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Thread: old house owner

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default old house owner

    I'm finishing up remodeling my 100+ year old southern home after tornado damage on Christmas Day 2012. I didn't finish settling with the insurance company until August 2013 and reapairs including a new wood shake roof and extensive interior repair to walls and ceiling started in October. Repairs were finished in June except I undertook to remodel the master bath which was not storm damage related. The contractor did the complete tear out and put in a solid sub-floor on which my friend who is an excellent marble tile bath installer has finished installing some beautiful marble tile.

    I was under the bathroom checking out some plumbing when I observed some worrisome issues with the sill and joists under what I thought was a solid sub-floor job. The joists are fine but the the sills have old rot on their interior and I'm concerned about their integrity after I've had all this expensive marble installed.

    After digging out the bad wood I took some pictures and sent them to my contractor. He said he didn't realize they were so bad. And, if you can believe it, he said he did not get under personally and look at it. Not sure what I was paying him 20% for. Anyway, here are some pics. Any thoughts on what to do? I sure don't want to mess up my tile that I've had laid. Already. I intend to personally crawl back under the house with the contractor or whoever I get to retro fit the fix.

    The contractor was/is licensed and bonded. I have the permit and it appears the city passed the framing. I guess he didn't get under the floor and look at it. Also, you'll notice some shims used in one of the pics. Is that acceptable? The white 4x4 is just something I stuck in yesterday for my peace of mind till I get a fix figured out.

    thanks for any advise/suggestions.

    Problem sill 1.jpgProblem sill 2.jpgProblem sill 3.jpg

    Elite MGA Home Inspector E&O Insurance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Capistrano Beach, CA


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Caledon, Ontario

    Default Re: old house owner

    Time to replace the beam. Support the joists on either side of the beam and replace the beam. At least that would be my suggestion. Likely costly due to restricted access, low head room and materials.

    While you are at it you may want to replace the knob and tube wiring.

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Orlando, FL

    Default Re: old house owner

    Find and hire a local home inspector (do your due diligence...) and have the entire floor structure inspected.

    You may have more wrong than you can see, and having it documented by a third party may help you and your contractor fix something that should have corrected before remodeling began. Marble (and all natural stone) requires a sub-floor to be especially solid, with limited deflection, or failure is likely.

    Frankly, the "I didn't see it myself" excuse is pretty lame.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN

    Default Re: old house owner

    Looks like old termite damage. I assume you are talking about the beam when you say sills. Before blame is placed, go back and look at the scope of work in you contract with the general contractor. Did it state that he was to repair any and all damage to the structure; repair only storm related damage or did you specify the repairs.

    Should the contractor have looked under the home? Sure, he should have looked under it.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Lansdale, PA

    Default Re: old house owner

    As others have said, the damage is to a beam. not a sill. It is necessary to replace the beam. Also, old beams typically sag (deflect) quite a bit and your new floor construction is probably heavier than it was. This means more sag over time. This can typically be done without disturbing the floor. The typical approach is to install frame walls (or beams and columns) at both sides of the beam to support the floor joists on either side. Then the beam can be removed, assuming a bearing wall is not sitting on top of the beam. Some other options are also possible. You could leave the beam in place, cut back the floor joists at both sides, remove the 2x4 ledgers that support the joists, and then sister LVL beams to either side of the damaged beam. Then the floor joists would be attached to the sides of the LVLs. This can be done one side at a time and the existing beam can be supported from below if there is a bearing wall above. An engineer can size the LVLs and provide other details. I have designed repairs for damage like this many times. Each case is a bit different. I have also used steel when beams were very undersized or when someone wants to remove a column.


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