Remove exterior wall studs from stuccoed wall?

Hi:
I've got a couple of questions here but need to describe the situation a bit.
I've got some pretty severe termite and dry rot problems around a tub area. The interior of the bathroom has been completely removed and I'm looking at the studs on the exterior wall that forms the tub area. In a couple of areas the sole plate is completely gone and the studs are just hanging from the top plate.
The exterior wall is stucco and, based on what I've read on the Internet, I should also be looking at sheathing that's been nailed to the exterior studs to provide a base for the building paper, spacers and wire mesh to which the stucco is applied. But I'm not.
What I'm seeing is the building paper and wire mesh and, in some places where the building paper is gone, the "backside" of the stucco. No sheathing. I assume this is some sort of alternate method of applying stucco to an exterior wall. Is that the case?
I can slightly rock the studs that have no sole plate from side to side but no more. I assume they're being held in place by the nails/ staples/whatever that were used to attach the building paper and wire mesh to the studs.
What's the best way to remove these studs from the exterior wall without damaging the stucco? If the studs were nailed to sheathing I'd be tempted to simply pry them loose but that seems risky given the situation.
TIA.
Tom Young
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What you're looking at is an extreme example of code violating, corner cutting, shoddy construction. Maybe I'm wrong, but it might be best just to bulldoze the structure and build a decent house. Get an opinion from your local city building inspector if you aren't afraid of real bad news. Trying to salvage anything from your Pandora's box could be a ghastly money waste. Try to find some professionals to advise you before you get in too deep. Good luck.
Joe
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How can the code be violated before the code was enacted?
R
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replying to Joe, 123dcp wrote: I know this is an old thread, but speaking as the owner of a house built in a similar manner, which was almost certainly code-compliant in 1961, could I suggest that you consider whether your responses are offensive before posting?
My home, and millions of similar homes do need some repair to be up to modern standards for excluding water, insulation, etc., but they're not garbage. People pay north of a million dollars for such homes every day. And when folks buy older homes, it's generally with the knowledge that when repairs are made there will need to be some upgrades.
Tom was looking for useful advice on how to improve an existing situation in someone's home without ripping down sound stucco. Instead of offering suggestions of how to repair what's behind the stucco without tearing it down (other sources suggest that It can be done), you decided to be a smart-a$$. Congratulations on being no help to nayone.
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On 5/2/2009 12:43 PM TomYoung spake thus:

Yes, you could call it an "alternate method"; certainly not a *good* method.
I've worked on houses where the exterior sheathing was not continuous--1x boards nailed over the studs with spaces between them, like the way roofs are sometimes done. This is obviously done to save material, and is not the ideal way to do things. Is it possible that there are sheathing boards under that building paper with spaces between them?

My guess is "no way". To fix the wall you're going to have to remove the stucco, re-frame the wall, sheathe it properly, then re-stucco it.
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-------------------------- I had similar termite problems both in the garage and in the kitchen (I discovered them right after I bought the house -- inspection was a fraud!). I fixed them (myself) by first removing the sheetrock and then removing the infected potions of the studs as high as needed. I used a skillsaw (be very careful) using a cutting depth slightly less than the width of the stud to avoid nicking the blade. I ran the saw at top of the infected portion of the stud and again about a fot lower. I then used a hammer to gently dislodge that piece of the stud. Once done, the lower part can be yanked out (be gentle) from the baseboard. Next I removed the baseboard and started the reframing starting with a new baseboard. You will need to sister the full studs on both sides of the infected area, put a cross 2x4 to support what remains of the infected studs (much like you frame a door opening). Finally, you need to put short studs in the "door" opening to support the cross 2X4 (you get the idea by now).
I must say that in both jobs, I did not find it necessary to remove or damage any of the stucco.
By the way, I used treated pine for replacement, and I further treated then with some termite-fighting chemical whaich can be bought from specialty stores.
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----------------- The job was done in 2004 and as of 2009 there is no sign of stucco problems. The trick was that the new framing was done soooooo tight that it did not allow sagging (this is done by using slightly oversized studs, inserting them in the cavity at an angle, and then hammering them into vertical position). I must add that the stucco had a styrfom (sp?) backing (1-1/2" thick) and that could be a factor. Another factor could be that the walls were not load-bearing. I may also add that the studs I had to replace in the garage were supporting an 8X12 front porche beam which I needed to brace very snuggly with the new studs.
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On May 3, 10:57am, snipped-for-privacy@uark.edu wrote:

You're talking about EIFS - the insulated acrylic stucco. The OP is talking about cementitious stucco - the old time stuff that is put on in three coats and is on wire mesh. There is nothing similar about the two other than the name and the finished wall surface (almost).
R
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And regardless, I don't see how you can remove all the studs along a wall and then leave the exterior stucco of that wall attached to nothing. If I was going to attempt to salvage this without redoing stucco, I'd at least use construction adhesive to bond the new studs to the wire/stucco backside.
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On May 3, 1:28pm, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

A lot of construction adhesive. The studs most likely won't be in the same place as the old studs, they'll probably be sistered next to an existing stud, and the back of the stucco is unlikely to be smooth and straight.
To the OP: What you're attempting to do is risky. Even if you do things "perfectly" the stucco might still crack. If it's in very good condition and was reasonably thick stucco, I'd try to save it, too. I'd have to eyeball the situation to determine if the added difficulty in working around the existing stucco made saving the stucco worthwhile.
Houses in parts of the country were built with clapboards directly on the studs when most of the country was sheathing the framing. Not sure what part of the country you're in, but your stucco construction might be not uncommon for your area. Not having sheathing on the back of the stucco actually makes sense in some ways, and can actually be beneficial. Letting a wall dry out to the inside as well as the outside helped reduce decay and mold growth.
From the sound of it you're on a slab, right? If so you can deal with the rotted bottom plate easily enough. You should investigate the house construction some more to find out what is providing the racking resistance (google it). Normally the sheathing does the work, but let- in braces were in vogue for a while. If your house has neither, and you're in an 'interesting' area subjected to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes (damn, I'm depressing myself) or the like, you may want to look into upgrading.
You don't have to remove the entire stud, just the rotted part. Use a circular saw set to the correct depth as already posted, and make a nice square cut. Make some more in the piece to be removed and then use a chisel, sawzall, Fein Multimaster 636, angle grinder, and patience and remove the sections so you don't stress those mesh nails. Then use the angle grinder with a metal cutoff wheel. A diamond one is the best IMO for all around use and it makes trimming back wayward nails a breeze. Then you'll cut two pieces of treated 2x - one a full length stud, and the other to fill in where you removed the piece. The remaining part of the existing stud secures the stucco to the framing and the new pieces provide the support. Glue and screw the wood together with appropriate fasteners. As noted liberally applied construction adhesive will aid in fastening the stucco to the new framing. The building paper is in the way of the adhesive, so it'll have to be removed where the stud repair parts go.
R
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I spoke to a building inspector in my town (San Francisco Bay area) about this construction and he said that given the age of the construction (pre-1975 is all I know at this point) that the lack of sheathing may have met code at the time. The area I'm working in is an addition to the existing house (built 1941) so I'll need to truck up to the county seat and do the research to see if it was permitted. (Not that it means much after all this time.)
Given the damage to the subfloor and sole plate I'm looking at removing about a dozen studs, including a corner, to get this put back together properly. I'm thinking that I'll build a couple of supporting walls outside the structure to hold the roof up while I attempt the repair. I'm going to attempt to keep the stucco intact in all this, but I don't know if I'll be successful in that regard. I'm on a perimeter foundation and will need to replace portions of the mud sill and edge joist while I'm down there.
Wheee!
Tom Young
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Ah, so you're not on a slab. I was wondering how you were planning to replace the sill, rim joist and bottom plate from the interior - still am. Removing the bad sections of stud is simple compared to removing the other stuff. Doing that without messing up the stucco is going to be very difficult, if not impossible. How can you replace a rim joist that's covered by stucco? You can remove the rotted section in pieces, but you really don't want to install your rim joist and in 16" long pieces.
Post some pictures on one of the free hosting sites and post the link here. Let's see what you're dealing with.
R
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http://home.comcast.net/~tomyoung1/BR/Bathroom.html
Tom Young
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wrote:

I'd build an inside support structure(temorary)supported from the crawl space to the ceiling joists and cut off the bottoms of the affected studs (about 2 feet or so) and remove them carfully as described earlier ( by a previous poster), then replace the damaged sill, rim joist, and bottom plate as required. The support will not be terribly critical on a 5 - 7 foot wall - and a 3 - 4 foot repair. When that's all solid, cut "cripples" to fit the cut-out studs, and plate them on both sides with 3/4" plywood, glued and screwed. If you are a "belt and suspenders" type guy, add a few extra studs full-length between the existing studs, ripped so they are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch shallower than the existing studs so they do not interfere with the stucco. Some panel adhesive to bond the stucco (building paper removed) would not hurt and the studs can be set in from flush as well, the drywall or whatever does not need to fasten to them. I'd "block" between the original studs and the "auxilliary" studs to keet them all from bowing. Use 2X4 on the flat for the blocking - "toe-nailed" on place with deck screws. I'd use screws for EVERYTHING to avoid shock damage to the stucco.
After everything is repaired, I'd consider SEALING the whole bottom structure with a coat of latex primer and a couple coats of whatever leftover paint you have around or can pick up from the recycling depot before installing backing-board or whatever. Seal the subfloor the same way, not neglecting the cut edges around holes for drains/whatever. Use waterproof glue plywood for the sub- flooring too if possible.
Sealing with paint will prevent water damage from any moisture that may get through over the years (sure looks like the tub surround/grout/calking or whatever was in poor condition, allowing bathwater to get to the structure, doing the damage.)
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What I see in the picture looks like failed tub enclosure walls and/or leaking plumbing which caused water damage. IF you can push an awl or knife through the wood, it has to come out. If a knife blade or awl only penetrates a 1/2" or so, leave it alone, Bleach and treat everything, sister onto anything that needs a new surface to be in plane, and worry about better interior prep of the tub surround. If you know you had termites and the wood is mush, the rules change. If there was an issue with the stucco, you could attach it to framing with plaster washers on the outside with minimal repair.
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