Help-- Rim joist rotted!

We're building a new deck, and yesterday I removed the old ledger board from the old deck and to my horor, discovered that for years, water had been seeping between this board and the rim joist on the house, and the rim joist is now badly rotted. In fact, there's about a 12-18" section that is all but not there now, once I poked many holes through it with my finger...
So now I need to know how to go about replacing it, so I can continue on with the deck. I've googled for info without much luck. The little info I found via google assumes that the rim joist is perpendicular to the floor joists, and that it's right over the foundation. In my case, it's parallel to the floor joists (and on the gable end of the house), and since it's a split-entry house, there is a short (approx 5') wall between this joist and the block foundation below.
My questions are:
a) do I have to replace this joist as a complete span, or can I cut it out and replace the damaged chunk? The posts dealing with the joists right over the foundation imply you can just cut out the damaged section, but since I'm over a wall, I wasn't sure if this was more structural. For what it's worth, the wall's top plate is only a single 2x4, not a doubled header plate like you'd expect if it were load bearing.
b) What, if anything, do I need to do to brace the house temporarilly during this repair? As I have vinyl siding over "build rite", I can get to the framing reasonably easy from the outside, but both levels of the inside are finished and would be a major problem to remove anything down to the framing members. The damaged chunk isn't doing anything structurally now, but I want to make sure I don't have "the walls tumble down" if I remove a slightly bigger one...
Any advice is greatly appreciated. I"d like to (at least start to) tackle this project today, so any info I can get ASAP would be wonderful.
-Tim
P.S. By the way, I'm pretty handy with repairs and with a hammer -- just never had to tackle anything of this nature before (and hopefully won't anytime soon after this!
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Me thinks you need a pro to guide you.
I would only be guessing at a solution. I bet your going to be jacking the house up to replace the rotted timber.
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Concur with that - and suggest using treated lumber as the replacement, to avoid a recurrence five years down the road.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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the
I'm not even sure what type of a pro you'd call for such a thing. And I envision it to be very expensive, not so much because it's difficult, but because it's labor intensive.
I'd be very open to hiring someone to come out and consult me and then let me do the work, if I could find such a person. But we really don't have an extra $2-3K in the budget right now to cover this little "surprise" and have it fully done. We're building the new deck ourselves, and this would just about double the cost of it.
Can anyone answer the following questions:
a) On the gable side of a split-entry house, to what degree are the framing members load bearing? It would seem like if this was bearing major weight that it would be resting on something a little more solid than a single 2x4 top plate (for what it's worth, the 2x4 is also rotted out and needs to be replaced).
b) Is a 2x10" rim joist in this application a "spanning" member, or does it simply rest on the wall below? That is, can I cut out a chunk and replace it, or does the entire span (from side of the house to the center steel support, presumably) need replacing?
c) Again in this application, can I safely remove a 2-3' chunk of rim joist and replace it without jacking? There doen't seem to be many loads here on the gable side -- there's absolutely no noticable sagging with the 1-2' rotten chunk now... If I do need to jack, how what do I jack against? I'm partially under a patio door, but I'd envision attaching a temporary horizontal member to the framing studs of the house, and jacking between that and the ground from the exterior? (Again, I'm parallel to the floor joists, not perp to it).
d) Once again, my new deck will be supported by this member (actually, if I'd just replace the damaged chunk, it would be replaced mostly by the old, non-rotten portions of the original member, and just a 2-3' chunk of replacement). So everything will need to be engineered so the deck will be properly supported.
Rest assured I'm pretty good at knowing when I'm over my head -- but I"m looking for specific details here. Upon hearing how it's done, I'm capable of realizing if I'll need to call in the pros or not. But for now, I'm simply asking "how would the pros do it"? I do appreciate the sentiments that I should just call a pro, but now that we've got that covered twice over, I'd appreciate it if all future replies can stick to the questions at hand, and any other project specific details.
Thanks! -Tim
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You could call the city you're in and have an engineer come out to take a look.
That way, you're paying someone to tell you how to fix it, not to DO the fix.
Tim

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Tim
There are some experienced professionals on this newsgroup. But they can't work with your inadequate descriptions of your problem.
Post several pictures of the problem also showing the structural details of your house and you will get some valuable advice from the professionals.
JimL
wrote:

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Check out the July 2005 issuse of Fine Homebuilding. They show how to replace a rotten mudsill on page 62.
Rob
JimL wrote:

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A general contractor would be who I would call.
As a suggestion forget about the deck until the structure is sound. Anything else is fool hearty in my mind. But then again I can not see the area your talking about.
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So how long is this wall? The short wall has only a single 2x4 becuase your rim joist(s?) is bearing the weight. And how long is the total span? And is this a single joist? Not two 2x12's? Are your floor joists running the entire width of the house, or do you have posts in the basement?

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I'm no structural engineer, but my guess is that the rim joist is load bearing over that short wall. I'm anal, so what I would do is put in new studs under where you're going to replace the damaged section, just like you would a header over a new window. So, you're essentially turning a single load bearing joist/beam into three, with additional studs under the points where you have to cut the joist, know what I mean? I know this means removing a potentially large section of wall, but that vinyl siding is easy to remove and replace. It shouldn't take you long.
What you could do for support is pull off a couple of rows of siding above the rim joist, then lag bolt a temporary 2x12 to the studs that surround the area you'll be replacing, then jack up that 2x12 from the outside. make sense?
Also, when you put on the new deck a good idea is to shim the new ledger out a bit. Cut some treated 1/4"(or less) strips to use where you'll bolt your ledger onto the house. Inevitably, water will get behind the deck ledger, this space will allow for better drainage. Don't forget the new layer of tar paper over your new rim joist area, then good flashing over the new ledger as well.
And, of course, you shouldn't listen to any of us. You should call a pro who can see it with his/her own eyes :)
Tim
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There is a large steel member that runs down the center of the house. Based on the looks of the finished lower level, I think there is a single post supporting this steel beam, aside from the sides of the house. The wall in question is about 26' long, with the steel in the center. It's a single joist - 2x10". House was built in 1980, in case that's relavant.

That's my concern. If I knew it definitely *wasn't* then I'd feel very comfortable doing the repair.

That sounds like a decent plan, but as usual, there are complications.
I've posted 2 pictures of the situation:
http://www.fischersplace.com/images/Gallery/home/Deck/deckrot1.jpg
http://www.fischersplace.com/images/Gallery/home/Deck/deckrot2.jpg
As you can see, the rotted section is directly below the left edge of the patio door (and it's supporting jack/king studs), and also above a window below. Unless I replace the entire section under the patio door and to the right of the window below, I'd have to presumably do some pretty hefty beefing up of the window header so it could support the weight of the joist (and deck) above.

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Makes sense, except for the patio door. I'm assuming I can probably jack on both sides of it, ignoring the span of the door itself, since the structure above it is supported by a header? What size jacks would you recommend for this? Would standard screw jaks ala Home Depot work, or should I rent some beefier ones?

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That makes sense, as long as it doesn't violate any codes.

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Point taken. Like I said, I'm open to any advice on who to call for something like this -- even just to get an estimate. But aside from $$$'s being a concern, I currently have an open sore in the side of the house and it's been pretty rainy lately -- so I'd like to tackle this very quickly (aside from me wanting to resume my plans to work on the deck itself...)
Thanks bunches, hope the pics and further detail help diagnose this problem. I'm also asking lots of questions just so I don't assume (and miss) something - I hope it isn't making me look woefully ignorant.
-Tim
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Very nice pictures.
I am currently working on a similar problem on my house but mine is caused by termites. I'm replacing several studs and headers so my house don't fall down. I have a wide triple window unit that has to go as I've lost a great deal of structural integrity in the area. I'm replacing the wide (36 inch) windows with 28 inch windows and adding new treated studs between each the three windws and on the outer edges.
You need to do the same. Starting from your foundation, build a structurally sound pillar (2 2x4 treated studs nailed and glued together) going all the way to your roof, replacing the single windows with two windows, one on each side of this new pillar.
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<snipola>

Assume it's structural, plase a temporary beam just inside the wall and use some jacks (common ones will do fine) to take the load. I've never done this, but what I've read in Finehomebuilding (which covers a related topic in this months decks issue, you should give it a read) indicates that it's easy to get carried away and cause all manner of cracks in the drywall. Cut out the entire half of the joist (from edge of house to center beam) and replace it.
Strip the siding up further and make absolutely certain that the sliding door is flashed correctly . And strip down to see how far the damage to the sheathing/studs has gone in the bottom wall.
John
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Check the electric outlet and the left edge of the door frame and sill, it is noticeable that your rot is right beneath these two items, sounds like they may be leaking water behind the sheathing and onto your joist and top plate. Your deck ledger board may be innocent as I don't see damage further along. It is good insurance to eliminate all sources of water intrusion.

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I'm pretty sure the door frame is to blame, compounded with the fact that there was no proper flashing on the deck ledger, and further compounded by the fact that when the previous owner resided, they just cut around the old siding (hardboard crap) and put vinyl around it, -- they seem to have flashed the majority of it ok but just calked at the seams, and that, I believe, is what caused this. Although it could have been an older problem yet -- the siding is less than 5 years old -- can this much damage happen in 5 years?
The wood underneath the door is all crap too. Eventually I want to replace this door -- for now I'll probably just shore it up and seal it like crazy...
-Tim

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An update -- I removed more of the siding/sheathing, and along with lots of water damage from the damaged area all the way to the foundation, I found that the short wall actually **is** a double top plate, so I am now much more comfortable in thinking this is a load-bearing wall. It was so rotted out that I thought the second board was a nailer for the inside finishing surfaces, but is indeed supposed to be two 2x4 top plates.
One additional complication -- if I were to replace the joist all the way to the corner, this would require removing all siding on BOTH sides of the corner, as the corner piece (not sure what it's called) is attached under the siding, and this would have to be removed. Yuck.
My current theory is (much of this borrowed from an article in the Feb/Mar 2002 Fine Homebuilding, which I found this morning at the library):
1) bolt a temporary 2x10 above the patio door (after removing some siding) using 2 1/2" lag screws per stud. 2) Rent a couple of sufficient (10 ton?) jacks to ease the load on the members 3) Cut out the damaged joist and top plate (approx 4-6' section, depending on how much I cut out) 4) Add significant new supports between concrete foundation and new members 6) Let the jacks down and put all the siding back.
Does this sound like a reasonable solution? Is there anything special I need to do to keep the repaired joists from twisting under the loads (both from the house and from the new deck? I only have access from the outside...
-Tim

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An alternative plan, which would be much much easier if it were ok, would be to:
1) bolt a temporary 2x10 above the damaged area, to the left of the patio board. using 2 1/2" lag screws per stud. The theory would be that even though some damaged area would be removed under the door, that the header of the door would carry the weight and as long as this board were secured into the jack studs, all would be well 2) Rent a single 10 ton jack to ease the load, jacking against this board 3) Cut out the damaged joist and top plate (approx 4-6' section, depending on how much I cut out) 4) Add significant new supports between concrete foundation and new members 5) Let the jack down and put all the siding back.
(not sure why I skipped step 5 in my last post)
-Tim

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wrote:

Why? Don't you own the inside? Even if you don't, you should be able to get permission to get access and remove some drywall and have free access to both sides for a very short period of time.
A litle drywall and paint and it looks better than new.
.
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It's not drywall -- it's tongue and groove knotty cedar -- extremely hard to remove without damaging (I've tried in the past), and it would be almost impossible to match the rest of the room if I replaced it.
I'm actually about halfway through the plan I outlined earlier -- supported the above structure with jacks (there seems to be very little dead weight on the section anyway), and cut out the bad stuff. I've shored up the short wall and replaced the sections of the top plate, with several new studs to make sure it's all rock solid. Now I"m inside for a few minutes cooling off before I do the joist itself.
Wish me luck!
-Tim
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