Wood framed wall under window completely disintegrated

Old 12-10-16, 08:45 AM
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Wood framed wall under window completely disintegrated

Location is Miami, Florida. Single story building, concrete slab, concrete block stucco exterior walls.

One of the rooms where I am getting ready to redo the floors, I have a window and as I went to pull the baseboard below the window out, the section of the wall below the window fell apart as I pulled the baseboard. The sheetrock, and the structure behind it.

Here is a picture of the BEFORE.

These are pictures of the AFTER.

I was able to pull out the rotted wood framing under the window by hand without the need for any hand tools.

I adjusted the colors of the pic a bit so you can see the condition of the wood.

A step back showing the window.

The whole house is concrete block wall. This little part is wood support? Weird.

I started to remove some sheetrock to check a few things. To the right is a solid concrete column. The adjacent wall is concrete. There is an 18"-20" deep solid concrete tie beam all the way across the top of the wall including above the window, to the left is also concrete block wall. What the heck is going on here?

Measuring the width of this window is 72". Hmmm...my guess is there used to be a sliding glass door here to the backyard. Someone changed it to a window, and decided to use wood framing for the little section below the window. Then that someone decided to build a concrete planter on the outside, put dirt in it and planted stuff. That dirt is almost as high as the bottom of the window!!! No wonder everything rotted.

I measured the distance from the bottom of the window to the slab. 10.5". I could fit a course of 16X8X8 concrete blocks under there with 2.5" of gap, then make up the difference with solid concrete or PT lumber? I can possibly put a thin bed of hydraulic cement between the slab and block for the waterproofing. That planter outside has to go...I think.

Do I need to remove the entire window or can I leave it in place while I redo this? Is there any need to structurally anchor the new blocks to the slab if it's done left and right of it? Drill some holes and epoxy in a few rebars and fill the first and last block with mortar?

I have a feeling this was a sliding glass door. Will be making a trip to the city on Monday to look at old permits to see if anything turns up.

This is what I have now after cleaning up all the rotted wood. The window is sitting on air...The outside wall layer you see, is just a thin veneer of stucco LOL.

Old 12-10-16, 10:51 AM
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Wow, don't you just love surprises!

Problem could have been the planter, but you should make sure the window is flashed properly as well; if it was leaking water into the wall it could have led to the rot as well. I'd be tempted to pull the window just to make sure it also isn't rotting and that the flashing is all good. Shame to do all the work and then find out in a year you have to replace the window.

You can certainly go with block if you want, but I don't think there was anything fundamentally wrong about framing it in with wood; it just wasn't done properly.
Old 12-10-16, 03:57 PM
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You could use rebar if you wanted, imo it is not worth the effort... but if you did, I would say 3 locations is sufficent. If you have room, I would put a piece of 1/2" foam between the planter and the new block. If you don't have room, a layer of #30 felt would keep the two from bonding. (Actually I think 2 layers of #15 is required behind stucco but whatever...) Someone may remove the planter someday, any stucco behind the planter will need to be redone at that point in time. Mortar a layer of 8x8x16, then slug the holes solid, then cap that with a 2x8x16 solid. A 8" block is really 7 5/8" and a 2" solid is really 1 5/8". If you go with 1/2" of concrete below and in between those layers, that would bring you up to 10.25". Once the concrete is cured, you can shim the window (1/4") to the block... (you probably don't want the window directly contacting the cement either), then add furring, foam between the furring, a poly vapor barrier if warranted and drywall.

This would be the time to spray that window down with a hose and see if it leaks.
Old 12-10-16, 04:37 PM
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Repair procedures are spot on. I KNOW everyone is seeing what I am seeing, and that planter is too high. It appears the dirt is sitting against the stucco, so any moisture in that planter has only one place to go, and that is through the stucco. Not the best design in the world.

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