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Old 06-29-2012, 10:55 AM   #1
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


I have a split level house built in 1956 in upstate NY that I inherited from my father. A couple years ago in the master bedroom, which is in the rear left corner of the house looking at the back, he discovered what you see in the first two photos; water and termite damage. Water from the chimney in the other photos. The termites have since hopefully been dealt with by Terminex (I have a contract for continued treatment). The damage extends down to the room below, where there is no top plate or sill. The studs are nearly powder. The damage seems to only extend about a foot or two beyond where the chimney was, but for that four foot space there is not much but rot and dust. The floor joists between the lower room and the master bedroom are rotted on the ends.

My plan, such as it is, is to replace the 2x4 sill on the foundation with pt 2x4. I believe it will fit right in as the studs further away are in relatively good shape. My question is how do I go about repairing the rest of the wall? The top plate is gone as well as the sole plate on the room above, as well as the top plate on the above wall.

I haven't ripped out the rest of the sheathing or drywall because I didn't want a bigger hole in the house until I know what I'm getting in to. The tar paper on the last photo is there primarily to keep the animals in. I'd had it covered all the way up prior to taking that photo. The house has aluminum siding that I plan to reuse. Does anybody know what that silver paper is? It's been run vertically and has no overlap, so I'm afraid of what lies under it as far as more water damage.

I know there's going to be alot more work that needs to be done, but I want to get this hole fixed first. Any ideas, suggestions? Am I crazy for even trying to do this? I've done renovations and new construction, but not for 20+ years. I forget more than I remember.
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Old 06-29-2012, 11:28 AM   #2
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


Sounds like a rip out and re-frame. You'll likely need temporary shoring to deal with the rotted joists. If you don't KNOW what you're doing, I'd recommend a phone call to a carpenter. If it were just studs I'd say have at it, but with floor framing (structural issues), you're better off getting help.

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Old 06-29-2012, 11:51 AM   #3
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


That's what I was afraid of. But it might not be so bad. So then my question would be what if I frame a 4' (or so) wall section to be inserted into the hole in the lower room, between the two windows, sister 2x6 (that's what's there now) to the rotted joists to rest on the top plate of my new framing, then do the same in the upper room? The rafters appear to have escaped any damage and I shouldn't have to jack anything up since the rot is confined to this small space. I have a temp support wall in the lower room (there's a cement pad floor) and I can put one upstairs, right above the lower support, while I put these new wall sections in. That would actually be a whole lot easier now that I'm thinking about it.

Does that make sense? It does to me, which is why I'm asking here.

BTW, I do have an old buddy I used to work with who's still doing contracting. He'd most likely come by if I offered him a good meal and coffee.

Last edited by scroff; 06-29-2012 at 11:55 AM. Reason: I'm old
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:18 PM   #4
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


That's generally the process a contractor will take. You will need temporary shoring walls in order to remove a 4' section of that exterior wall. Even though it doesn't seem like much, that is a bearing wall...
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Old 06-29-2012, 12:38 PM   #5
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


Ok then. Thanks for your quick replies. Here's what I'm going to do.

1. position a 10 foot long support wall about three feet back from the exterior wall. 2x4 construction, 16" oc, 2x4 header.
2. build it's twin above it to carry the load down to the lower concrete floor
3. tear out all the rot.
4. I need to put something over the block foundation before I put the new framing in. tar paper? anything better?
5. frame out a wall section and tie it in with the current wall by butting it up against the present studs and tying in the top plate. I'll use pt for the sill.
6. sister 2x6 to the joists
7. sheath that section
8. do the same upstairs.

Before I do any of this, get my old pal over here to tell me how well this will work. I'd still like an opinion here in case he can't get around to me quick. If you can't tell I'd like to get this started.

Thanks again, AGWhitehouse.
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:48 PM   #6
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


1) Sill seal is what you'd put on the foundation

2) Consult your local building department to ensure you're not doing anything you'll get in trouble for down the line

3) Consult ON SITE with someone who knows contruction to ensure you are dealing with the joists correctly. Sistering can work but it can easily be done incorrectly too.

4) If you're not sure about any one step, research first
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:58 PM   #7
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


Quote:
Originally Posted by AGWhitehouse View Post
1) Sill seal is what you'd put on the foundation

2) Consult your local building department to ensure you're not doing anything you'll get in trouble for down the line

3) Consult ON SITE with someone who knows contruction to ensure you are dealing with the joists correctly. Sistering can work but it can easily be done incorrectly too.

4) If you're not sure about any one step, research first
Thanks again.

I used 30# tarpaper under the sill since it's just a short span. I admit to not wanting to buy a full role of sill seal for this short run.
The town building inspector came out and I now have a legit building permit to repair this rot and put in the Anderson window when this is done.

The five foot wall that sits on the block knee wall is out of plumb over an inch, which has me, the inspector and my carpenter buddy all puzzled. No other wall in the house is out of plumb, maybe a 1/4 inch here or there on a 8 foot wall. The floor joists above seem to be resting where they're supposed to be, and there are no indications of moved or cracked sheetrock anywhere. The suspected culprit for now is the speed with which these houses were built. About 20 of them in a development in 1956. Rumor has it they were up in two weeks, and we're thinking the wall may have been framed that way. Maybe the chimney pulled the wall out as it sagged and leaned, but there's no sign anything else moved. I asked the inspector about trying to pull the wall in and he advised against it, without saying so. His words, "I'm not a big fan of moving houses once they're settled. You start moving things here and something might move over there and you have a whole new set of problems. If it's not a problem don't make it one." He wouldn't make a specific recommendation either way though. His last word was if I wanted to move it to contact a structural engineer.

I'm not going to sister the joists. There's a heating pipe about two feet in running through notches in the joists. Instead I'm going to cut the joists back about 5 inches, build a triple 2x8 header to sit on top of the wall I built, and hang the joists from that, securing the header to the wall and the joists on either side.

I'll be asking soon for ideas on how to fix a rafter that got some rot on the end. Two rafters were cut at the wall to allow for the block chimney to pass through the roof, one of them got hit by bugs on the end. My thought is to open the ceiling so I don't have to crawl around in the attic. Either way I suspect it's going to be a mess.

Anyway thanks for reading if you're still here.

Last edited by scroff; 07-04-2012 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:35 PM   #8
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Sills, studs gone, joists rotted


Quote:
Originally Posted by scroff View Post
"I'm not a big fan of moving houses once they're settled. You start moving things here and something might move over there and you have a whole new set of problems. If it's not a problem don't make it one."
Judging by that one wall being way out of plumb, this is priceless advice on not fixing what isn't broke...

Quote:
Originally Posted by scroff View Post
His last word was if I wanted to move it to contact a structural engineer.
I couldn't agree more...


Quote:
Originally Posted by scroff View Post
I'll be asking soon for ideas on how to fix a rafter that got some rot on the end. Two rafters were cut at the wall to allow for the block chimney to pass through the roof, one of them got hit by bugs on the end. My thought is to open the ceiling so I don't have to crawl around in the attic. Either way I suspect it's going to be a mess.
Quickest/Easiest way I can think of is to do it from the top. You'll have to patch a small area of shingles (maybe a pack or two), but it's easier than from the attic or from inside. Sistering the rafters works very well here when you're talking of just extending the tails.

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