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Our house was built in 1958 and is wood framed over a crawl space. Wooden 2 x 10 floor joists with 4” diagonal tongue and groove sub-floor and oak tongue and groove finish floor. The air handler closet (30” wide by 40” long) had a poured slab of possibly plaster or mortar mix about a 1’ thick. The walls were 1/8” asbestos transite cement board.

When we bought the house the inspector said the floor joists under the a/c unit show signs of dry rot. It was inspected during the winter so the A/C was not running and the area was dry. It would appear that the condensate line was not properly draining and water was allowed to overflow the pan onto the floor and into the subfloor and joists. This house was a rental so no one was really paying attention and this could have been going on for years. The asbestos wallboard does not absorb any water. If it had been drywall maybe someone would have seen wet walls and realized there was a water problem.

I required the seller to repair the floor joists and have the A/C unit serviced and the condensate drain line blown out to make sure it drains properly. It was re-inspected after the repairs and the inspector and I were OK with the fixes. I knew I would need to address it further but I didn’t think I could push back on the seller any further than I already had. I also knew I couldn’t fix this during the summer as we needed the a/c on 24/7.

It was now fall and no need for heat yet and we could get away without the a/c for a week or so while I had the air handler pulled out and I repaired the closet. I broke out the slab and found the there was no subfloor under it. I removed the asbestos wall panels and found the studs to dry rotted about 9” up the wall. The wall’s bottom plate 2 x 4 was so rotten I could pick it apart with my fingers. The nails just fell out of the wood. It was a mess. I cut everything out that was rotten and began building it back.

Here are some pics of what I found after tearing all apart.
 

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The pics explain what I had to do. I installed 6” tongue and groove subfloor with a sheet of peel and stick roof material between ½” plywood. Then I repaired the walls and insulated the walls and covered it with ½” sheetrock. Then I installed the roof material over the plywood and up the walls to create a pan. I also sealed the walls to the ceiling which had huge gaps before. Now I should be only drawing return air from the inside of the house and not from under the house or from the attic.
 

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