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How I Replaced A Rotted Rim Joist And Sill Plates – Part 3 of 4


Part III of the article series talks about removing a concrete patio using power tool rental from Home Depot (i.e. Hilti concrete saw and Makita demolition electric jack) to prep for replacing a rotted joist and sill plates.

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
** Part 3 (you are here)
** Part 4


It has been a long journey, from discovering the rot (fig.8.1), installing a temporary fix (fix.8.2), completing my kitchen wall rebuild (fig.8.3) and finally taking on the concrete step (fig.8.4) to replace my rotted rim joist and sill plates.


With the affected area temporarily supported by lally columns,my game plan was:

  • Double check to make sure I bought all necessary parts (read Part 2)
  • Score the concrete step with a concrete cutter
  • Using my demolition hammer, slowly chisel away the concrete to the desired height
  • Using power and hand tools, remove the rotted wood
  • Measure, cut and install new rim joist and sill plates


  • Remove planters, toys and other stuff that can get in the way
  • Setup a water hose nearby
  • Setup an extension cord (that can handle 20 amp load, not those skinny ones)
  • Have a small quantity of gasoline (preferably WITHOUT ethanol) and 2 cycle engine oil
    • Rent electric demolition hammer with several tips ( Makita HM1214C )
  • Rent gasoline powered, portable concrete cutter with extra blade ( Review of Hilti DSH700 )
  • Decide on what to do with concrete debris (I simply re-used them to grade my new deck ground; you may want to contact your local concrete recyclers to see if they would take them for free or for around $50 bucks; still cheaper than renting a dumpster
  • Have circular and reciprocating saws nearby


Step 1 – Clean and cover up the work area. That meant removing anything that can possibly trip me, like pieces of lumber, hand tools, etc. With dangerous power tools in my hand, last thing I needed was to trip over something and get hurt. I also covered up plants and toys because it would have been very time consuming to scrub off water mixed with concrete (which by the way is extremely slick);

Step 2 – Using a 3 ft level, I drew a line on the concrete facade to indicate the cutting depth;

Step 3 – I was warned not to supply too much water to the saw, as that would create too much concrete sludge.  The salesperson told me to turn on the water faucet to a trickle to supply water to the concrete saw which would be enough to cool off the blade and minimize concrete dust;

Step 4 – With the engine running at full speed, I gradually lowered the blade into the concrete and “walked” the saw along the length for the initial cut. By going slow the first time, I got a good feel for the saw, like vibration, kickbacks, cutting speed, etc.

Step 5 – I then used my Makita electric demolition hammer to chisel away the concrete.  Although Makita was not too big (compared to other electric jack hammers I rented in the past), it was still heavy and was cumbersome to move around in a concrete sludge covered deck so I took my time.

Step 6 – To minimize the vibration being transmitted into the house structure, I made sure to never to point the drill bit towards the house when chiseling concrete. I was either chieseling vertically or horizontally, away from the house. I also alternated between a bull point drill bit (great penetration power) with flat chisel (great at leveling the jagged surface).

Another concern I had was that the concrete patio was connected to the basement wall via rebar or some sort of tie-in system. This turned out to be a non-issue since the concrete broke free without any problems, away from my basement cinder block walls.


Overall, it took almost 6 hours to break apart the concrete patio my desired depth.
I was exhausted but psyched up about finally getting this stupid concrete step out of the way.

The remainder of the day was spent cleaning up the concrete sludge before they had a chance to dry and set.

In Part 4 of the article series, I discuss the removal and replacement of a rotted rim joist and sill plates with new pressure treated lumber.

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!

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