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.
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.
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Thanks and good luck!