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Old 12-08-2016, 11:45 PM   #1
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Dealing with timber sill on stone, dirt crawl


My sill plates are heavy timbers, going by eye some are 8x10 and others are 10x10. Most of them sit on a low crawlspace foundation that was loose stone but that has now had mortar applied to the gaps on the outside. From the inside it still looks like loose stone. A small part of it sits on a basement of mortared stone. The crawlspace has a dirt floor.

There is evidence of termite damage. In one place it was severe; the whole stud was eaten apart. I'm starting to think that the moisture in that area came from leaks either in the plumbing or in the siding. There is also evidence of rodent infiltration. The crawlspace soil structure looked as though the rodents came through the dirt but I'm not sure. The house is old so I have no idea how long ago the pests were eradicated but I'm assuming that they can come back.

I'm redoing everything in the house except the roof and the load-bearing walls. I am in the process of removing the floor joists so pretty soon you'll walk in through the front door into the crawl space, great access. I'm going to use joist hangers to install new joists and so on. Before I do that I want to deal with the termites and rodents while the floor is missing.

It really isn't feasable for me to put a capillary break between the foundation and the sill. So I need to make sure that the sill timbers can dry into the crawlspace, which will have a dehumidifier running forever.

My plan right now is to air seal the crawl space and maybe apply some water barrier to the exterior of the foundation.

Then what do I do about the crawlspace floor? A rat slab is probably out of the question. If I put down plastic that would mean that more moisture will have to wick up through the crawlspace. I'd like to put something down that is rat-impermeable but not vapor impermeable. Maybe some sort of tight metal mesh?

What kind of poisons should I apply/have applied?

Thanks for any help.
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Old 12-09-2016, 07:49 AM   #2
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Re: Dealing with timber sill on stone, dirt crawl


If you can slip a sheetmetal between the stones and lumber, even 1/2", and mortar the joint then, that becomes your termite shield. They can skip the metal, so you must treat the ground as well.
Mice can dig and chipmunks will dig more. 2' down is not unusual. Small stones and 3" layer of gravel will soon discourage them, but you have be vigilant about disturbed stones or dug earth.
I never lived with stacked stone foundation and don't know about the problems, but one thing I heard is never dig around it. The stones and the earth have settled on each other and you don't want to change it.
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:28 AM   #3
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Re: Dealing with timber sill on stone, dirt crawl


Thanks for the advice.

How do I place the stones? Do I just cover the entire floor of the crawlspace?

I don't think that getting anything in between the sill and the foundation is possible. It is just something that I will have to live with.
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