Rim Joist/Sill insect/water damage


Old 06-28-07, 03:42 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Rim Joist/Sill insect/water damage

My home was built in 1931. I removed the cement step to the backdoor and the Rim/Sill are damaged from water/insects. The steps rested up against the rim joist/sill plate. I have removed about 1-1/2' of siding beyond the sides of the door. In all - it looks like about 5' of damage. The damage is mostly on the lower portion of the rim joist. I replaced the backdoor about 5 years ago and the framing/threshold around door is sound.

I drilled into the rim joist (in a few spots) to get an idea as to how much damage - it looks like it ranges anywhere from 1/4" to 3/4". The rim joist is fairly thick and is old-growth lumber. The floor is not sagging.

The REAL problem - of course I want to replace the rim joist. My research has said that I should build a temporary beam and jack it up about 1/8" (or so). I would do this in order to get the old rim joist/sill plate out and new one in. I have a finished basement. The walls/ceilings have drywall and there are cabinets just on the inside.

Any ideas?

Would it be unwise to do the following: Because the damage is only about 5ft and spans just 4 joists (the joists run perpendicular to this rim joist) - could I pull it off without lifting? The basement is framed with 2x4's on the exterior walls so the joists not only sit on the sill plate but also the framed exterior basement wall. Also these floor-joists are only about 10ft long, as just as you come in the back door you then have stairs (to the basement).

Weight: This 5ft section (beneath the backdoor) is below the peak of the house which by the way is a 1 1/2 story (bungalow). The 1/2 story above is just an empty stair landing.

Thanks much!
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Old 06-29-07, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 110
I'm going to take this statement

"The basement is framed with 2x4's on the exterior walls..."

at face value even though it seems like it would be a bit unusual.

The problem with just yanking out a section of rim joist and sill plate is, will the exterior wall above be sufficiently supported not to collapse before you can slide in replacement lumber?

I see a couple of possibilities.

A. Since you are only proposing to remove a 5' long section, I would be tempted to try this:

Make a beam using, say, 2 pieces of 2x10 14-16' long. Fasten this to the exterior wall, fairly low down, centered on the door. Fasten using lag bolts through the beam, through the siding, into the wall studs.

Because the beam extends out well beyond the section you plan to remove, it should prevent any collapse while you execute the repair. You may have to arrange temporary supprot for the floor joists in the basement if it is necessary to replace a section of the sill plate also.

When done you will have to repair the holes in the siding, of course. This might be as simple as just replacing one or two courses of siding. Or I guess it would be smart to remove the siding before you install the beam, to prevent the damage in the first place.... [Wish I'd thought of that BEFORE I did this to my garage.....]

B. Another possibilty is to replace only the damaged lower half of the rim joist. to do this I would:

1) Fasten the sound upper half of the rim joist securely to each floor joist. This could be done using stout brackets on the basement side if accessible, or a couple of stout lag bolts from the outside. This is necessary so the top half of the rim joist doesn't fail/collapse when you ....

2) Make a lengthwise cut on the rim joist, so you can remove the damaged lower half.

3) Cut and install a a replacement lower hallf rim joist, securely fastening to the original upper part and to each floor joiist. Use wedges to be sure that the repair is carrying it's share of the weight above.
However if you discover the sill plate is also damaged, this approach may not help with fixing that.
Old 06-29-07, 08:46 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Great Ideas

Hey - those are great ideas! I would have never thought of the exterior-support-beam anchored to the outside walls. I think that should suffice as far as support goes.

I should clarify - "The basement is framed with 2x4's on the exterior walls..."

The 2x4 framing is not on the outside of the foundation but on the inside. I had re-finished the basement prior to removing the old-steps. I framed the entire basement. I sealed the interior of the foundation with dry-lock, framed in walls (leaving about a 1" to 2" gap between cement and framing). I am always concerned about the "dreaded" mold/mildew. I even went as far as using all pressure treated wood not only on the bottom-plate but also on all walls next-to cement regardless of distance. I even used mold/mildew resistent sheetrock on all exterior walls. I also insulated the walls.

It turned out to be a great space - well, better than the 60's-70's gameroom/romperroom that was there.

Thanks again for your suggestion - now I just need to get busy - It will be nice to be able to use the backdoor again (it's only been 3 years).
Old 06-29-07, 09:02 AM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 110
I did suspect you meant the INTERIOR walls.

If you use a beam, look out for plumbing/electrical stuff when you install the lag bolts.

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