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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Posted some info here before about trying to get the back room of our house in order. Would like to get new walls and ceiling, run electricity where needed, new lights, mini-split for heat/AC, etc. Finally got around to pulling off the walls (drywall) and ceiling (1/4” plywood) so can see what’s going on. House built in 1978, this was walled in somewhere around late 90s I think. We often find things not to code, DIY’ed by someone who didn’t have the internet like I do, etc.

Here’s the picture gallery: https://imgur.com/a/fCMrzdi

The room was originally a screened in porch under a second story deck. It is about 12’ wide (from east to west) and 25’ long (north to south). Ceiling a little over 8’. At some point, the owners made this and the second story deck into enclosed space. It just wasn’t done very well; when we had the siding redone, they found the screen walls still in between the walls, and they said it was barely attached to the house. They tried to fix that on the north wall, where the different insulation was put in.

In the pictures it looks like the support of the deck that was visible inside the porch was painted light blue. I’m thinking maybe the bottom half of the screen walls were solid, since the framing seems to be set up that way. There are 3 posts across the 25’ span, one in the SE and NE corner, and one mid east wall, and each look to be 4x6.

The west wall was the exterior wall of the house, and has the foil insulation. There were 2 windows that were drywalled over. You can also see the step down from the west wall where the house slab starts and the porch slab starts. You can definitely feel that the room slopes away from the house. I tried to check out if there are footers for the deck posts by digging under our current deck, which butts up against the north wall, and is the only place were the slab is easily seen (there is other sidewalk, patio, etc., concrete around the rest of the area). Was tough to tell what was going on, but we also haven’t had rain in about 2 weeks so it was real hard. Might try and excavate a bit more. We will probably have a structural engineer come out to take a look. This has been in place for probably 15-20 years, maybe a little longer. Haven’t noticed it trying to fall off the back of the house, but not sure if we would or if one day we would just wake up to missing walls.

So, the framing. I don’t know a lot about this, but trying to work out what was original, what was added for the deck, then for the room, etc. Walls are 2x4 studs. The sheathing is some kind of Masonite/pressboard type stuff. Got worried, since half the house was redone with Masonite, but found some info online that there was a type of material like this used for sheathing. Can’t remember the brand name, but seemed legit, and this stuff seems to be in good shape.

The south wall looks normal, studs 16” OC etc. Maybe this was always a solid wall? Not sure what the horizontal part would have been for?

East wall you start to see all the random framing put in. Window and sliding door look OK? But then so many added little pieces here and there. I know they would have been working around the framing of the deck and lower porch wall, but not sure what they were trying to achieve.

North wall you can see the original blue framing for the porch wall, which are 36” OC. The lower wall has studs 24” OC. The I think they added studs on the upper part to make no span over 24”? But didn’t divide up the spaces evenly really. When the siding was redone the guy added the Manville batts, run horizontally, whereas the other guys used batts mostly vertically, squishing them in as needed.

West wall is the old exterior of the house. Studs 16”OC except around the doors and windows. Then just the drywall on the other side which is the living room.

Ceiling joists (old deck support) are 2x8, 24” OC, about 12’ span. I know this is not code now, but not sure if it ever was OK. One or two joists are double up, but I think just for nailing surface, since the don’t rest on the wall plates. Then decking is 2x6.

So, step 1 is getting foundation inspected, if needed. Is this a definite? Any reason to think that since it’s still standing, it’s OK? Worried that will be a massive expense to get fixed, since it would likely involve injecting new foundations underneath or something, right?

Then what? For the ceiling, would I double up the joists, or run new ones in the middle of each bay? And would I use joists hangers since there isn’t space on the wall plates?

How about the walls? Do I just make do with what is there? I’m thinking there are probably some pieces that can be moved or redone, but didn’t know if it was OK to try and move studs. I will probably redo all the insulation, since it’s so scattered. There was termite action and some insulation nests I found, so want to get everything out anyway. Plus the light fixtures next to the sliding door aren’t sealed, so the wasps found it to be a nice nesting space.

For the floor, I was thinking of raising it up to be level with the living room floor, so it all just flows together. Is this OK to do? It’s about 4” so maybe with 2x3 or 2x4s and sheathing it would be close. If we don’t have to do anything to the foundation, I would probably also raise the east side so that it runs flat. Then figure out if I need vapor barrier, insulation, etc.

Would appreciate any and all advice! Ranging from “run now” to “no problem for a DIY guy”. It’s a big project, but the space was completely wasted before since it wasn’t heated/cooled and always had a basement feeling to it. Hopefully I can get it into a room we enjoy being in. Thanks again!!
 

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Naildriver
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I didn't read it all. Too wordy. Looking at the pictures it appears the stud spacing is haphazard at best, so you will have a difficult time getting your wall covering to fit properly until that is addressed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't read it all. Too wordy. Looking at the pictures it appears the stud spacing is haphazard at best, so you will have a difficult time getting your wall covering to fit properly until that is addressed.

Sorry that did get long! Kept thinking of more details. Can you just move the studs as needed? Would there need to be temporary support or can you pull one and a time and move? And just add support to ceiling?
 

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Naildriver
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Add studs throughout to make them 16" on center. That way you will have a place for your sheetrock/paneling/planks to land on even spacing. Do it consistently from one end of the room, including over and under windows. Keep the spacing going.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Will you do it to meet code?
I see multiple violations. Whether you pull a permit or not, it's always a good idea to do things to code.

I figure there are plenty of code violations. County said we don't need a permit but I want to make everything as to code as I can. Any glaring violations you would start with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Add studs throughout to make them 16" on center. That way you will have a place for your sheetrock/paneling/planks to land on even spacing. Do it consistently from one end of the room, including over and under windows. Keep the spacing going.
Can I just add in studs and one by one pull out the old ones? Also, for the wall that had the half wall at the bottom (like in the second pic) can I pull out the bottom framing as I go? Thanks!
 

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Naildriver
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Add studs as needed and leave the old ones in place. They're not going to hurt anything. Not sure why you would want to pull out framing. Just add short studs at the same interval.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Add studs as needed and leave the old ones in place. They're not going to hurt anything. Not sure why you would want to pull out framing. Just add short studs at the same interval.

I was thinking of removing some just to make insulation easier. Plus there are some weird ones that I can't figure out what they're for
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Remember the siding is attached to your studs, so whatcha gonna do?
Hadn't thought of that! I guess I was thinking it was just nailed to the sheathing or something. I'll check for any of the ones that seem to be serving no function (like the ones on the left side of my 2nd picture) and maybe they aren't attached to the siding. The walls seem to be just there to hold up the sheathing and drywall. I think all the weight is still carried by the deck structure, as the wall don't really tie into that at all.
 

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Except electricals. I would use it as is. I'd want air seals all over. Foam spray the joints between outside sheathing and studs. Then return the old insulation. It's ok (past discussion here as well as online info) for fiberglass insulation to be crushed. You will not lose r value. Just make sure you have about stud's width evenly. Adding more does not add r value. Unless you're in very cold winter region, no vapor barrier.

Drywall joint can be floating. That is, the joint does not have to land on the stud. Where studs are uneven, you should just measure and draw the screw line on the sheetrock or try to remember where the studs are. Sometimes, my screw spacing may be wide, maybe even only 2 field screws along 4' width. Then I put 2 screws each point. in the stud bay, use 3-4" strip of 3/4" plywood for screw backer. Search floating drywall joint. They don't show as cracks later, unless you happen to hit it hard.
I would want at least 1.5" dry out space under the roof boards. So 2x2 cleats under the roof board, 1" xps boards then fiberglass insulation, unfaced. Then 2" eps insul boards to the joists then 5/8" drywall with 3" screws. EPS because i'd be hoping it breathes. 5/8 because then you don't have to put as many screws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Except electricals. I would use it as is. I'd want air seals all over. Foam spray the joints between outside sheathing and studs. Then return the old insulation. It's ok (past discussion here as well as online info) for fiberglass insulation to be crushed. You will not lose r value. Just make sure you have about stud's width evenly. Adding more does not add r value. Unless you're in very cold winter region, no vapor barrier.

Drywall joint can be floating. That is, the joint does not have to land on the stud. Where studs are uneven, you should just measure and draw the screw line on the sheetrock or try to remember where the studs are. Sometimes, my screw spacing may be wide, maybe even only 2 field screws along 4' width. Then I put 2 screws each point. in the stud bay, use 3-4" strip of 3/4" plywood for screw backer. Search floating drywall joint. They don't show as cracks later, unless you happen to hit it hard.
I would want at least 1.5" dry out space under the roof boards. So 2x2 cleats under the roof board, 1" xps boards then fiberglass insulation, unfaced. Then 2" eps insul boards to the joists then 5/8" drywall with 3" screws. EPS because i'd be hoping it breathes. 5/8 because then you don't have to put as many screws.
Thanks for the help. Glad to hear I can use most/all as is. Was worried when I saw how haphazard it looked. I will definitely spray foam any gaps, including where the outside light and outlet go through the sheathing, which left big holes.

The rooms above this (what used to be the deck) are also enclosed/finished now, so I may not bother with insulation in the ceiling. There isn't heat/AC in those rooms yet, so I would be losing some energy. They are insluated so they aren't like an attic, but definitely colder and warmer than the adjoining rooms. Might add some insulation. If this job goes well we might do those rooms next.

Good idea with the floating joints and reusing insulation. I thought that crushing it reduced r value so glad to hear that might just be an old wive's tale.

Usually OK to use framing to raise the floor up about 4"? It's concrete there, so didn't know if I need a vapor barrier, or use PT lumber, should or should not add insulation there, etc.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Also, any thoughts on having someone inspect the general structure? Since it was a deck that is now carrying a lot more load. I was thinking structural engineer, but the local permit office said they can also send someone out if I have a questions about safety, even though I'm not required to pull a permit. Was a little worried having them out would lead to more questions/problems. Thanks!
 

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Also, any thoughts on having someone inspect the general structure? Since it was a deck that is now carrying a lot more load. I was thinking structural engineer, but the local permit office said they can also send someone out if I have a questions about safety, even though I'm not required to pull a permit. Was a little worried having them out would lead to more questions/problems. Thanks!

I think it would be a waste of money. An engineer is never going to sign off on something like that. So you will paying him/her to tell you what has been working won’t work. Is it ideal? No. Does it work? Yes. Beef it up where you can and add joist hangers.

Straighten out what you can and add backing where needed.

Perfectly laid out 16 on center studs are great for a crew that wants to come in and rock and roll on the drywall. For a DIYer doing a small job the irregular stud spacing is a minor annoyance requiring a few more measurements and marking the studs out on the floor and ceiling.

I would inset studs for end joints. And fill in the 36 inch wide spans with an extra stud. Especially if you are using lightweight 1/2 inch drywall.

Beefing up that ceiling wouldn’t hurt. I overbuild stuff so I would split the difference in those ceiling joists then sister on a joist to level it.

I did a very similar project a couple years ago. I have finished photos but have to look for pre drywall pictures showing the mess of studs
 

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Agree with above. Engineer is more likely to suggest a total tear down and rebuild. You seem to have certain idea about the problems and at most, I'd replace outside sheathing at the corners to brace. If there's half inch plywood already, then no.

Being hot/cold is not really insulation problem. It's hot/cold because there is not enough AC/heat. Insulation helps with losing/gaining or maintaining heat.


20 years is neither long or short enough.:smile: I think i got about that much. You can start a reference point on a foundation or such and measure the slab edge to see if it's sinking.


BTW, you don't need an engineer. Just experienced carpenter. But the carpenter may say the same thing starting with the foundation you have. If it turns out you are worried and can't really live with it, you may have to remove the whole thing and start over.


Another btw, if you need brace sheathing, plywood can be installed from inside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think it would be a waste of money. An engineer is never going to sign off on something like that. So you will paying him/her to tell you what has been working won’t work. Is it ideal? No. Does it work? Yes. Beef it up where you can and add joist hangers.

Straighten out what you can and add backing where needed.

Perfectly laid out 16 on center studs are great for a crew that wants to come in and rock and roll on the drywall. For a DIYer doing a small job the irregular stud spacing is a minor annoyance requiring a few more measurements and marking the studs out on the floor and ceiling.

I would inset studs for end joints. And fill in the 36 inch wide spans with an extra stud. Especially if you are using lightweight 1/2 inch drywall.

Beefing up that ceiling wouldn’t hurt. I overbuild stuff so I would split the difference in those ceiling joists then sister on a joist to level it.

I did a very similar project a couple years ago. I have finished photos but have to look for pre drywall pictures showing the mess of studs

Thanks that's what my wife was saying as well! If we aren't going to rebuild the whole thing might as well make the best of what we have. I like the idea of trying to level everything.

I was planning on adding the extra joists. Figure out couldn't hurt. That will transfer some of the load to the walls right? For sistering the joists to level out, do you just drop the new one down a little? Should I do that on all the joists or just the new ones? I was planning on them all being the same size.

Thanks for the help! Any pics would be great
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'd replace outside sheathing at the corners to brace. If there's half inch plywood already, then no.
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Another btw, if you need brace sheathing, plywood can be installed from inside.
Can you explain a little about the above? To replace the outside sheathing I would need to remove the siding and house wrap wouldn't I? And do you mean the two outside corners, running bracing from ground to ceiling level? If I can do it from the inside I would much prefer that than trying to pull the siding off.

Thanks for the tips! I will add some ceiling insulation since I'm not sure how long it will be until the rooms above are finished. I couldn't find anything saying it would be a problem down the road to have insulation between the stories.
 
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