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Rickyd123 10-06-2013 09:09 AM

Hi I'm new to your site. I'm planning on adding an exterior door to my basement. I...
I have some questions. I used to frame houses and poured footings and foundations, so I'm comfortable building. Tearing a hole in the side of my basement scares me *%$#less. My biggest fear is that once I make the hole, the top plate on the foundation and the bottom plate the floor joist are attached too won't be able to with stand the weight of the roof and bad things will happen before I can get a header in there or anything else. All I see is a giant hole in the side of my basement and the my house coming down.
My house is old. The house was built in 1908. I'm guessing the foundation was poured in the 50s or 60s.

nealtw 10-06-2013 09:40 AM

Welcome to the site: Most times it take some time for a house to fall down but. You wrote the question like the house has a floor platform with the walls built on top of that. That is the standard building today and the rim joist will carry much weight and you would just beef that up with some temp studs under the effected floor joists. If you have balloon framing, there would be different considerations. Balloon framing has studs that are full hieght from the foundation to the roof and the the floors are added later.

Rickyd123 10-06-2013 09:59 AM

I think your right about the building style, but I just assumed it was the case because that's how I built them in the past. It's a three story house. Basement, main floor, upstairs. 786 sq on main floor. About same in basement and smaller upstairs. I've never had to tear in to the houses bones. I've never heard of balloon framing I'll look it up on the internet and then see if I can tell if that's the case here. Thanks

CallMeVilla 10-06-2013 10:22 AM

A structural guy could quickly evelauate your situation for not much $$$. Since you can do the actual work yourself, all you need is the comfort of knowing what temporary support you will need before you can demo the wall. Also, you will need to install a header or lentel over the new door opening.

Since you've done framing, you will, of course, make it perfectly plumb and square. Your door will drop into that rough-in and you can celebrate!

Good luck! :D

nealtw 10-06-2013 10:25 AM

The other trick is to cut the door directly below a larger window above. Then you know the roof has already been supported and all you have to worry about is the floor.

Rickyd123 10-06-2013 10:42 AM

That window trick is really smart. As far as square and plum go, whoever built this house didn't know the meaning of the words or level. There isn't a square corner, plum wall or level floor in the house. She loves it though. Of course she doesn't have to work on it. I just keep my mouth shut and think about the next delicious dinner.

Rickyd123 10-06-2013 10:55 AM

I really like that window idea, but there is only one place that will work and has a window. That window is a standard double hung window. It's 28" wide and 53" long. It's about two thirds the size of a door. Is under that window a good place to put my basement door and keep my roof from sagging or falling on my head when I remove the concrete.
I know I sound like a weenie, but I'm pretty nervous about cutting a hole in my foundation, but I need the door.

nealtw 10-06-2013 11:17 AM

28" isn't wide enough for a door so that turns into the worst place to do it. So from under the house in a balloon frame house ussually you can reach up the wall with having the floor between the studs. The wall studs reach the sill plate and joists run beside the studs or there is a 2x? nailed to the studs and the floor joists sit on that.

Don't knock these guys to much for out of square, wet studs 30 feet long, there tape measure was little boards that unfolded to about 6 ft and they sheeted the walls after they were up. Cutting lumber by hand and lumber delievered by horse drawn trucks. Can't phone anyone for advice just build with what you know or a good guess. I'm always impressed.

Rickyd123 10-06-2013 12:14 PM

I don't think this house was balloon framed. I look at the exposed ceiling and wall in the basement and see a top plate on the foundation. It has floor joist on top of that then 1" by 12" boards on top of the floor joist. These aren't tongue and grove like might be used today. There is actually about a half inch or so gap between each board. Then there is plywood sheeting on top of that. I assume the wall studs are sitting on top of the plywood sheeting, but I can't see them.
My main need is still to find out the safest and best way to cut a hole in my foundation for a door. Under a small window is out now.

nealtw 10-06-2013 12:34 PM

Great, you have platform framing and little to worry about. If you can stay awy from the window above and build a temp wall under the effected joists. Keep in mind the rim joists will carry alot of weight and the sheeting boards on the outide will add to the structure. It would take a long time to sag and not likely cause any real damage.
They other trick which is often required when the height of the basement is questionable for a header of size to be installed. I'm not sure the proper name but I call it hidden header. That would require going in from the outside and removing say 42" of rim joist, cut the ends of the floor joists back 1 1/2" and add another peice simular to the rim joist and replace the rim joist, from the inside pry or jack up the joists just enough to slip in joist hanger and then you are good to cut away.

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