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langless28 05-06-2013 10:36 AM

took down a deck, i bet you can guess what i foud
So i took down my deck because it was completely neglected for a long time. good thing too because it came out like butter and basically fell apart on me. it was about 26" off grade. I uncovered some serious water damage rot on my sill plates and rim joist. i am wondering exactly how i should tackle this repair? i do plan on adding a small deck/landing back with a paver patio so i need a good strong rim joist to attach my ledger board too. my house has 3/4" exterior plank covering and i think that got the brunt of the rot and not the rim joist (some is still covered by shingles) but the sill plates are bad. about 2 years ago when i bought the place the inspector took a "ski pole" type prodder and hit all the sill plates from the inside and said they were solid, so the rot is not completely through. does this much damage require me support the floor joists and cutout out all the rotted sill/rim? or can remove all the rot and add p/t lumber and glue + screw? if i need to replace it all that would require me temporarily supporting/jacking up the floor joists correct? that has another problem, my non movable oil tank is in this corner of the basement.

also yes to save posts, i am removing the electrical (only feed to the garage) and doing it right with a subpanel etc on the other side of the house. it was scary seeing non uf romex above ground under the deck and then went underground no conduit ~1' and then up to the garage.

Msradell 05-06-2013 10:10 PM

That's definitely going to have to come out and be replaced. Without some more detailed pictures, it's hard to tell if you will have to support everything temporarily or not. My bet is you will have to.

Westies 05-06-2013 11:25 PM

Been there, done that!
I am not a pro but I tackled the same type of rot to my sill and rim board of my ranch house. Previous owner backfilled earth to board and covered that with a concrete patio pad, I should have guessed and the inspector I paid should have too. We had major termite and carpenter ant damage, about the same extent of rot for about 20 ft.

Things were loose in the township so I fixed it without a permit and the photos I took of the process are likely lost in an old computer. That will matter at resale, cause a repair is obvious but it will be off the books and questioned, though I took utmost care.

I bought about 12 steel adjustable posts, six to prop from basement floor to first floor joists, and another six upstairs, from floor to ceiling (left ceiling drywall in place). These were set about one foot from the damaged wall.

To distribute the weight on the post feet, I used 1 foot square, 2" thick hard wood bases (or larger). Then at the ceiling I set up a temp. header plate to go across the ceiling joists, two 2X8's bolted together.

Over a few days I slowly screwed the post bolt up higher and higher till I could tell the floor and joists had cleared the concrete basement wall and the damaged boards could be knocked out.

Somehow we lived in the rooms with this going on and I caused no drywall or roof problems. I had to jackhammer that patio pad along the afflicted wall, so I could did down, remove earth and place a concrete apron thoroughly and carefully against the new boards. But at least you don't have concrete to deal with.

Of course your issue will be to prevent any future water damage. You know wet wood brings insects, ants termites, borers.

I replaced my damaged wood with good quality pressure treated wood, and lagged it together and into the existing floor joists, which luckily were not damaged by the termites. Go ahead with the glue but good lag bolts will hold it all well. Can't recall if I looked up metal compatibility with PT lumber.

The house is at risk while carried on these steel posts. Mine were about 3 feet apart, fine, but I did no load calculations. I didn't do it in winter (no snow loads) but a high wind storm could be trouble.

So ten years later everything is holding fine, solid, no damage. Probably if I submitted same approach, the twp. engineering firm would deny it due to no calculations, no experience, etc.

It was a big project for me but I knew I had to get that bad wood out. I feel I've got all wood far from soil and water and termites! Note that carpenter ants can carve channels in PT lumber, so key is moisture prevention.

I resold most of my $45 dollar posts for just ten, but overall it wasn't a huge expense ($1000).

You've got the extra issue of the deck plate and loading.

I'll check back if you have questions, I'm no expert. I learned a lot though, including that electric jackhammers can fail on their own. It's scary and maybe risky but you have to save your foundation!

hand drive 05-07-2013 07:42 AM

if your floor joists are running perpendicular to the rim joist which it looks like they are, it should be easy enough to get a temp girder under them to hold the floor weight while you do the repair.

jagans 05-07-2013 07:55 AM

It all depends on what the ends of the joists look like, which you have not showed. If the ends of the joists are toast, your whole house would be sinking on the affected side. If the ends of the joists are toast you need new joists sistered to the existing. Pretty big job.

langless28 05-07-2013 08:13 AM

the floor joists ARE perpendicular to this rim joist. are you referring to rotting of the end of the floor joists? there is not visible rot inside of the basement and everything is unfinished in this section of the house. when i had my inspection, the sill and rim were "hit" with a poker to see if there was rot, so it has not gone completely through.

i need to start removing all the very rotted portions and see how much of the sill and rim are compromised; if its only ~3" of the sill plate rotted (regards to depth) does the whole thing need to come out or just cut some PT to fill the gap?

i can support the floor joists on the inside and try to raise a little to get pressure off the sill to replace but i have a brand new kitchen i did about 12" from the wall facing the garage and worry about cracking tiles/ the new sliding door, etc etc.

Pittsville 05-07-2013 10:49 AM


Originally Posted by langless28
i do plan on adding a small deck/landing back with a paver patio so i need a good strong rim joist to attach my ledger board too.

Do yourself a favor and build the new deck free-standing. (Not attached to house)

langless28 05-07-2013 12:37 PM


Originally Posted by Pittsville (Post 1174344)
Do yourself a favor and build the new deck free-standing. (Not attached to house)

for a free standing deck, doesn't the footings closest to the house have to be at or below the footings of the house? aka several feet down? i don't think i have the capacity/want to do that.

Hardway 05-07-2013 12:44 PM


Originally Posted by langless28 (Post 1174404)
for a free standing deck, doesn't the footings closest to the house have to be at or below the footings of the house? aka several feet down? i don't think i have the capacity/want to do that.

"aka several feet down?"


langless28 05-07-2013 01:07 PM

from the "perspective residential deck" book

talking about floating decks,
"the associated deck post footings shall be placed at the same elevation as the existing house footing if located closer than 5' to an existing house wall. for houses with basements, a cylindrical footing is recommended to minimize excavation at the basement wall."

and in there it says the footings needs to bear on solid ground and i though "backfill" is not solid ground. i could be completely wrong but this is what i picked up reading that pdf and some posts around here.

Hardway 05-07-2013 03:35 PM

I see your logic but don't know if it holds true. How old is the house?

langless28 05-07-2013 04:00 PM

59'; i think that rule applies to newer house where the soil has not yet compacted but i am not sure and i will have to clarify that rule before i proceed. if it involves a soil test (i read a ~$500 test) i wont even bother going freestanding; but i do like the idea of no ledger. on the other hand after the rot is fixed, i am confident that i would flash/install it properly as to not give the next homeowner this headache.

langless28 05-17-2013 08:25 AM

anyone confirm my theory about the footings?

GBrackins 05-17-2013 08:43 AM

footing for a deck (if installed) must bear upon undisturbed natural soil per the building code. footings located within 5' of the dwelling typically should extend down to the same depth as the dwelling footing (again to undisturbed natural soil). If you download the American Wood Council's "Prescriptive Residential Wood Deck Construction Guide" and check out page 14 it indicates my last statement.

good luck!

langless28 05-17-2013 09:05 AM

yes, i have that quoted in my above posts. it just seems odd that backfill even after 50 years of settling is not considered solid ground. i also never heard of anyone doing a floating deck with footings 8+ feet down near the house.

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