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Old 01-15-2011, 11:46 PM   #1
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triple 2x12 beam with rot and pics



Triple Beam supporting second story. It's exposed because I moved the duct on the other side to reframe the soffit smaller. I found damage/rot on mostly the outer 2x12 and a small area on the middle 2x12. The wood is soft and scrapes away easily. I scraped until I got to more solid wood.

The middle 2x12 has a 12-14" section on the bottom that is bad. The rest of that board is OK.

Some of the damage to the outer board.

Several other bad spots

Left side supported by 2x4's in wall

My questions are does this look bad enough to need to replace the 2x12? What causes such damage? I would think if it were insects, that the damage would extend to the walls or the floor joists above. Could it have been a bad board when it was installed? - it hasn't got wet.
If I replace, I would cut out the old 2x12, but to put a new one in place, I would need to cut the 2x4's on the left side so there is room to swing the beam up into place. The other idea I had was to cut the board 3 1/2" short, slip it into the right side against the house sheathing, then there is room on the left to swing it into place, then slide it left 1 3/4' like the picture below. I would use construction adhesive to sandwich the new piece to the existing 2x12's. Is 1 3/4" enough support on the ends since the other boards are still fully supported?
I am thinking of using some epoxy on the middle board in the one bad section as long as it isn't that bad once the outer board is removed.

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Old 01-16-2011, 10:40 AM   #2
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triple 2x12 beam with rot and pics


That is insect damage, probably had been there since the house was built. I would though call an exterminator to come in and look at it and then go the best route. If it needs replaced, your Home Owner's insurance should pay for costs, so check with your agent.

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Old 01-16-2011, 10:45 AM   #3
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triple 2x12 beam with rot and pics


Looks like powder post beetles or some other borer. Doesn't look like termites. You don't usually see insect damage in the middle of a run like that unless they came with the wood.
Gregzoll, which insurance company do you know of that covers insect damage?
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:46 AM   #4
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Those are microlams! Super strong w/vertically oriented support. If that's the extent of the damage, I don't see a loss of strength. A lot of that damage looks like forklift stabs to me. Especially on the center timber. With the vertical support, as long as they are fastened to each other well, you are golden. To make sure, install a pair of 1/2" thrubolts w/ washers every few feet. Before you drill all those 1/2" holes, start with holes big enough to recess the bolt heads and washer so your sheetrock fits tight. Just in case of bugs, right before you get it closed in, put a bug bomb in that soffit. Also, the beam is well supported, but it's supposed to have another stud nailed to the supporting members that goes on up to the top plate. It puts the beam in a 'saddle'. It's code! Also it gives you a nailer for the wallboard that you will need anyway.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #5
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I skimmed through the policy info I had and it doesn't look like it would be covered. My Father in Law has repaired a lot of termite damage and he said it doesn't look like that. It's winter, but I didn't find any insects - Should I still get an exterminator to look at it before it's repaired?

As to the repair - any thoughts on the 3 1/2" short idea so I can get the replacement piece in place without a lot of demo? or should I just suck it up and cut out the wall on the left?
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:23 PM   #6
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Those are microlams! Super strong w/vertically oriented support. If that's the extent of the damage, I don't see a loss of strength. A lot of that damage looks like forklift stabs to me. Especially on the center timber. With the vertical support, as long as they are fastened to each other well, you are golden. To make sure, install a pair of 1/2" thrubolts w/ washers every few feet. Before you drill all those 1/2" holes, start with holes big enough to recess the bolt heads and washer so your sheetrock fits tight. Just in case of bugs, right before you get it closed in, put a bug bomb in that soffit.
It definitely was rotted or eaten - I scraped away at all the soft wood with the claw of the hammer, a screwdriver and a chisel until I got to solid wood.

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Also, the beam is well supported, but it's supposed to have another stud nailed to the supporting members that goes on up to the top plate. It puts the beam in a 'saddle'. It's code! Also it gives you a nailer for the wallboard that you will need anyway.
Good point - Thanks! I think that's a good idea and I will do that.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #7
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Those are microlams! Super strong w/vertically oriented support.
If those are microlams, I'm closing up shop after 25 years in the business and going to work at Big Orange.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies! At first I thought I would have to demo the top plate and 2 vertical studs on the left side to swing the beam into place and have it fully supported on the 2x4 studs. (1st idea in the pic) Then I realized it would be less work to tilt the top of the 2x12 vertically and slip it into place. If I am removing 1 of the 3 2x12's and leaving the other 2 in place, do I still need to build a temporary wall parallel to the beam? I have 3 adjustable steel support columns I could place with a 4x6 beam on top.


If I did the second idea, It would end up like this:
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:45 PM   #9
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If those are microlams, I'm closing up shop after 25 years in the business and going to work at Big Orange.
It's three 2x12's nailed together, no glue as far as I can tell.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:49 PM   #10
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Just a thought, but is it possible that condensation on the uninsulated duct could be causing a moisture condition within the soffit?

In either case, of rot or insect, moisture is commonly a factor.
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Old 01-16-2011, 01:56 PM   #11
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Those are microlams!
Those are not microlams.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:15 PM   #12
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Just a thought, but is it possible that condensation on the uninsulated duct could be causing a moisture condition within the soffit?

In either case, of rot or insect, moisture is commonly a factor.
I want to say no to moisture from the duct. Everything is dry and the 2x12 closest to the duct is the most sound.

Any thoughts on the need for a temporary wall when replacing the one outer board? I'm heading out to buy supplies soon.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:21 PM   #13
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triple 2x12 beam with rot and pics


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I want to say no to moisture from the duct. Everything is dry and the 2x12 closest to the duct is the most sound.

Any thoughts on the need for a temporary wall when replacing the one outer board? I'm heading out to buy supplies soon.
Typically, I would use a temporary screw jack, or a couple 2x4s cut snug and nailed in the shape of a T, with a steel plate on the bottom to spread the load.
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Old 01-16-2011, 02:42 PM   #14
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When in doubt- rip it out. It's holding up your house. Overkill on temporaries. You don't want to be the underkill
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Old 01-16-2011, 03:02 PM   #15
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When in doubt- rip it out.
When in doubt- Figure it out - BEFORE you rip it out.

There's no need for him to rip it out until he figure's out the problem. There are many ways to solve this without ripping it out.

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