Wood studs eaten by termites


I have found termites in the house. Not new termites but old ones the previous owner already tented and killed, but the damages were hidden.
In one room there is an interior wall with 2x6 studs. It is load bearing. It is supporting the an A-frame roof on one end, so that wall is not a normal 8' tall wall, but on the edge it is 8' tall, in the middle it is 14' tall, then back to 8' on the other end. The height of each stud is different as it progresses from 8' to 14' in lengths.
Originally the wall was covered completely with T&G wood paneling which I removed and exposed the studs, top and bottom plates. I found two of the studs were damaged by termites. It was not apparent until I put my hand on one stud and felt the top surface of it being soft and I was able to poke a hole in it and piles of termite droppings (looks like sesame seeds) came out. I started to examine each stud very closely and found that only two studs were damaged that way and the termite infestation did not transfer to the roof trusses.
I then used a metal wire brush to brush out all the soft wooded area. There are good news and bad news. Good news is that the damages are not deep. Half an inch depth the most. I would say the two 2x6 stud has at least still 1.25"x4.5" of solid wood even in the worst part of it, but it does have sort of a "swiss chees" look.
I contemplated with replacing these two studs, but it would be very challenging. There are a lot of things happening around them. There are electrical boxes nailed onto them, other horizontal wood member nailed on to them that other pipes and conduits are tied to, on one side the sheet metal air conditioning vent seem to be glued to it with those foam spray insulation, they were also notches in a few spots for copper pipes and electrical conduits, I would need to unattach many things to get them out and replaced, and they are attached up top to the sloped top plate with some strange looking galvanized brackets (looks like some sort of Simpson StrongTie bracket).
A friend who is a structural engineer looked at it and said it's still fine. He said the holes the termites made are so shallow that they actually have less damage then the 3/4" notches made to run 1/2" pipes across. Plus the 2x6 is already oversized simply to accommodate a 3" vent pipe on that wall.
But these two studs have lots of holes along the two faces. When I put sheet rock on them the screw may not bite into much.
Should I bite the bullet and unattach everything and put in two new 2x6?
or should I do something else to help with the sheet rock installation which may have challenges due to these air pockets in the studs? For example, sister sections of vertical studs where I can?
Thanks in advance,
MC
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You could nail some 1 x 2" strapping to the face of the studs with some shimming behind to get a level and solid suface for drywalling or sister some framing where you can but it may be a challenge to keep track where they are so that you can hit them with a screw when you cannot see them because of the sheet of drywall.
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If you trust your friend's advice then I'd leave the studs alone and use longer drywall screws in the damaged sections of the studs to ensure a solid attachment of the drywall to the studs.
If the studs happen to fall in the drywall's field (i.e., not the drywall's edge) and you don't want to use the longer screws for some reason then you could "sister" pieces of 2 x 6's or 2 x 4's to the damaged areas only and attach your drywall using normal-length screws to the sisters.
Finally, it's really not necessary to completely remove/replace the studs even if the studs are no longer capable of carrying their load. Assuming the damage is mostly at the bottom of the studs and below most of the stuff that's happening around them, you could get away with just removing the worst of the damage (e.g., the bottom 1 or 2 feet of the stud), cutting a piece of 2 x 6 to the appropriate length and using it to replace the portion of stud you removed. The new piece would be held in place with another piece of 2 x 6 sistered to it and the original stud.
Tom Young
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I vote for sistering. My house is nearly 200 years old and I've got a LOT of sistered framing. For your application I'd just put in a full stud right next to the "bad" one and leave it at that. Why remove and replace when it's much simpler to just add?
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h wrote:

My Florida condo is about 40 y/o, tented twice prior to our purchase. Of two units that I have seen during major remodels, they both had termite-eaten studs. Neither one showed any obvious visual sign prior to remodel that there was termite damage. Also have an exterior wall, two story, in our atrium that had more severe termite damage...bases of two studs gone. Hubby sistered those and closed it up....it is open to elements and withstands good deal of wind. At most, I'd vote for sistering the stud a little higher than the top of damage that you can detect.
The condos on either side of ours are less than 15 y/o, both have been tented. I would expect any building over 20 y/o in Florida to have had termites and they rarely fall down :o)
Even our palms are eaten up by termites...can pick away outer wood and open up tunnels. In 11 years, only one blew down. Got a bunch left.
You 'bout done with that house?
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"MiamiCuse" wrote

Since it's been looked at by one who presumably knows well, I would merely address it with a smaller sister set. If one of the 2 sides is fairly workable, sister there. You can even 'piece' a sort of sister to provide drywall basing wood which skips where the hard spots are. (example, 3ft up there is a box of some sort that is 6 inches, cut bottom 'sister' to just short of that, then another just above it and so on). You can even use galvanized banding to help hold firm (plus nails) if you can get all the way around it. This will work if all you need is something better to base the drywall against.
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MC-
I would have given the SE's response even w/o having seen it. My SE buddies are always telling me that plumbers, electricians & remodelers do WAY more damage than termites. The global strength of the studs is fine.....local fastener performance MIGHT be a problem
You've gotten good answers all around on this one.
If you're concerned about material for drywall screws or nails to grip...slap a full length 2x4 onto each side of the "damaged" 2x6 & you're done.
Quicker & cheaper to jsut do it than question wonder or worry. Using 2x4's instead of 2x6's will make the fix cheaper and easier to install......just flush them up with the 2x6's interior surface and shoot them in.
cheers Bob
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There are a few ways to reinforce a stud: scabbing, sistering, splicing, letting-in on the flat. Which technique to choose - or not - would require eyeballs on the scene. If you had pro eyeballs on the situation why didn't you ask him your question?
R
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Rico-
The SE friend on site told him to "forget about it". They was really only needed to be 2x4's, the 2x6's were geometry driven not load driven.
My buddy's comment most likely would have been .......
"Don't worry, there's plenty of capacity in those 2x6's even if they they have some termite damage".
The SE's / CE's that I know seldom suggest a repair or retrofit unless its required. They are, of course, generally conservative but the ones I know are loathe to use time or material unnecessarily.
cheers Bob
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Hey Bob. Yes, I generally find such to be similar, but the OP is trying to take great care with his place and I was curious why he didn't ask the SE, "Well, say I did want to reinforce it for peace of mind - how would I do it without messing with all of the stuff in the way?"
If you're getting free advice, you might as well get your money's worth out of them! ;)
R
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Excellent point.
cheers Bob
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Structurally it's OK so I don't need to reinforce the studs according to him.
The problem with providing a flush even surface to mount sheet rock came to me at a later time when I saw that the lower half of two studs sort of look like cottage cheese. So my question here was mostly about how to mount sheet rock on uneven members like that, use longer screws, shim the wood, sister them and use the sister studs or other methods.
MC
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If the concern is just fastening the sheetrock......sister up both sides using straight KD hem/fir studs. If you want to be cheap, rip the 2x4's or use 2x2's.
Forget about shimming ....too much work.
cheers Bob
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Typically the walls at the ends on an A frame roof are not actually load bearing. The walls on sides bear the load from the roof joists.
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