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Old 12-23-2016, 07:27 AM   #1
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Interior wall missing bottom plate


About a year and a half ago I purchased an older home in need of some tlc (inspector said mostly cosmetic). The previous owners did most of the repairs/improvements themselves over the years and had begun to open up the kitchen into the laundry room with a doorway and an opening for the refrigerator cut into the shared wall. In the last few months I've noticed the floors in both rooms and in the dining room are sagging toward the middle of the house. Two contractors told me that it is just natural settling bc it's an old house and gave me a quote to put up some lally columns in the basement. However, recently I've noticed that the two exterior walls on this side of the house are now leaning inward and the floors upstairs above these rooms are now sagging also. I did some investigating in the wall that was cut up and found that it does not have a bottom plate..The studs are just sitting on the old subflooring. There is a wall directly above this wall and the attic/roof above that so I'm thinking that this is a load bearing wall that wasn't properly framed. It also crosses the main beam in the basement. Am I correct in assuming this? And what needs to be done to correct this before it gets any worse? Any advice is appreciated!
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: Interior wall missing bottom plate


Lawyer.

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Old 12-23-2016, 11:56 AM   #3
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Re: Interior wall missing bottom plate


Particularly with 2 contractors saying its natural settling, I think you need an engineer to look at it.

Without an engineering report saying that the settling is caused by the improper work, a lawyer can't really do much for you.

Asking someone here to confirm your opinion or what needs to be done to fix it, particularly when you haven't shown pics or other evidence to us, is pretty much a waste of time.
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:11 PM   #4
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Re: Interior wall missing bottom plate


----------------------Welcome to the forum!--------------------

Yes, pictures would help a lot.... you mention two different walls. Is the outside wall the one without the bottom plate, or the one above the main beam on the interior.... how can we begin to answer...

Studs resting on older 3/4" T&G subfloor with center blocking over the beam below would still support the wall/loads above, just transfer it down to the beam a little differently without the bottom plate. Was the bottom plate ever there- hence the lower floor joists, or are the floors sagging in the mid-span? An exterior wall, balloon framed would not require a bottom plate as a "platform" framed house has. The studs run full length, from top to bottom, resting on a sill beam, with the mid floor joists bearing on a ledger, face nailed to the studs.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(construction)

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Old 12-24-2016, 08:55 AM   #5
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Re: Interior wall missing bottom plate


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Originally Posted by Gary in WA View Post
----------------------Welcome to the forum!--------------------

Yes, pictures would help a lot.... you mention two different walls. Is the outside wall the one without the bottom plate, or the one above the main beam on the interior.... how can we begin to answer...

Studs resting on older 3/4" T&G subfloor with center blocking over the beam below would still support the wall/loads above, just transfer it down to the beam a little differently without the bottom plate. Was the bottom plate ever there- hence the lower floor joists, or are the floors sagging in the mid-span? An exterior wall, balloon framed would not require a bottom plate as a "platform" framed house has. The studs run full length, from top to bottom, resting on a sill beam, with the mid floor joists bearing on a ledger, face nailed to the studs.. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Framing_(construction)

Gary
My first house, c. 1914, was balloon frame construction. Perfectly level everywhere. No sags or tilts. The original builder knew what he was doing and the remodelers did, too.

In your case is there an original design flaw, actual settling in the foundation, a flaw in remodeling, or something weakening some part of the structure like powder post beetles or termites, or was there a water intrusion that caused structural members to decay?

House materials don't really settle if they aren't decaying. So it's down to inadequate design or decaying materials.
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Old 12-30-2016, 06:13 AM   #6
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Re: Interior wall missing bottom plate


Older as in how older? I was asked by a family friend to look at their house. They had many complaints but I could find no legal actionable problems. Casement windows were not as smooth, water heater vent pipe had dents and openings. None are actionable and non refundable if paid for. I told them their 20' high deck built with air nailer is a big problem but they are living with it. I wish I never saw it. But still take it to court and win?
The person you need is experienced in building who has no interest in your house. A carpenter is always interested. Expensive engineer is not.
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