joists-New bottom plates for the wall--
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:37 PM   #9
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman
I admire your initiative. There are many websites that show examples of individuals who have jacked up their houses and replaced sills and beams. This forum has had discussions on this topic periodically for the last two years at least, you can search and read the discussions.

This is an advanced DIY project. I say this because you need to properly size the beams to temporarily support the house, and you need a very carefully designed plan for the use of jacks to temporarily support the house. Plus you are doing this on what sounds like a minimal budget. I have a few specific suggestions on things to do to help you perform this task safely.

1. Do NOT rely on standard hydraulic jacks for long term support of the house. They tend to bleed oil, and lower over time. It is essential that you have a plan for installing robust supports under the beams you are lifting, which may include wood cribbing, steel supports, or similarly load rated devices that are not going to sink on you.

2. Develop a careful plan for lifting the house very slowly. This could be as slowly as 1/4 inch per day, depending on how fragile the house framing is, and how much interior damage you are willing to tolerate due to deflection induced cracking. The professionals have this all figured out, they use multiple jacks controlled centrally, so they can lift the entire support beam uniformly at multiple points, but I doubt you have the budget to support multiple jacks with simultaneous control, so cracking of the house is a real concern that must be addressed.

3. Safety is critical. When your house is partially supported on jacks, it is very vulnerable to structural failure caused by jack failure (see the most recent CSI episode for a TV show involving a fatality due to jack failure during a house move). You need to be careful to account for lateral loads which can move the house off the jacks, including wind, impact, and even potentially an earthquake. Lateral restraints to prevent such a disaster are part of a professional plan, so you should think about how you are going to provide positive restraint against lateral movement. This is especially critical if you need to get under the house during the operation to drive out the old sill beam, or to install the new beam.

4. There are a lot of tricks and techniques that you will pick up along the way. It would be best if you could enlist support from one or more persons who have actual, hands on experience doing what you plan. This is a very ambitious project, and the learning curve can be quite steep, and the penalty for failure can be severe.

Again, I admire your initiative. Be careful, be safe, good luck. Keep us posted on how it goes.
Hi Daniel

I am going to use 2x4s to build a support wall for that entire 8 ft span this week. I have access to 2 12 ton bottle jacks and 6-8 lolly columns. I do not plan to do anything more until the summer, I teach and wil have months to go slow and get it right. Researching, It seems that hydraulic jacks are good to lift while the wrench turning columns are better for temporary supports. I appreciate the advice. I definitey need all I can get.

Last edited by M.dizzle; 02-26-2012 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 02:58 PM   #10
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike
That shed wall and its roof don't weigh to much----The siding will need to be removed---exposing the wall framing---a ledger will need to be attached to the framing and blocking above the ledger--

Then Jack and prop the wall and roof--

A Jack wall will be needed in the basement to lift and hold the floor---

New sill --Custom made hangers for the floor joists-New bottom plates for the wall--
Hi Oh'mike,

Ok how does this sound,,
1. will remove the vinyl siding from half of the wall from the foundation all the way up to the roof, remove the foam and wood siding down to the framing.
2. I am going to build a temp wall support in the kitchen for the roof, a ledger to the framing to support the wall.
3. jack up that section of the house, remove the rotted sill 6x6 beam,
4. clean the foundation, lay out vapor barrier,
5. install new 6x6 sill beam and achor down to foundaton and bolt to sill beam previously slotted into rotting beam (from side of house perpendicular). Lower house, support joists and beam. Replace insulation, siding etc.
6. Anchor ledger to new sill beam and older 6x6 beam on other end (now jacked ad supported) , attach joist backets, attach new pt 2x8 joists and 8x6 pt sistered beam, and shim/level floors, fix/replace drywall and paint.

Last edited by M.dizzle; 02-26-2012 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Not quite sure that will work---

A temporary wall inside will lift the roof as the floor is jacked up--good if they need the same amount of lift--

Bad if the lift is different---

I'd jack the wall and roof from outside the house if possible--leaving the floor for a separate lift--

You need the siding off to determine the best method--much depend on the amount of lift required for the floor --and the wall/roof---
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Old 02-26-2012, 05:59 PM   #12
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


I'm guessing that bulkhead doors lines up right there that rotten beam is.
Since it looks like there was no over hang on the roof and no gutters alll the water coming off that roof years ago, long before that siding went on, water had been leaking in behind the old wooden siding and roting out that beam.
See it all the time with porches and stoop.
Better flashing and a layer of storm and ice shield over that bulk head would be a good idea.
I only use 20 ton jacks.
A 2 X 4 ledger is not going to cut it. Two narrow. I would use a doubled up 2 X 8 lag bolted to the wall studs. This will give you a wider surface for lifting.

Unless I'm missing something I see no reason for any temp. wall being built inside the home, only one in the basement after you first sister the new floor joist in to support the floor while the beam is removed. When you lift outside the roof will come up.
You only need to just bearly lift that wall just enough to fit the new wood in.
It will be a whole lot easyer to use 2 X 's installed one at a time then trying to fit a solid 6 X 6 that long. That old lumber is going to be an odd ball width, your going to have to buy lumber that's to wide and rip it down. Just find a soild section of the old beam to get a measurement.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:32 PM   #13
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Joe--the floor is floating free from the wall/roof structure right now--wall /roof needs to be lifted separately from floor on this house--
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #14
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


That's exactly what I was trying to say in my post MIke. So I saw no need for the temp. wall inside the kitchen that he had suggested doing since the ceiling will be lifted slighty and the floors going to be supported from below with a temperary wall and not being lifted.
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Old 02-26-2012, 08:15 PM   #15
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Replacing rotted sill plate in 120 yr old home


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption
I'm guessing that bulkhead doors lines up right there that rotten beam is.
Since it looks like there was no over hang on the roof and no gutters alll the water coming off that roof years ago, long before that siding went on, water had been leaking in behind the old wooden siding and roting out that beam.
See it all the time with porches and stoop.
Better flashing and a layer of storm and ice shield over that bulk head would be a good idea.
I only use 20 ton jacks.
A 2 X 4 ledger is not going to cut it. Two narrow. I would use a doubled up 2 X 8 lag bolted to the wall studs. This will give you a wider surface for lifting.

Unless I'm missing something I see no reason for any temp. wall being built inside the home, only one in the basement after you first sister the new floor joist in to support the floor while the beam is removed. When you lift outside the roof will come up.
You only need to just bearly lift that wall just enough to fit the new wood in.
It will be a whole lot easyer to use 2 X 's installed one at a time then trying to fit a solid 6 X 6 that long. That old lumber is going to be an odd ball width, your going to have to buy lumber that's to wide and rip it down. Just find a soild section of the old beam to get a measurement.
Hi Joe,

Suprisingly, there is no rot under the bulkhead. I placed the tarp over it because of the snow. The rot is on the other side, there was a sink between the windows and a tub that leaked on the far right. I am replacing about 8-10 feet from the right corner towards the bulkhead. I will sister the 2x8s and lag bolt and lift it enough to remove and replace. The idea of installing 3 2x6s is easier. The old lumber is oddly dimensioned.

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