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pathomerepair 04-21-2008 12:24 AM

sill bad;concern re box joist
I have a house built in around 1970 with a rotted mudsill for about 8 feet in a crawl space under a one story family room, which will need about 3/4 inc jacking to replace. SOme floor joist ends are a little soft at the bottom too(shallow problem). I was told this was my only problem at inspection.

Now I am told that I should worry about the box joist too, although from the inside of the house it looks like only a tiny bit of the bottom is rotted in some places. (1/4 inch soft somplaces, and some more discolored)

The main source of water appears to be a place where the top of the foundation was buried by enthusiastic landscapers, on one edge of the corner of the house. I actually saw water coming in fast from that side once when the downspout was connected improperly to a frozen conduit and saturated the ground next to it. SO I will need a permanent fix for that, too. Temporarily I am diverting the water okay.

On the other side of the corner, however, there is a deck about 12" long which was apparently improperly built. I am told that it is bad because they poured concrete to 3-4 inches higher than the foundation of the house, and set it adjacent to what appears to be house siding (can't tell it there is flashing). On top of that, someone built a deck to the level of the family room floor. (The whole deck is just a few inches above ground, by the way - it has rim joists that are about 5" resting on the concrete). IT may be that some water has come in that way as well.

I was first told that I just needed to jack up the corner and put in new mudsill. for $800 or so, per an inspector.
However, a builder said, and a friend who is a building engineer said, that the deck is a no-no and the concrete has got to be cut back to be segregated from the house, too, or the concrete will cause the joist to rot. Also they think I really ought to get a look at the box joist hidden behind the concrete and siding in case it is already badly rotted on the outside.

NOw I am facing: stripping off 2 feet of decking, cutting the deck joists, sawing back 20" or more of concrete pad, inspecting and perhaps bracing the box joists, flashing the side fo the house next to the deck, lapping the deck joists to repair them with new pieces of joist ,and reattaching them to the house, and replacing the decking boards,
AND jacking the corner and replacing the mudsill.

Does this make sense?
Is there any way to tell if wood is rotted on the other side if you have access to one side? Aren't there ultrasounds, or something, which could help with this? WOuld it be necessary anyway to tear up the deck and cut the concrete, as prevention an correction , even if there isn't signficant rot affecting the box joist?
Is there any way to tell if the deck/house conjuncture is flashed without sawing back the concrete?? (there is a small crack from the top view, and from the side view all I can see is what seems to be siding)

HOw do I find someone willing and competent to do all of these things? How much should it cost?
The builder who first looked at it, spent a nice time advising me; said he thought the whole deck had to be discarded and that it would be easier to rebuild from scratch. He would "think about" an easier way. He hasn't called back and never gave an estimate. ( My friend the engineercame up with the idea of stripping back the concrete and then replacing the decking.)
A handyman/carpenter who claimed to have a lot of experience with jacking houses said that he would charge me $1725 just to jack up the 3/4 inch and insert new mudsill and do a small downspout fix; without any work on the deck problem and without any breakdown as far as how much money for which job. ( He was nice enough to look outside and start diagnosing the problems, though - got me on this banana peel)
ALso, if the jacking has to be done very gradually,, can I get someone to let me turn the screw or whatever the appropriate amount for them daily to reduce the cost of multiple visits for jacking?

Lots of questions! I hope to get this taken care of soon. If so, someone else pays half of the repair; if not, I pay all.

(The foundation itself seems to be fine)

Thanks.- Pat

inspectorD 04-21-2008 06:00 AM

Well to start off...get the inspector BACK. He needs to re-evaluate some information he gave you. How does he know how much this will cost? Is he also a qualified remodeler? I am both and I never give an estimate or any other ballpark cost. Without knowing what is entailed to fix it, without taking it apart, no one will give you a fixed price without an addendum of what is considered an extra charge. And this is not a job of an inspector anyway. Is he going to fix it for $800.00? Believe me they add up fast as the work gets going with all the damage which is unseen.

You need to get him back out there ...with another inspector or contractor, to keep them both honest. A contractor is looking for work, the inspector will try to save know what.

We all make mistakes, owning up to them is our responsibility, if the inspector did make a mistake with his judgment, he needs a chance to make it right.
Then get more contractors out there until you get one you feel comfortable with. So far it does not sound as though you are.
This sounds like it will be a bit expensive to you to fix. We can help with fixing issues , if you need it. But first find out what you are dealing with. Remove some siding and move some dirt to start, and take pictures!! They will help if the time comes you need more advice.
Good luck on the re-look with the inspector.

guyod 04-21-2008 06:54 AM

I dont know how thick your mud sill is but if its not too thick you can use a hallow hole saw bit to take out about an inch diameter section from the inside so you can see the outside.

pathomerepair 04-24-2008 08:29 PM

Thank you both.
I remain most concerned now about
(1)how to find someone willing to work on this, and
(2) diagnostically, whether I really need to take boards off the deck and saw the concrete pad under the deck back in order to get a look at the outside of the box joist. The inside of the box joist is visible from where the mudsill is gone and somewhat in back of the mudsill where the mudsill still exists. It would be a big big job to see the outside of the box joist since it is adjacent to concrete! It does not look too bad on the inside where I can see it, as described in my note.
In response to inspectorD (My first inspector said to get a good look after concrete that was poured in the crawl space dried; he thought there was rot and it would need expert help. He did not note the badly built deck. I paid him for a written inspection.
The second inspector, an "engineer" looked at it in the crawl space after the concrete dried and said it was a fairly small job. He did look at the outside. He did not write a report since I just wanted advice on this small issue and he would have charged more for a written report. I have a check as a receipt from his company.)

pathomerepair 04-24-2008 08:33 PM

Shoot. I made a typo. Second inspector did NOT look at the outside. He was pretty confident without looking, so missed a chance to see the deck was wrong and the corner foundation under ground.

inspectorD 04-25-2008 05:50 AM

Next ...
Well it sounds like the inspector issue is gone. They did tell you of the problems and to get some help. The $$ issue still sours me.
On to the next. You need to repair from the outside. I know this is difficult and a tough DIY fix. But others have done it and with some hard work, you can too.
You will need to fix the cause of the problem, which is most likely a flashing issue. Take some of the deck boards off next to the house to get a better look and access to the problem area. Then get some reputable contractors to give advice and prices. Ask a lot of questions no matter how silly they may seam.
Do they have insurance and registration, have they done this before, can you talk to past customers. Check them on the BBB, and state consumer protection sites.
Ask around, get referrals.

Then get back to us and tell us how it's going...we'll be here.:)

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