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  1. #1
    Tyler J. Thomas's Avatar
    Tyler J. Thomas Guest

    Default Missing Top Plate and My Options

    Good morning; I hope this is the right forum.

    I'm tackling a project for my parents home. I am locksmith and have installed many pre-hung doors but never in a situation like this. Current pre-hung doors (active and inactive set of doors) are installed on a ground floor room that is about 10x15 and separate from the rest of the house.

    Essentially, this room was at one point a patio underneath a deck. The deck was converted to a sun room (walls, roof, etc.) and the one exterior wall of this room was framed off (2 of the remaining walls are CMU construction, 1 is brick) as well. It is not being used as a tool/garden shed.

    My problem, as you can see from the pictures, is that whoever put in the original set of pre-hung doors cut the top plate at the studs so that the pre-hung assembly would fit (and it looks it was all because they couldn't level it properly). I presume this is not code compliant and I would like to remedy this the correct way, either via professional or myself.

    In the first picture you'll notice a lolly column (black) behind the light bulb. The top plate is cut there as well with no structural straps between the top plates on either side. There is another lolly column (not pictured) at the far corner of the room (opposite side of brick wall in the other picture).

    I'm calling the local Building Division of the city today to see if I can retrieve the original permit to find more information about the job, including the inspection report. I reside in Georgia and we use IRC (2012).

    With all that said, what is my best option at this point? Also, is it possible that the lolly columns are the support structures for this room and the wall framing is simply there to hold the houses' siding? Excuse my ignorance on this; unfortunately for me, I'm only well versed on commercial codes (NFPA, IFC, etc.).

    I'd appreciate any insight; I'm going nuts trying to find a code compliant solution to this. Not at all opposed to hiring a professional but I'd at least like to know that whatever solution he/she may have is the right one.


    Certified Master Inspector CMI

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Re: Missing Top Plate and My Options

    If the room was added after the deck was built and the deck was built correctly then the top plate is non bearing and really doesn't have much effect on the structural aspect of things. The plywood ceiling appears to have been added before the walls were framed which makes me believe that the wall is just a partition separation. The door jam could have been planed down with little effect on door structure. Looks like knocking off 3/8" might have done the trick.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: Missing Top Plate and My Options

    You said that it used to be a patio under a deck - that would indicate that the framed in wall areas provide no structural support to the deck above or to the structure.

    With that being the case, the main reason for the top plate would be to provide a place to attach the new wall framing to the structure above, and to provide a nailing surface for the exterior and interior wall sheathing along the top.

    From the photos (looking at them on my phone) it looks like the top plates were not cut ... the top plates were simply not framed in at those locations.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )

  4. #4
    Tyler J. Thomas's Avatar
    Tyler J. Thomas Guest

    Default Re: Missing Top Plate and My Options

    Thank you both very much; I really do appreciate it. You've eased a lot of my concerns.


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