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Please help. Termite damage in my house and I would like to "secure" the area!

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Forum topic by johndeereb posted 01-20-2018 04:41 AM 9317 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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johndeereb

61 posts in 1212 days


01-20-2018 04:41 AM

Long story short..
-Saw some tiny holes in drywall that used to cover main beam in basement. House was built in 1969.

-Orkin found evidence of termites. They will be taking care of the termites. They said not to replace any wood for 2 months as they need time to die out.

-We live in a one story (with attic above) typical small house. It’s 28’ by 42’ in size.

-The termites are in the main beam that goes up the middle of the house, the photos are in our basement. It’s hard to tell how bad all 3 of the attached 2”x12”’s are without poking around or pulling on it etc. It’s looks very bad but possibly there is a little strength in there somewhere. (I believe 2×12 is the size)

-The floor joists are all ok with just a tiny amount of damage on the underside of 1 or 2.

-The main beam has settled down. I can see this also when looking at the floor joists that sit on it. The first 2 or so from the wall have light between them and the main beam. So the main beam is doing nothing to help those 2. (I removed the drywall after Orkin was here)

-There is a metal post in the center of this room. The wood beams on the other side are in good condition.

-It is oak flooring above, so if they were in plywood etc. I believe the floor is still strong. There is not sagging or flexing that I detect.

-I’m not really sure of how much strength is in the floor joists that sit on top of this beam. The floor joists are still good and overlap the main beam. I can see them through the drop tile ceiling.

I would like to “secure” the area. We have small kids and I don’t want the beams to possibly fall down. I also don’t want our upstairs falling downstairs haha! Is there enough support if that beam did give out in the remaining floor joists etc? I would like to at least place a temporary support under the beam to keep it from falling. I was also thinking of placing 2×4 or 2×6 on their sides as best I can up against the ceiling. Then putting in 4- 4×4 posts and then connecting them all together for support if the beam gave out so they wouldn’t buckle. Not jacking anything up at this point but just building this underneath so if anything falls, it’s falling a quarter inch onto this support deal. This might all sound confusing not talking in person. I’m a hobby woodworker, not too advanced. I’ve built a chicken coop and playhouse but I’m not real familiar with home construction! edited to add: I do have a family member who will help replace down the road in 2 months. I would just like to make it safe without too much work since I’m really busy with my job now, and then he can do whatever he likes to jack it back up, replace etc.

View from side of fireplace where it meets the wall:

View from other side where it meets the wall:

View of where it meets metal beam in the middle of room from fireplace side:

Any help is appreciated very much!!!


13 replies so far

View Aj2's profile

Aj2

1389 posts in 1796 days


#1 posted 01-20-2018 05:47 AM

Reading your post it sound like your not going to do the Remove and Replace of the new support. So I think you should hire a professional to do the temporary support. A good carpenter will know what is important and not do anything to make his job more complicated later.
You could do some shoring your self. But you might be throwing away money that could go toward the pro. It does look nasty on that one side. :(

-- Aj

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johndeereb

61 posts in 1212 days


#2 posted 01-20-2018 05:58 AM

Thanks. I do have a family member who will help replace down the road in 2 months but they don’t live local. I would just like to make it safe without too much work since I’m really busy with my job now. I also didn’t want to bug them too much about the project if I could do this temporarily and then he can do whatever he likes to jack it back up, replace etc after 2 months.

View Gilley23's profile

Gilley23

489 posts in 380 days


#3 posted 01-20-2018 06:41 AM

I’ll start by saying that I am not a structural engineer. However, here’s what I’d do:
-Graft a pressure treated 2X12 (or whatever that size is) onto each side of that rotted support and extend it onto the non-rotted area by a few feet.
-Wedge (2) 4”X4” posts underneath of these new 2X12’s, side by side, both flat against the wall, to support these new pieces of lumber.
-Bolt everything together.
-Use the driest pressure treated that you can find

I say pressure treated because it is termite resistant (not termite.proof) and will last until you can fix this correctly.

View msinc's profile

msinc

382 posts in 501 days


#4 posted 01-20-2018 10:23 AM

I am not sure I get why anyone would want to waste money on pressure treated lumber for a temporary brace? But, I guess if it makes you feel better then okay, it’s your money. Termites are not that quick and it sounds like they have already been sprayed. As far as temporary goes you should build a 2×4 wall, just like any other 2×4 interior wall {16” centers} and stand it up next to the beam so it is tight under the floor joists. One is probably enough, but you could do two side by side or one on either side of the beam until you get the entire beam replaced. No sense putting anything “under” that beam, it appears totally compromised and is now worthless.
I have done this many times, we are not noted for termites around here, but we do have them. A 2×4 wall will take a heck of a lot of weight, do not think for a minute that it wont. The entire second {or more} stories of houses stand on 2×4 interior walls.
As far as treated lumber…when it comes to termites in your house it’s a joke and so is “termite paper”...used to be thin copper then they went to that sponge foam stuff. The fact is that you can have all the paper and treated beam you want and they will just build their little tunnel right on up past it to get to the untreated wood for dinner. They certainly cant eat concrete block, but I have seen them tunnel 5 feet or more up block pillars to get to edible wood. The key is chemical prevention underground. Termites can only be up in your wood eating away for so many hours, then they have to go back in the ground for moisture…that’s when the poison gets them.

View jonah's profile

jonah

1700 posts in 3296 days


#5 posted 01-20-2018 12:48 PM

Do not use pressure treated lumber inside the house uncovered.

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

890 posts in 160 days


#6 posted 01-20-2018 02:02 PM

JohnDeere, not knowing what part of the country you are in, but do you have to have a permit for such repairs ?
that is too scary for me to ask friends and family to help. I would enlist a company
that is licensed and insured that would be held accountable for any future issues in the workmanship.
[but I guess that if I was 40 years younger, I would roll up my sleeves and jump right on it]
without being there in person, there is no way of telling just how extensive the repairs and labor will be.
once the main repair is made, I would have no problem with trimming it out myself.
looking forward to following this project and seeing how you address this one.

[and I second the notion that P/T lumber should not be used for general construction inside a home.
it is intended for direct contact with the ground or concrete footers that are in the ground – not basic framing]
Tommy Silva would sister two regular pine “two bys” for a temporary brace.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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Knockonit

375 posts in 200 days


#7 posted 01-20-2018 02:07 PM

guessing span is 10-12 ft. as the floor joist above extend over each side of beam, a temp fix till final is :
nail a couple 2×10s together, at wall set on a single or double 2×6 tacked at wall to hold in place to set. at post area do the same, if doing beams on each side of metal post, then make temp post wide enough to get at least 2-3 inch bearing. when placing temp beam up against existing floor joists, ensure you at least are under both joists, meaning one of each side of existing beam. Just only snug the fit, this will take any live load movement from above, this can also serve as the temp support during replacement. you can toe nail the beam into a couple existing floor joists for meaure. Its been like this for a while, its not as if its gonna come down. But removal of the drywall, and anything else believe it or not has weaked the support, Amazing how a layer of drywall, plywood, or even 3/16 wood paneling can add to a shear value.
PRetty simple, take your time, i’d post some pictures, but am not a computer guy, and have no idea, but can and will communicate thru email to help you thru, there i can scan some drawings in to explain more in depth.
While is a big thing, repair is fairly simple, just a pain and a little costly

You can use PT lumber inside a home, it no longer has arsenic in it, been gone for years, if planing on doing so, use the real PT lumber, not the green crap, its only a borax coating, and eventually goes away. Use the material with the pressure treated marks on it.
But imo, its not needed, if in area of yellow pine, use it, structual to say the least, here we use doug fir for most structual. once termite treated, new fix should be ok treated lumber or not.

good luck
rj

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johndeereb

61 posts in 1212 days


#8 posted 01-20-2018 04:00 PM

Thanks for all the replies. Was looking at it some more this morning. I guess I might as well make whatever I do able to be used in the replacement project. Then the money in lumber is already done.

Looking at MSINC’S reply, I could easily screw a board onto the bottom of the floor joists. They overlap enough so this board could be under all the floor joists (from each side of the room). If I could make one “wall” on the side with the drop tile ceiling that would be ideal as the other side has the drywall type ceiling and would be nice not to rip it out or mar it all up.

If I put a 2×4 under each floor joist as a post is that enough if only making this on one side? I could buy 4×4’s but don’t want to waste money on material not needed.

Another question, one homes like this that have 3 2×12’s nailed together to make one beam; is the center beam a longer one going all the way to the middle of the house? Or do you think all 3 2×12’s are the same length as the one you can see now. (There’s no way for me to see in there). If the middle board went from the outside wall, past the metal upright post, the area could still have some support in it at least on the end closer to the metal post where the damage isn’t as bad.

View msinc's profile

msinc

382 posts in 501 days


#9 posted 01-20-2018 04:51 PM


Thanks for all the replies. Was looking at it some more this morning. I guess I might as well make whatever I do able to be used in the replacement project. Then the money in lumber is already done. Looking at MSINC S reply, I could easily screw a board onto the bottom of the floor joists. They overlap enough so this board could be under all the floor joists (from each side of the room). If I could make one “wall” on the side with the drop tile ceiling that would be ideal as the other side has the drywall type ceiling and would be nice not to rip it out or mar it all up.

If I put a 2×4 under each floor joist as a post is that enough if only making this on one side? I could buy 4×4 s but don t want to waste money on material not needed.

Another question, one homes like this that have 3 2×12 s nailed together to make one beam; is the center beam a longer one going all the way to the middle of the house? Or do you think all 3 2×12 s are the same length as the one you can see now. (There s no way for me to see in there). If the middle board went from the outside wall, past the metal upright post, the area could still have some support in it at least on the end closer to the metal post where the damage isn t as bad.

- johndeereb

I guess you could place single 2×4’s under each joist to the floor, but the times I have had to do this to change out a beam I made it like a wall, with one 2×4 on the floor and the other on top just under the joist. If you just stand them up single you will have separate studs able to move independent of each other. Now you run the risk of one or more moving, not so much just standing there to brace it, but remember, they have to stay put when you are removing and replacing that beam, if they are just standing there you could easily end up with one or more not have any tension as you move or work on that beam and they will just fall over. Not a good time to have braces dancing around, especially considering you {or someone} will be under all that.
In answer to the beam question, no, typically there is not one full length in the center and that would really serve no purpose. So called “master or main” beams aren’t used much any more, everyone uses TGI’s now and a main is not required, but in their hey day you just made sure the ends were on a post or you had the breaks offset by at least 6 foot and either used plenty of nails or even better bolts, nuts and washers. You ask if they were all the same length, more than likely yes, but they are offset and you can just cut one off and scab in another one unless there is proper support under the new break.
Some folks insist on pressure treated lumber…again, if it makes you feel better. Pressure treated lumber, doesn’t always, but certainly can and most of the time does warp way more than untreated. It was wet once and milled and heated up and soaked all the way thru again. Depending on the level of treatment it is for ground contact all the way to marine environments, it is not for structural framing. I think people get confused that pressure treating is a step up towards an LBL…..it very definitely is not.

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dhazelton

2767 posts in 2294 days


#10 posted 01-20-2018 06:27 PM

That beam probably sits in a pocket in the foundation and was sized so it had a clear span halfway across the width (or length) of the house . You can go with a smaller beam if you put more posts in, and they can just be adjustable lolly columns (they should sit on something like a 12×12 block to spread the load a bit).

You can start with a couple of joist hangers hanging from the ceiling, put up one 2 by and attach it and then start building up the beam from there staggering the joists. Then put the adjustable columns under it.

I’d check you insurance to see if this covered and if so how they want to handle it.

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

375 posts in 200 days


#11 posted 01-21-2018 01:55 AM

Could be the beam is full length, made out of multiple pieces, however if distance is reasonable may be a joint for said beam on the small support in middle, if steel column, probably had a decent side steel beam seat.
We used to build beams out of multiple members, a nailing pattern was used, allowing the nails to carry the work.
Also we used to put thin chunks of steel sandwiched between wood members (flitch beam).

Now, comes the hard part if there is a beam seat in the intermediate support, and most likely teh other end is in a beam seat in wall or on top of a seat in block wall, concrete etc.
replacing can get a little more complicated, but doable.
let us know how or what igoing on
rj

If worried if coming down, just build a temporary wall under it. double top plate, single bottom pressure fit a few studs in, toe nail, do a large door opening with header where needed and get on with final adjustment of repair.
pretty simple, if concerned about wasting a few pieces of lumber, then it might get difficult,
good luck
Rj

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117091 posts in 3575 days


#12 posted 01-21-2018 02:24 AM

My suggestion is to get someone qualified and Licenced to support and make the repair,a job like this can create much worse damage and possibly cause injury or death.
They following is how I would approach this on my home as a 30-year contractor. If I were waiting for professional help I would build those two walls on each side of the bad beam, making sure those walls have proper support under them. Having done this work before I would check for damage on the vertical post on the wall side and adjoining beam to see if it has termites had also invaded them too. The problem is that termites are that the inside of wood can be totally hollowed out but the 4 outside parts of beams and post can look totally free from obvious damage, so I would ether probe adjoining wood with an awl or even test with a long small diameter drill bit to see if there are hollow spots. If you follow what I would do, you do it at your own risk I strongly suggest you bit the bullet an have a contractor do this work.

-- https://www.artisticwoodstudio.com/videos wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Rick's profile

Rick

9596 posts in 3031 days


#13 posted 01-21-2018 05:23 PM

What a1Jim said! As a 30 year Contractor I would pay close attention! This could be VERY Dangerous Work!

Rick

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

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