Subject: Old Victorian Nightmare
Date: Thu, 18 Jun 1998
I have an Old Voictorian with water damaged 10 x 10 sill beams at load bearing crossed-beam junctions. The rot extends out about four feet from each crossed junction. The house sagged at each of these points and is effecting doorway openings on both the first and second floor. There are brick pillars extending up to the rotted beam junctions. I would like to drill diagonally from the first floor, into the core of the junction and simply fill with # 1 CPES.
Then I would come in and jack up the house at these locations and slip wood shims into the space.
Any suggestions and cost of CPES would be appreciated.
Okay, we'll deal with the CPES first. How much CPES you need will depend
on how much the wood absorbs. The 10 X 10" beams are substantial, and
your drilled holes should be staggered, approximately 5-7 inches apart.
The wood should be reasonably dry. The CPES should be injected into the
holes until the wood will accept no more. In this case, I would do 2
applications. The 2nd application will take much less of the CPES. In
such large timbers you're going to have to allow one to two weeks
between appplications for the solvent carrier to evaporate away and the
epoxy to cure. You might want to consider following the CPES with Layup
& Laminating Resin. This will add strength. You don't say how many beams
there are, but my best estimate would be about 1/2 gallon of CPES per
beam. At $139.90 per 2-gallon unit that works out to about $31.00 per
beam. Make sure that you drill access holes a little beyond the rot. You
want the CPES to reach the bad-wood/good-wood interface.
The CPES will restore the wood -- up to a certain point. It will keep it
from rotting further and crumbling away. But bear in mind that with
beams this large and structural loads so great no epoxy product is going
to be able to bring those beams back to original strength. So, jacking
up the house and shimming for alignment is probably okay to a point, but
I do believe any structural engineer would tell you that you need to
reinforce those beams substantially before walking away from the
project. I am NOT a structural engineer. Beyond the information about
stabilizing the rotten wood, consider anything I have to say as advisory
If I were in your position, I would go ahead and stabilize the wood to
end that part of the problem. I would then consult with a structural
engineer, with a view toward possibly "sistering" the bad beams with
through-bolted and/or strapped steel U beams. I know it will cost a buck
or two to get an engineer under the house, but he will give you good
advice, I'm sure.
The problem I see with just shimming is that while it may get the house
back into position, it provides no provision for any shifting of the
structure due to environmental factors or ground movement. The whole
house could sag again. Steel U beams properly installed should solve
that problem. An engineer may have a better solution.
Come back if you have addition questions or comments. You do have a
major problem here and we'll try and be as helpful as possible.
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