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two of my girders in my house are not connecting to the cement foundation. they've been eaten away by my new best friends-termites. how should i go about replacing these?

i assume i should get a few car jacks and jack up the floor, slide the girder out and replace? where should i place the jacks in perspective to the girders and joists?

thanks for the help!
 

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motlot77 said:
two of my girders in my house are not connecting to the cement foundation. they've been eaten away by my new best friends-termites. how should i go about replacing these?

i assume i should get a few car jacks and jack up the floor, slide the girder out and replace? where should i place the jacks in perspective to the girders and joists?

thanks for the help!
When you write "girders" to what size lumber are you referring? Are there multiple "girders" and if so, how far apart are they? I can only guess that you're referring to a couple of floor joists. Are the "girders" right next to each other?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
PipeGuy said:
When you write "girders" to what size lumber are you referring? Are there multiple "girders" and if so, how far apart are they? I can only guess that you're referring to a couple of floor joists. Are the "girders" right next to each other?

no, i know the difference between the two. i've already sistered a couple joists and have a few more to go.

the girders are either 4x4 or 4x6. i haven't crawled all the way under to totally check them out. but the last two feet or so is completely chewed off by termites.

i was told to chop back to good wood, then scab a new section of girder to the foundation, and maybe even install a screw jack.

one more question though: where the heck do i get a screw jack? i've looked in home depot and i don't think they have them.

thanks for the input!
 

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You can shore up the joists by standing and jamming 2 x 4's under each one. Then you can remove the rotted girders. The tricky part may be sliding the new ones over the foundation wall if that's what you are setting them on. If it's a notched cavity below the mudsill, code won't allow you to set them directly on concrete. You must use a galvanized sheet metal chair to prevent moisture from leaching into the girder.

Scab ons and screw jacks will do the job except you'll scare off potential buyers should you decide to sell the place. Is this a crawl space with a soil floor? If so, you'll need to pour or set prefab footings for the jacks (poured is prefered).

Most home centers I know of carry screw jacks.
 

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Here's what I would do...

Expert Advice: Replacing Girder

Thank you for the very interesting question.

I have spoken with a top-notch architect about a very similar problem - a problem of severe (structural) rot in a girder between two columns.

He instructed me that the requirement is to replace the bad wood completely from one support to another. In my case it is from the centerpoint above each lally column. In your case, it is from the foundation to the first column.

You must replace the whole section with identically sized and rated good wood, and join the replacement to the old beam with metal plates lag-bolted in place. Simpson makes these, though I don’t think you can get them in Home Depot. You have to go to a real supply house.

You can jack the floor with a hydraulic jack. A car jack works fine.

Get a couple of 4x4's to support the joists.

Get those 4x4's up in the air against the joists on each side of the girder, and tap them in place with some sheetrock screws, to hold them so they don’t fall on your head while jacking.

Using 2x6 planks cut to a suitable length, install deadmen, one by one, jacking the floor up slowly with the hydraulic jack and tapping the deadmen into place. Go slow so you don’t crack tile in the house above. Tap their tops in with screws, so they don't drop on you. Make sure their bottoms are secure as well. Lay a 2x6 on the floor if you need to.

Once you have the floor supported and the joists lifted above the old girder, cut out the old girder centered above the column support and install the new girder section. Join it to the old girder with the metal plates. Finally, let the deadmen down one by one.

The house should be resting on the good wood now. Woohoo! Job complete.

The next thing to think about is: Why were termites eating the wood in the first place? Otherwise you'll be in the same situation in 10 years. Perhaps you want to use pressure-treated lumber for the replacement.

Sage Radachowsky
Owner, Karma Carpentry
 

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A few questions? How old is the house? If it is a hundred year old house don't worry too much about codes because you will never bring it up to any building code anyway. You just want to get it sound so it might last a couple of hundred more years. A 4x6 or a 4x4 girder in a belly crawler sounds like an old house to me.> How is your sill and rim joist? Sounds like your little friends are getting moisture off a damp foundation. Maybe your sill is redwood which has a slower decay rate and therefore might be in good shape. Here is the thing. If the sill and rim are in good shape then the wall on top is supported. If the sill and rim are in bad shape then you have another problem to fix.> Back to the girder. The girder should not be supporting anything on the outside wall and a girder does not have to rest on the foundation. (I'll probably get shot for saying that). So if it was one of my old houses and it was in a belly crawler that I did not care to spend allot of time in I would cut the rottten end off the girder and put a screw jack on maybe a concrete pad. (I'm assuming the girder is long enough to pick up the first joist). I've actually seen an engineered fix here locally where they allowed a screw post on a big heavy steel plate. The jacks can be found at the home center, try the rental yard. In my area the place where you would buy rebar, and steel doors for commercial jobs, will make posts with a 3 in. screw on top to any size you ask for. They come with attachment plates. That's my opinion on that subject.<P>
Termites. Sounds like since your termites only ate the ends of the girder that the rest of the girder did not have sufficient moisture for them to continue. If the rest of you house is as dry as your girder you don't have to worry about the little guys eating your house. Roof leaks comming down inside walls, plumbing leaks, and condensation would of course be a problem. I know in some climates the humidity can bring the moisture content of the lumber up to sufficient levels to support termites but that does not happen where I live so I won't comment on that. I know a little about this subject because 20 years ago I found termites in my 100 year old house, freaked out, moved out, tore the whole house apart and found very little termite damage. For me, where the water stopped the termites stopped. The exterminators won't tell you that but they know it also. And that's my opinion on that subject. RT

"To old to die young"
 

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motlot77 said:
i was told to chop back to good wood, then scab a new section of girder to the foundation, and maybe even install a screw jack.

one more question though: where the heck do i get a screw jack? i've looked in home depot and i don't think they have them.
I don't know where this put in a screw jack thing is coming from but I heard it before from a tiler. Any way a 4x4x8 pressure treated post is around 15 dollars from hd or lowes. If you don't want to put 'crete in a tube then use a pier block. And for any wood to concrete/block connection use a product called nervastral (sp?), moist stop, or as a last resort 30 pound tar paper or roofing comp. :Thumbs:
 

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JustaFramer said:
I don't know where this put in a screw jack thing is coming from but I heard it before from a tiler. Any way a 4x4x8 pressure treated post is around 15 dollars from hd or lowes. If you don't want to put 'crete in a tube then use a pier block. And for any wood to concrete/block connection use a product called nervastral (sp?), moist stop, or as a last resort 30 pound tar paper or roofing comp. :Thumbs:

Just a note on screw jacks. I've worked residential construction all over the country and understand your point of view. Here in Colorado we've built probably 50% of the newer homes on expansive clay soil. The clay expands when it gets wet and contracts when it gets dry. Concrete slabs and bearing pads are designed for 1 1/2 in. movement up or down. Our local codes require and the engineers insist, (generally), on steel posts with a 3 in. screw for any bearing post. The local building supply company can make a post any diameter and use any sized screw depending on the load requirements. Also they make them to any length that we ask for. We generally try to set the screw half way up so it can be adjusted in either direction. If the bearing soil stays dry there is generally not a movement problem but one good plumbing leak and the slab can start moving. Thats the way we did it for the 25 years I built in Colorado but the newest homes might require digging out 10 to 20 feet of clay and replacing it with road base. Sometimes now they are requiring the whole house built on 20 to 60 ft. deep cassions every 5 ft under the concrete foundation. I think the guys still use the telepost, (screw post), because that is what they are used to. I'm not looking to disagree with you, I'm just stating the way it is where I live.
 
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