Pressure Treated Sill Plate


Old 11-08-04, 05:57 PM
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Question Pressure Treated Sill Plate

I am currently adding a play room to my existing walk-out basement. The house was built in in 2002 and is located in Central Massachusetts. The basement is very dry and there has never been any moisture issues to date. I have completed framing the walls using typical 2x4 studs, top and bottom plates. I am getting ready to call in a framing inspection, but was told by a contractor friend that I will fail my inspection unless I remove the sill plate and install a pressure treated wood sill. The current sill is attached to the concrete slab with sill plate anchors installed with a Hilti Gun.

This would be extremly difficult beause all the walls are wired and and inspected. I tried to slip a 6" wide sheet of aluminum under the sill plate to break the contact of the wood with the slab, but this is proving to be VERY difficult.

Is a pressure treated sill plate required in an interior basement when the slab and room is VERY dry? (I also believe there is a vapor barrier under the slab that would prevent moisture from seeping up through the slab as well.)

Is there any way of getting around this requirement so I can pass the framing inspection?
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Old 11-09-04, 10:55 AM
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2 Areas where you will fail

I see two potential areas where you will fail your inspection.

1)The sill plate. Most codes require a treated sill plate either ALL the time or anytime the sill plate is within about 8-16" above grade. For all intents, treated sill plates are the rule not the exception these days...and 'breaking' the contact of the base plate with the concrete is NOT the issue and only shows more confusion about proper framing techniques...

2)It is not acceptable to power fasten a sill plate to any foundation under most any circumstance
Sill plates need to be bolted or strapped or fastened to the foundation with approved foundation anchors set into the masonry foundation/slab at prescribed distances.

In both cases. I would expect your construction methods to be deemed less than what the minimum code requires and would expect this structure to fail inspection on at least both these counts.

That it will cost you money to fix them, no doubt, will be hard to swallow, but it will be money well spent in knowing next time to understand the codes, approved framing techniques, and to get approval for what you plan to build BEFORE you build things wrong.

Old 11-09-04, 12:51 PM
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I'm wondering if we have a terminology mix up here or I just don't follow you. It sounds like all you are doing is framing a room in your basement. Then you mention the sill plate which has nothing to do with framing in a room, it's the board between the top of your foundation wall and the house above. Are you calling the bottom plate of the framed room you are making the sill plate? If so, it's a sole plate (or bottom plate) not sill plate and not required to be pressure treated around here. Call the inspectors and check as something like that can easily change based on the climate of the area but don't call it a sill plate.

Old 11-09-04, 04:32 PM
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This is a direct from my Building Services Plan Review Comment Sheet which came with my building permit. "All wood sleepers and sills on a concrete or masonry slab, which are in direct contact with earth, must be of naturally durable or preservative-treated wood." This is in Maryland so it may vary with your state.

I just had my framing inspection. It passed but he mentioned we needed to use a special kind of hardware to attach it to the concrete. If not the chemicals in the wood, can deteriorate the nail. This can cause cracking in the drywall. Home Depot advised to use a hot dipped galvanized nail. My contractor brought some kind of power gun. It used some kind of powder. This is all new to me and from what I have heard about pressure treated wood not being safe, I'm wishing I would have researched another wood that would have passed inspection. They say naturally durable. Would a cedar be considered that?

Good luck with your inspection. Please let us know what happens.
Old 11-09-04, 07:49 PM
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How does it go, you can pay me now, or you can pay me later.
Most municipalities can provide you with a "cut sheet" of acceptable building practices, as a handout.
However, to address a solution to the problem. If your walls are continiously blocked, remove these. At the sole plate, cut a shallow "V" underneath all the studs,(its faster than pulling all the nails), cutting the nails.Remove the old sole plate, cut off the anchors.
Install the new treated material, rebuild your wall, set in place and anchor according to the requirement for your area.

As I understand, you are building this WITH-IN an enclosed area and that this is not an exterior or otherwise structural wall.
In that case, there are a number of fastening methods which may be employed, of which, via a powder activated fastener, is one.

The following link is to the evolution of pressure treated lumber;

And an overview of the responce of the fastener industry as a result;
Old 11-10-04, 08:02 AM
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought there was a brush-on preservative to treat wood for above ground exterior applications. Couldn't he just apply some to the sole plate and avoid the tear down?
Old 11-10-04, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by markiz37
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought there was a brush-on preservative to treat wood for above ground exterior applications. Couldn't he just apply some to the sole plate and avoid the tear down?
It wouldn't address to "contacting" surface, the point of absorbtion, intrusion.

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