Rotten sill plate blues

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fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,547
North Eastern MA
yeah the move was super stressful and time crunched, new state, new job, new wife, also not many good houses available in in our price range and now we are dealing with the aftermath.

Happy with the land and most aspects of the house, but I now have discovered some issues that will lead to big projects if I want things to be nice (which I can't help, I'm a perfectionist). Luckily I have plenty of years to get things sorted one by one!
I've heard in this area of Southern New England when buying a house if you even mention the word "inspection" they just move on to the next potential buyer. I would not be happy buying a house that way. That sounds like a stressful combination of things you had for sure.

When I move a big problem is building back up my long term seasoned wood supply ASAP.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,502
SE North Carolina
I figured these days inspectors had more tricks up their sleave to find hidden damage with all the new scanning tools. It's ben a while since I bought a house. After owning a house for so many years I'm hoping I've learned some "red flags".
In this housing market the inspectors report is really just a repair list for the new owner. Buyers just don’t have any leverage. Have a nephew that (as the story goes) still doesn’t have a house after making 6 offers on 6 houses all above asking price. 20% above asking was about where they needed to be ready to pay to we figured out. Our house appraisal was below contract so once the seller dropped to that price it’s was an as is sale.
 
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Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
194
Western MA
We have an area on the side of our house that is going to need rot repair work. The previous owners of the house (not the ones we bought it from, but prior to them) drilled a well in 1968 and instead of just burying the water line, they poured a concrete structure around the well and connected it to the basement wall and punched a couple large holes in the foundation wall. One of the holes has the water line and wires for the well pump going through it, and the other has a small fan mounted in it to move air from the basement into the well enclosure presumably to keep it from freezing during extreme cold.
IMG_20211019_132020.jpg
IMG_20211012_133544.jpg
The thing they didn't think about was how the water falling from the roof above would splash off the flat top of the concrete onto the side of the house and keep the siding, sheathing and rim joist wet constantly.
IMG_20211019_132033.jpg

At some point soon I'm going to have to tear the siding off there and find out how extensive the rot is. I'm assuming the rim joist is gone along with the sill plate for several feet along the wall, sheathing, probably a few studs, and who knows what else. Should be fun.

After I get it all fixed, I'm thinking I'm going to have to either install gutters on the roof above or build a lean-to structure over the well enclosure that would have a roof that would be connected to the house at the level of the eave of the existing roof to take the water out past the concrete well structure to avoid the splashing problem so it doesn't just happen again over time. IMG_20211019_132147.jpg
 

Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
194
Western MA
Of course the other major issue with this well setup is that by making holes in the foundation wall into the concrete well structure, they effectively added an uninsulated concrete bunker to the building envelope, causing a massive cold air intrusion point, and a place for heat to escape.

At some point, I'm going to have to climb down into the well structure and insulate and air seal the concrete walls and cover with rigid foam board and expanding foam to try to mitigate the problem. Spray foam would probably be better, but $$$.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
It might really take a roof extension or something. Even if you get gutters rain will still hit the concrete.
 
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fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,547
North Eastern MA
Are you sure the real problem is not the soil is banked up pretty high on both sides of the concrete structure (almost touching the siding)? The damage looks like it's mostly on the left and right sides and terminates where the soil banks back down. I agree bouncing rain can be a problem but it looks like more is going on. At least you have easy access for the repair.
 

Solarguy3500

Member
Dec 3, 2020
194
Western MA
Are you sure the real problem is not the soil is banked up pretty high on both sides of the concrete structure (almost touching the siding)? The damage looks like it's mostly on the left and right sides and terminates where the soil banks back down. I agree bouncing rain can be a problem but it looks like more is going on. At least you have easy access for the repair.
Yeah, those pictures were a little deceiving. The perspective is hard to get because they are kinda close up. The soil is actually not close to the top of the foundation or the siding on either side of the concrete well structure. The ground slopes from left (high side) to right (low side) if you are standing back looking at that side of the house and the well structure. Here are some pictures with a tape measure to help illustrate:
IMG_20211020_132707.jpg
Low side ground to bottom of siding is almost 5'.
IMG_20211020_132820.jpg
High side ground to bottom of siding is a little over 2'.

I think the other thing that was deceiving about the other pictures is that there is so much moss growing on the top of the concrete well structure that it kinda looked like grass, as if the lawn was growing up to the bottom of the siding.
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,547
North Eastern MA
I think what also threw me off was there does not seem to be nearly as much damage directly over the structure.

If it were me I'd put gutters up first before you go to the trouble of installing an overhang and see if it solves the problem. We had a similar problem with roof water bouncing off a deck and gutters solved it.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
Gutters are always a good choice.
 

fire_man

Minister of Fire
Feb 6, 2009
2,547
North Eastern MA
I know some houses can get by without gutters but not mine. They solved a bunch of problems for me.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,356
Lackawaxen PA
I wonder how you would find a home inspector that would do what they should do. I knew a home inspector. He explained the connection between the real estate people and inspectors. Real estate feeds the inspectors with jobs. They minimize issues. Just can't kill the sale he said.