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How I Replaced A Rotted Rim Joist And Sill Plates – Part 2 of 4


Part II of the article series outlines the decision process on whether or not to take an easy or hard route to replace my rotted rim joist and sill plates and also how I planned and implemented a temporary weigh bearing wall structure in the basement to support the 2 story house during repair.

Please note that this is more-serious-than-normal DIY project. It can potentially cause severe property damage and injury or death!

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How to Replace a Rotted Rim Joist and Sill Plates is a multi-part series article, broken into:
** Part 1
** Part 2 (you are here)
** Part 3
** Part 4


So what were my choices?

Choice #1 – Leave the concrete step as-is and build my new deck around it.  This option was most appealing since it would take minimal amount of time and money. But as I stated in previous post, this concrete step was built too close to the house in my opinion. I believe this was major factor in causing water damage. Also, if I left the concrete step in place, it would be ve difficult to pull out the rotted sections and install new lumber due to tight space. Lastly, this concrete “bump” would force me to either build a strange looking deck step over it, or raise the entire deck section; or

Choice #2 – Completely remove the concrete step, replace the rotted rim joist and sill plates, then install my new deck.

Although it meant taking on additional cost and time, I opted for choice #2 to ensure that I would never have this kind of water damage problems in the future.

I estimated that it would take approximately 2 weeks to gather the necessary materials, rent equipment, install wall supports then remove and install new rim joist and sill plates. Here is an overview of my project tasks:

  • Purchase required materials in advance
  • Install and raise the temporary support structure in the basement to a proper level
  • Remove concrete patio
  • Remove the rotted rim joist, then sill plates
  • Test fit two new sill plates and rim joist to determine the required height adjustment and make adjustments to lumber
  • Drill 5/8″ holes for the wedge anchors
  • Notch wedge anchor locations on the sill plates and install sill plates, then rim joist
  • Securely attach sill plates and rim joist using hot dipped, galvanized nails and screws
  • Reinstall sheathing, exterior house wrap, storm guard flashing and cedar siding
  • Remove temporary support structure


  • Four, adjustable support columns ( detail information here );
  • Four, 20 ton bottle jacks (a.k.a. hydraulic jacks);
  • Eight, 1/2 x 6 x 12 inch thick metal plates (call your local metal fabricators to see if you can borrow some scrap pieces. I found a kind hearted small business owner who took a pity on me and loaned me a bunch of 1/2″ thick steel plates.);
  • Four, 1/2 x 12 x 12 inch thick metal plates (used in between bottle jacks and lumber)
  • Four, 6x6x10 posts;
  • Three, 2x8x12 lumber;
  • Three, 2x8x10 lumber;
  • One 1 lb box, 12d 3-1/4″ bright common nails;
  • One, 1 lb box, 4″ deck screws;
  • One, 1lb box, 16d 3″ hot dipped galvanized nails;
  • One, roll of duct tape
  • Two, 5/8″ x 6″ wedge anchors *
  • Two, 2x6x10 pressure treated lumber;
  • One, 2x8x10 pressure treated lumber;
  • One roll, sill seal


Step 1 – I cleared out my basement as much as I could to accommodate the space I needed to install my temporary wall support. The ultimate space was still little too tight as I did not want to completely tear down my free weight rack.

Step 2 – I knew my 6x6x10 (as well as my 2x8x12) pieces would not fit down through my basement stairs so I had to fish them through my basement windows.

Step 3 – I stacked two, 2x8x12 pieces together so that their butted joints were overlapped with a single piece of lumber. Then I screwed in 3″ Deckmate screws to join them together. Finally, I then hammered in 12d 3 1/4″ nails at a roughly 15 degree angle (facing up) every 12 inches to provide additional rigidity (eye ball the lumber to make sure the “crown” is pointing up).

Step 4 – I took the joined pieces from above then added a third layer, installing screws/nails using the method outlined in step 3

Step 5 – I positioned two Gorilla ladders (250 lb rating) on the opposite sides so that I can roughly position the beam into place. I then raised one side on to the ladder, then raised the opposite side (back killer alert!)

Step 6 – I carefully moved the ladders to position the beam roughly 2 feet away from the concrete basement wall. Less than 2 feet would have limited my ability to get work done in between the wall and support columns. Conversely, I was concerned that I would put undue stress on the first floor joists if I were to go, say 3 feet away from the wall.

Step 7 – With the beam “standing up”, I carefully added cribbing blocks while alternating sides to get the beam directly underneath the floor joists. To stabilize the beam, I quickly installed some hurricane straps, screwing into the beam and floor joists

Step 8 – I then measured the distance from the wall to the beam and marked the basement floor to position my two-wide, 6×6 lumber. To maximize the safety parameter, I wanted my support columns to be as close as possible to the wall (for maximum weight support). Based on my past experience, I set this distance to be 24 inches or 2 ft.

Step 9 – I roughly marked on the beam where I would be installing the lally columns, making sure the span (distance between 2 lally columns) did not exceed 6 feet

Step 10– Using my trusty duct tape, I “attached” my top metal plate to the beam (This metal plate weighed approximately 13 pounds. Good idea to wear a hardhat from now on!)

Step 11– I double checked the location of the floor support lumber and metal plates using a plumb bob (if you have spare time, read this article which contains fascinating facts about plumbing bob’s)

Step 12– At this point, it was just a straight forward process of assembling lally columns and installing them one at a time on top of bottle jacks. I made sure that each column was tightened just enough to make it stand on its own (if you raise them too quickly, you may hear some loud cracks and pops so go easy!)

Step 13– Once the columns were all standing, I double checked to make sure that they were all absolutely vertical by taking two measurements with my 4 ft level, 90 degrees apart

Step 14– In order to track the floor joist movement, I hung simple strings with weights (coins in a ziploc baggies) at the end, then marked the current height. This was done so that I could accurately track how high I was jacking up the beam using my 20 ton hydraulic bottle jacks (It was amazing how easy it was for me to lift the support beam using these small bottle jacks and hear my house “groan”!). In addition, I DID NOT want to re-establish the true level because the house had already been settled in this way for more than 30 years and my new kitchen had finished granite counter tops which I did not want to crack.

Step 15– With my weight bearing wall support structure in place, my next task is to rent some power tools from Home Depot and start the demolition process.


With my weight bearing support structure in place, my next step is to begin the demolition phase.

In Part 3 of the article series talks about removing a concrete patio with power tools to prep for rotted joist and sill plate replacements.

I hope you found this article to be useful for your DIY project and sign up for my newsletter. The signup form is found on the upper right hand corner of your screen.

Thanks and good luck!

Mark H

Tuesday 7th of June 2016

Thanks Kevin, makes sense to me. Appreciate it. Mark


Tuesday 7th of June 2016


Cool. Good luck with your project. -Kevin

Mark H

Monday 6th of June 2016

Thanks for great posts. In your Fig. 7.7, it looks like of the four jack posts only one (maybe two with the other at the end of the support beam being out of frame) is on a bottle jack, so I'm not clear how the bottle jacks were removed from the columns in the photo where they are absent.


Monday 6th of June 2016

@Mark H

When I originally planned out the project, I planned on using 4 bottle jacks and 4 columns. However, I ended up purchasing 5 columns to narrow the space between columns for better support.

On the day of the project, what I did not mention was that 1 bottle jack failed to work so in fig 7.7, you see one bottle jack at the far end, and there were 2 others supporting the nearest 2 columns.

Those 2 middle columns sitting on the metal pad and a concrete blocks never had bottle jacks underneath them. These columns had screw-tops so when the header was lifted using bottle jacks, I manually screwed them into position to make contact with the header.

Hope this makes sense.



Tuesday 21st of July 2015

Thanks for the prompt reply! Your post and reply are both very helpful.

So you tightened the jack posts before pumping the bottle jack but did not have to tighten the jack posts after pumping the bottle jack?


Monday 20th of July 2015

Could you elaborate Step 14 a little further for me? When you jacked up the bottle jacks did you have someone else to tighten the jack posts for you or were you able to do this one by one by yourself? Thanks!


Tuesday 21st of July 2015


Everything was done by myself. One thing I should make clear is that I did not use jack posts to control the height.

Another words, I made sure all jack posts started with the same length, placed bottle jacks in position, then hand tightened screws on jack posts until snug against the top metal plates (also checked to make sure they were plumb - truly vertical)

After that, I scribed the current position on papers taped to a wall, then carefully pumped up bottle jacks to control the height.

I know I said it in the post but I will say it again: it was very easy to raise the floor with these little bottle jacks. To minimize cracking walls, etc., I took my time and pumped the bottle jacks up one pump at a time, making sure to alternative between bottle jacks.

Let me know if this helps.


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