large opening in basement wall covered with plywood

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  #1  
Old 05-27-18, 11:26 AM
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large opening in basement wall covered with plywood

Hi all,
I've got a 1920's balloon-framed house. The original crawlspace was half dug out and underpinned, maybe in the 1950's. At some point, an opening about 2 blocks high and 3 blocks wide was created just under the sill plate (hope that's the right word). The opening is framed with a 2x6 wood rectangle of painted wood, with a 2x4 rectangle of what looks like pressure-treated wood inside of it. (See pics). The opening was then covered with plywood (I'm guessing pressure-treated because it's held up pretty well), with some 1x6's on the outside around the edges as "trim". There are also a couple of wood scraps shoved into a gap on one side that were covered by the 1x6s.

We had a termite problem a few years ago, and the 1x6s were damaged. We treated the termites but I just got around to pulling out these trim pieces and investigating. The inside of these rectangles framing the opening looked okay from the inside, but on the outside they're badly chewed up on one side and the bottom. I'd like to pull them out but I'm a little nervous about it because the sill seems be resting directly on it (no lintel or anything) and it's a big opening. On the other hand, it's probably not providing a lot of support since the one side is in such rough shape.

Anyone have any thoughts about whether or not this is safe to pull out and replace? Or what I should replace it with?

TIA
 
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  #2  
Old 05-27-18, 11:30 AM
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Your pics didn't show - https://www.doityourself.com/forum/e...-pictures.html

Is there a header over the opening?
 
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Old 05-27-18, 11:31 AM
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Sorry about that. Pics should be there now.
 
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Old 05-27-18, 04:54 PM
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I would pull all of that wood out that is below the sill plate and fill in the hole with cement blocks or bricks. At and below grade is just asking for trouble with wood.
 
  #5  
Old 05-31-18, 04:43 AM
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Thanks, and agreed about the subterranean wood. Am I overthinking it to worry about that part of the sill being unsupported while I finish the work? And, I think I've decided to put in a self-opening vent surrounded by block. Anyone have any opinion about the self-opening vents?
 
  #6  
Old 05-31-18, 04:51 AM
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No, I would not worry about the sill. The wood underneath is/should not structural. It looks like the span of that opening is pretty long so I would feel better having masonry underneath the sill to support it.

If you are concerned about the sill you can cut out half the wood underneath and install a temporary support in the middle. Install your brick work on one side and let the mortar cure. Then remove the remaining wood and temporary support and do the other side.
 
  #7  
Old 05-31-18, 05:23 AM
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All right, thanks PilotDane
 
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