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woody99 10-09-2008 03:39 PM

termite repair questions....
5 Attachment(s)
I have an old house in Northern California. Recently, because of deterioration of the front porch, my wife and I embarked on the project of tearing down, and rebuilding the porch. This is not the first of this type of project we have tackled, and we felt it was well within our "comfort zone":eek:

The old porch (circa 1930's) was built directly on the ground:confused: , and was not in good shape. we demo'ed the porch, and hauled the debris to the dump. After removing the old ledger board, we discovered quite a bit of very old termite damage. (pictures enclosed).

I had a local termite service come out and look it over, and he agreed that it was old damage, and that it had been treated with something (can't remember the name he used) he can't even use anymore.

The termite guy gave me the name of a contractor he used and I had this guy come buy to look at the job and see what needed to be done....

He was talking about replacing the entire 4x6 (which is actually a 4" x 6" beam) along with another that goes back under the house, from the damage under the front door. The beam that goes back is bad for about 6-8 feet, then is solid.

My question is this. Several people I have spoken with, who have expertise in construction, and home building, thought that the damage was not that sever, and since the house has been fine for many years with the damage, tht just cutting out and replacing the damage would suffice. The Termite contractor, wanted to replace both of these beams at a cost of about $10-12K. This seemed to be a bit much for me, but I'm a retired Computer consultant, so what do I know...

We have scheduled a full termit inspection, and treatement for next week, but want to get the porch back togeather befor the rains come

The first picture is just a shot of the mortise & tenon construction, which I thought was very cool...

The second picture is of the damage under the front door. This was also a mortise and tenon joint, but those little termite guys, just followed the tenon, back under the house:mad:

The third picture is a closer shot of the damage under the front door

The forth picture is of a similar tenon joint to the right of the front door. This one appears to be easy to fix as the beam on the other side is sound, and I'm going to put a joist hanger, and a pier and post under it.

The last picture is sort of a "big picture" of the area of concern

inspectorD 10-09-2008 05:26 PM

Looks like quite the job.:D
You need someone with experience as far as contractors go. It looks like that beam is probably damaged pretty far into the wood. I have seen my share of damage, but without poking around alot more, you will not know for sure. Around here we have very old homes, and usually to change a beam is not in the 10-12 K range.
An engineer will give you the best advice, you get what you pay for. But they will tell you to just replace it.:rolleyes:
DO NOT treat this untill you have everything ready and changed. Unless they will come back at no cost to you.
Also that crawlspace could use some plastic down when you are done, it will cut down on the moisture underneath the porch.

woody99 10-13-2008 09:30 AM

lets hear it for the sawzall....
After wearing out 2 Ice-picks (:D ) testing the beams, and posts, I was able to narrow down the damage. I have removed, and replaced an 18" section of the main front support beam, tied it to the existing beam with metal straps. Wood on either side was solid, and showed no termite tunnels.

I used a couple of 20 Ton House jacks,and a new 4x6 to take the load off of the beam under the house, running back from the front door. I cut the old damaged beam out a section at a time to find the 'good stuff'. the wood was solid at the first post/pier, so I cut it out, and replaced about 8 feet of beam. Had to do a lot of shimming, as the old beam was a real 4x6, and the new a 'modern' 4x6 (i.e. 3 3/4 X 5 3/4 ). I also attached it to the front beam with a 4x6 joist hanger. All looks good, and the floor doesn't squeak!! (or bounce)


Square Eye 10-13-2008 05:14 PM


Do not try this at home! lol
I'm glad this worked out for you but this type of repair can not be recommended for the average DIY. A short metal splice on a supporting beam can be a very dangerous situation. Leverages against a short splice can be excessive to say the least.
Keep an eye on it, if it fails, you could be just as bad off as if the termites had been successful.

inspectorD 10-13-2008 07:43 PM

Show me some more pictures!!
Sounds like all went well, but still have someone look at what you did.
You got away with not spending that 10k, lets make sure you keep it that way.:D

Love da pictures......

woody99 10-14-2008 10:46 AM

supporting (pun intended) info on termite repairs...
4 Attachment(s)
I may have not been clear about how I went about this. I did not "splice" the supporting beam under the house. I cut the existing beam to the first support post that was solid, and damage free. The eight feet of new beam, is supported by 2 existing pier/post supports. It is now supported on one end by a joist hanger, and on the other post by metal strap (which doesn't show here as it is still in my truck:confused: ) connecting the old/new beam together, on center of the second pier/post. Placing the new beam was simplified by the fact that it was slightly smaller than the old one, and slipped right into place. pictures included....

The first picture is a tribute to keeps Betsy and I from taking that long first step...:D (I Know....I know....there is no "U" in porch (sigh))

Second picture is of the repaired front support

Third/Fourth of the under the house repairs.

Square Eye 10-14-2008 05:25 PM

well now... That's different!
Thank You for clarifying and showing that you did support all of your work.
Looks pretty good and I'm positive it feels better on your pocket than a contract beam replacement :)

inspectorD 10-14-2008 06:01 PM

Now go to
There you will find some steel plates and brackets and how to install them correctly with the right lag bolts and 16 penny nails. Livin in CA you have siesmic no-no's that pop up everywhere.

And when the building inspector see's it, they will not call it out.

Nice job.:D

woody99 10-15-2008 03:11 PM

Thanks for the encouragement....
Thanks for the encouragement. I have a good amount of DIY genes in me, but it is always good to hear from someone who has "walked in my shoes"...

Oh ya....What's a Building inspector??? :D

I will get some of the approved ties and make sure all is solid. I have to be very careful what things I get permits for and what I don't. This old house is not even close to "code", but most of what is here is "grandfathered" forward. A good 'for instance';

Betsy and I gutted, and remodeled our front bedroom (we only have 2 real bedrooms) and turned it into a TV/Family room. I buildt a murphy bed, and it all turned out pretty nice. When the building inspector was here signing off the room, we got to talking about 'futures'. I mentioned that we were going to do the living room next, and he told me that if I opened up the wall on the outside of the house, the wall with the fire place, I would have to convert the fireplace to an EPA approved fireplace, i.e pellet stove or air tight.

I'm glad I found that out ahead of time, and did the conversion first....I wouldn't want to have him say "Oh by the way........"


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