Termite damage to sill plate

Hello,
I am considering the purchase of a three family house in Worcester, MA. Today, the home inspection revealed significant termite damage to a portion of the sill plate on one side of the house. The owner has had an ongoing termite prevention program and there appears to be no live infestations - just the damage. My question is this - how do you repair something like this? The home inspector says that you would need to jack the house up (yikes!) and then replace the bad one with new pressure treated wood. The owner seems to think that it will be much easier and that it could be repaired by simply cutting the bad part out and replacing it with new (obviously, the owner has a biased view). The damaged part is probably about 10 feet long. The house is 100+ years old and otherwise in good shape. So, any suggestions?
Thanks in advance.
Ron in MA
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Zefross Moss wrote:

No live infestations? You tore open the whole wall and probed the structural wood? Probed all the sill plates? Yikes! What is the nature of the "ongoing termite prevention program" (which obviously has not worked)?
What kind of termites were found? Subterranean? Dry wood? Mud tubes evident? Signs of swarms around doors/windows? Hollow sounding spots near doors/windows/foundation? Wrinkled appearing surface on any drywall, esp. near doors/windows?
Termies (my pet name for termites) do not like daylight, so they stay in their chambers in the wood or inside their cozy mud tubes that get them from the ground to the wood. They do not crawl around on the surface of the wood. When they leave mom and dad, and go out on their own, they do so by swarming - double dating. They swarm to a new abode, find a little crevice to creep inside, shed their wings (often on a window or door sill), eat into some cellulose, and start making babies. They eat more cellulose and make more babies, digging deeper into what holds up the house unless you and they are lucky, in which case they will just eat the piano. Subterraneans can dig from here to the next condo without any trouble, and squeeze through that teeny tiny gap between the slab and the bathtub drain.
I would not buy it unless I had lots and lots of money and really couldn't live without it :o)
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wrote:

I'd have to see the damaged area. If you can sister the boards, replace the damaged ones, or possibly fill the area with concrete.
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I had a similar situation in the house I bought. I'm personally really not worried about it since the exterior I had retreated as well as the interior wood.
The question is, is it structurally sound or not with the damage? Mine happened to be ok, but you should find out about that in your case. If it's ok it's probably not a big deal but you should make sure you make sure there is no active termite activity. I also got a credit to fix the problem to the tune of 1,500 at closing.
S.
wrote:

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have the owner replace sill correctly before you buy

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It will cost you a couple of hundred bucks to get an engineer out there to look at it. Siding needs to be removed to check for extent of damage. Home Inspectors are usually picked by real estate agents and only have one eye open half the time.

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I replaced 2 sills that had damage, would have cost 5-6000. Jack up house ? do you have a concrete floor that will crack ? Walls will crack. I lowered the brick below the sill, suspending house on many jacks and used many jacks to force up the new sill , then put in wood , forcing in shims and left the custom jacks. Quick and easy , no. You must approve the repair or your house will settle and crack walls. Get out a few pros.
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    I had a house with lots of bad termite damage, including the sill plate.     The termites probably have gotten to some places you haven't seen yet, like the studs above the sill plate, maybe under carpeting,. There can be plenty of damage without making the house unsound. On the other hand a little damage in the wrong place can be bad news. Bang the walls above the bad sill to see if it feels like the plaster is loose from the studs. Lots of older houses have had some termite damage and it's usually no big deal.     If they've been professionally treated, and as you live in a temperate climate you should have no more trouble with live infestations. The main way a termite inspector checks for new infestations is to break all the old mud tunnels that you'll see running along the bad wood. The termites build the tunnels to get around wood they don't want to eat.     If the bad sill is on the side of the house where the floor joists sit on it, use some floor jacks to raise them up a bit, pull off the bottom couple of layers of siding and sheathing and cut the bad parts out. It can be replaced in several pieces, which may be easier. If it's the other side do about the same thing but support the first two or three joists and cut and replace just a few feet at a time.     This can be a job a do it yourselfer can do on the cheap. Get a couple of estimates from contractors to knock down the price of the house. as their prices won't be cheap.
             Good luck
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<Heavy snipping>

Possible but not always the case. I have seen heavy sill damage and none above more than once.
> There can be plenty of damage without making the house unsound. On the

Absolutely correct advice.

Almost any home over 50 years old has some.
New wood is slighly thinner than old wood. The term "jacking up" means you need to raise the joists just enough to slip the new wood into place. This is rarely more than 1/8" unless there has been some settling due to the damage. The repairs can be done from the exterior as this poster suggested or from the basement or crawl space. The jacking always takes place in the basement or crawl.
If you like this home, get some estimates for the repairs and discuss the cost with the seller. You can most likely DYI for about 25%, including materials, of the cost of the average of the estimates.
Colbyt
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You do have to be carefull about the extent of the damage. I'd have the owner request an inspection and certification from his termite folks.
I live in a 170 year old house in Charleston ( SC ). We've discovered termites a number of times including two times in the sills. The house is three stories and we did some local jacking; cut out the infested areas of sill and studs; spliced in new treated material; put the siding back on.
TB
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Thanks so much for all the information!
It appears that I still have some investigation to do before I make a decision to buy or not. I have contacted the owner with my findings (we're not using any real estate agents) and he was very accommodating. At this point, I am leaning towards him repairing the damage and making the sale contingent on a passing inspection (paid for and hired by me).
Another question - besides a regular home inspector, who would I hire to inspect the work he gets done? Would this be the building inspector from the town?
Again, thanks for all who responded!
Ron in MA
On 19 Aug 2004 18:37:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (Tom Baker) wrote:

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