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Old 09-05-2009, 06:15 AM   #1
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


Hi Everyone:

Working in my old home today (we were gutting the failed plaster walls) we came across what appeared to be at first some minor wood rot. Well, we kept going and boy, were we horrified to find that much of the wood was rotten, all the way from the interior, through the sill and bottom of the case, through the stud the sill was supported by, and partially through the wall planks (almost through the exterior. There were also some ants in there (assuming carpenter ants -- you can see their tunnels in some of the pictures below). My guess is that someone did a poor job with the replacement windows, which in turn let the water in, rotted the wood, and made a nice home for the ants. I've already removed the ants (vacuumed out as many as I could along with the failed wood) and fumigated them. I'm convinced they are gone but I want to make sure they are gone to stay and also have repaired the damage.

You can see the (horrifying) pictures here:

http://yfrog.com/58dsc0028yjx

So, my question is -- is fixing this something I can consider on my own? Frankly I'm a big scared at the the seriousness of the job, but on the other hand it seems like something that I could probably handle if I knew the best way to go.

Any suggestion? I'd like to keep as much of the original window and case as I can, but not at the cost of a sound structure.

Thanks in advance!

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Old 09-05-2009, 06:27 AM   #2
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


First those are not ants, they are termites, and you need to call an exterminator. If they are subterranean termites, as in much of the country, they came from the ground, which means they are in the framing from the ground to the window.

Closer examination of the pics says they are barely into the window, but the framing is a mess and needs to be replaced. I suspect you will find considerably more damage below before all is done.


Last edited by Just Bill; 09-05-2009 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 09:32 AM   #3
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


This house was just purchased recently (within a month) and a termite inspection was conducted without any issues. Is this something I should talk to my real estate attorney about?

I'm guessing it's buyer beware but am curious.
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:02 AM   #4
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


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Originally Posted by CaptChaos View Post
This house was just purchased recently (within a month) and a termite inspection was conducted without any issues. Is this something I should talk to my real estate attorney about?

I'm guessing it's buyer beware but am curious.
When you opened the area up, did you see any termites? This could be damage from a previous infestation. Did you take over a termite insurance policy when you bought the house? If you did the house has been treated in the past. If you didn't, it doesn't mean it hasn't been treated before.
You want to do a through inspection of this area and the sill plate and joist system under this area and under the exterior doors. I would also inspect under all the windows because if this window was poorly installed, they were all poorly installed.
Termite inspections are looking for an active infestation. If this is old damage and there are no live bugs at work, I don't think you have any legal recourse. But it can't hurt to contact your real estate attorney.
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:01 PM   #5
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


In the future please refrain from posting the same question in more than one subforum on this site. I've closed your other thread. Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2009, 12:25 PM   #6
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


"I've already removed the ants (vacuumed out as many as I could".
Thereby destroying the evidence Ron was referring to with the termites. I would say that IF a termite inspection was done contingent with the sell of the home, I would certainly have 1) the company who did the inspection notified of this problem, 2) the realtor who sold the home to ME notified of this problem, and 3) YES, I would consult with an attorney IF the aforementioned other two conditions have been met.
"is fixing this something I can consider on my own?" This will certainly depend on your skills. Ron was correct again in that more than just this area needs to be thoroughly inspected IF you did indeed find termites, the tend to spread out once they enter a home. You mentioned rot through the wall planks, I will read this to mean the exterior sheathing boards as most older homes with plaster walls had wooden exterior sheathing boards put on a bias.
If the rot is this extensive I would certainly have to look at the main sill beam, I'll bet you will find termite tunnels and damage there also. See, this gets to be quite a problem for the average DIY. I'm not trying to discourage you, just to get you to look deep and find all the problems before you make the decision to take this on yourself. IF your skill level can handle this project then go for it, BUT get that termite problem stopped first. Good Luck, David
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Old 09-06-2009, 06:52 AM   #7
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Reposted From Carpentry Forum: Rotted Windows


As I understand the little critters, they move at the rate of about 1 ft a year, so you can see they have been there for a long time. If the house was given a clean bill of termite health, someone screwed up. To a trained eye, there should be signs all over the place.

I am not an expert, but I can often spot the signs before you ever see them. Actually you rarely see them until you notice something strange about the paint on the wall or trim and scrape at it. Or you see a mud tunnel.


Last edited by Just Bill; 09-06-2009 at 06:54 AM.
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