Replacing rotten stud in wall

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slbnoob
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Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

In the recent Houston rains, water was overflowing from a gutter. This water made its way down the external planks near a window. Some water made its way into the wall. Apparently, over a long enough time, the water entering the wall damaged the studs. This manifested as more rotting wood, leading to some mold on the drywall which I could see above the baseboard as shown in these images.
On cutting out the drywall, revealed the extent of the rot in the studs as shown in this images.

I had someone come over to take a look. He is charging $3000 for replacing all the rotten studs till their attachment to the frame. This also includes taking out the window sill, external wall planks, replacing the drywall, baseboard, paint, texture, etc. Does this sounds reasonable?

The cheapest fix would have been simply covering it up and postponing the problem till it manifested to me or to the next owner. The next cheaper option would have been to cut out the rotten portion of the studs and jamming in replacements (obviously not much structural support). None of these are the right thing to do. My next question is if the proposed treatment of replacing the entire studs the right thing to do?

The source of the water intrusion will be handled separately by adding another downspout directly where the water overflows.
curmudgeon
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by curmudgeon »

One question is whether the studs are truly rotten (have gone mushy), or just water-soaked. Curing the source of the water is of course first priority. If the studs still seem to have good strength, I'd be inclined to just let them dry out and then treat them with a preservative. Even with pictures, it can be hard to truly know the degree of the issue. If the studs have lost strength at the bottom, I still might be OK with just cutting out sections and replacing/sistering. Most of what those studs are doing is giving extra support to the window frame (compression load), which would seem amenable to sectional replacement, but I'm not an expert on this.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by cheese_breath »

I'm not a carpenter or a building inspector, but IMHO the only correct thing to do is replace all the damaged studs. Again, not a carpenter but $3K doesn't seem out of line to me considering all that needs to be done to do it right. But I suggest you get a couple more bids just to be sure.
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Selu Gadu
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Selu Gadu »

Doesn't look like it is worth repairing. Leave it open until it dries out then gently probe with an ice pick. Areas that are really damaged will allow the pick to penetrate all the way thru. Sound lumber will allow the pick to penetrate 1/8 - 1/4 inch depending on species, whether the probe is on a growth ring or a knot, etc. You will quickly be able to detect damage with a little practice - not rocket science. Looks to me like the sill is green treat and if that is the case it will probably not need to be replaced even if the studs are damaged.

I live out in the county and there is no building code so I would just sister whatever studs are actually damaged and close up the wall, but that's just me. YMMV.

BTW, fix the source of the water first unless you want to do the whole job over after the next rain.

If you live in town $3K sounds about right for what you are describing to be done and if you having to duke it out with a building inspector they will probably require that level of work which is part of the reason I live in the county.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Epsilon Delta »

IMHO there is nothing unusual or improper with splicing in a replacement of just the bad part. Proper use of mending plates and cross bracing will make the repair stronger than the original.
buhlaxtus
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by buhlaxtus »

I once had a similar problem, but less severe, that cost $2000 to repair. Make sure you get the sill plate, subfloor, and rim joist repaired as well if they need it.
wolingfeng
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by wolingfeng »

Stud doesn't look like its rotted, just need some cleaning. But you should remove all those mold because it can be a serious health hazard. For a large area of mold yu have to replace all the dry wall, clean the mold on wood and fix the leaking issue.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

Selu Gadu wrote:Doesn't look like it is worth repairing. Leave it open until it dries out then gently probe with an ice pick. Areas that are really damaged will allow the pick to penetrate all the way thru. Sound lumber will allow the pick to penetrate 1/8 - 1/4 inch depending on species, whether the probe is on a growth ring or a knot, etc. You will quickly be able to detect damage with a little practice - not rocket science. Looks to me like the sill is green treat and if that is the case it will probably not need to be replaced even if the studs are damaged.
I live out in the county and there is no building code so I would just sister whatever studs are actually damaged and close up the wall, but that's just me. YMMV.
BTW, fix the source of the water first unless you want to do the whole job over after the next rain.
If you live in town $3K sounds about right for what you are describing to be done and if you having to duke it out with a building inspector they will probably require that level of work which is part of the reason I live in the county.
wolingfeng wrote:Stud doesn't look like its rotted, just need some cleaning. But you should remove all those mold because it can be a serious health hazard. For a large area of mold yu have to replace all the dry wall, clean the mold on wood and fix the leaking issue.
curmudgeon wrote:One question is whether the studs are truly rotten (have gone mushy), or just water-soaked. Curing the source of the water is of course first priority. If the studs still seem to have good strength, I'd be inclined to just let them dry out and then treat them with a preservative. Even with pictures, it can be hard to truly know the degree of the issue. If the studs have lost strength at the bottom, I still might be OK with just cutting out sections and replacing/sistering. Most of what those studs are doing is giving extra support to the window frame (compression load), which would seem amenable to sectional replacement, but I'm not an expert on this.
Perhaps the images are not clear but the studs are definitely rotting at the back even though the front looks mostly moldy. They are moist and crumble when touched. All those wood pieces in the images are from the studs. That damage extends at least 1.5' vertically. Due to the water settling, even the 'bottom plate' (sorry for wrong terminology, referring to the horizontal piece of wood in the images) is crumbling in a little spot. In this situation, the right thing to do seems to be replacing those.
The studs also seem to have lost strength at the bottom as they move slightly even with a little push of the palm.
Last edited by slbnoob on Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

Epsilon Delta wrote:IMHO there is nothing unusual or improper with splicing in a replacement of just the bad part. Proper use of mending plates and cross bracing will make the repair stronger than the original.
Good to know this. I was doubtful if this was done. Thanks!
buhlaxtus wrote:I once had a similar problem, but less severe, that cost $2000 to repair. Make sure you get the sill plate, subfloor, and rim joist repaired as well if they need it.
I guess I will go as more drywall is taken out to discover some more hidden surprise. For now, the plan is to replace the vertical 'studs'. The horizontal 'bottom plate' is rotting in the region where the studs met it. So the plan is to cut out a portion of the rotting 'sill plate' and replace it. I guess this should use mending plates. Sorry if I am using the wrong terminology.
Rodc
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Rodc »

How much do you save by doing a half ***ed job?

Don't know where you live but offhand the price does not seem out of line.

I expect sister ing the studs would be structurally fine. But I'd be concerned about residual mold.

I expect once you have wall open and have to fix the underlying problems and the 're drywall the extra cost of doing the job right is small.

I would do the job right and be done with it.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

Rodc wrote:How much do you save by doing a half ***ed job?

Don't know where you live but offhand the price does not seem out of line.

I expect sister ing the studs would be structurally fine. But I'd be concerned about residual mold.

I expect once you have wall open and have to fix the underlying problems and the 're drywall the extra cost of doing the job right is small.

I would do the job right and be done with it.
It's not even about saving money but doing what is right, for myself or the next owner. That's why I am gauging opinions as to what I am doing is the right thing to do. Just to clarify, I am going with replacing the studs and bottom plate.
jharkin
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by jharkin »

Looking at the photo its not clear there is any rot - just mildew and mold..

Let it dry out for a month and then poke it with a pick. If it feels solid you are fine. Clean out all the debris, do a bleach wash to kill the mold then replace all insulation and drywall.

To be safe, buy an inexpensive moisture meter and don't close the wall until those studs read under 12% moisture.


No need to overcomplicate this.....
Rodc
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Rodc »

slbnoob wrote:
Rodc wrote:How much do you save by doing a half ***ed job?

Don't know where you live but offhand the price does not seem out of line.

I expect sister ing the studs would be structurally fine. But I'd be concerned about residual mold.

I expect once you have wall open and have to fix the underlying problems and the 're drywall the extra cost of doing the job right is small.

I would do the job right and be done with it.
It's not even about saving money but doing what is right, for myself or the next owner. That's why I am gauging opinions as to what I am doing is the right thing to do. Just to clarify, I am going with replacing the studs and bottom plate.
Thanks for the clarification.
We live a world with knowledge of the future markets has less than one significant figure. And people will still and always demand answers to three significant digits.
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cheese_breath
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by cheese_breath »

slbnoob wrote:
Rodc wrote:How much do you save by doing a half ***ed job?

Don't know where you live but offhand the price does not seem out of line.

I expect sister ing the studs would be structurally fine. But I'd be concerned about residual mold.

I expect once you have wall open and have to fix the underlying problems and the 're drywall the extra cost of doing the job right is small.

I would do the job right and be done with it.
It's not even about saving money but doing what is right, for myself or the next owner. That's why I am gauging opinions as to what I am doing is the right thing to do. Just to clarify, I am going with replacing the studs and bottom plate.
Good choice. It will cost more than the quick patch, but you'll sleep better knowing nothing else is festering behind the wall. And your conscience will be clear knowing you're not passing a potential problem on to someone else if you ever decide to sell.
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Abe
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Abe »

curmudgeon wrote:One question is whether the studs are truly rotten (have gone mushy), or just water-soaked. Curing the source of the water is of course first priority. If the studs still seem to have good strength, I'd be inclined to just let them dry out and then treat them with a preservative. Even with pictures, it can be hard to truly know the degree of the issue. If the studs have lost strength at the bottom, I still might be OK with just cutting out sections and replacing/sistering. Most of what those studs are doing is giving extra support to the window frame (compression load), which would seem amenable to sectional replacement, but I'm not an expert on this.
I agree with this. From the pics, it looks like the studs are wet, but are they rotten? If not, I would just do what curmudgeon suggested above. Even if you had to replace some studs, I don't see where you would need to get into a $3k job. Just my opinion.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

jharkin wrote:Looking at the photo its not clear there is any rot - just mildew and mold..
Let it dry out for a month and then poke it with a pick. If it feels solid you are fine. Clean out all the debris, do a bleach wash to kill the mold then replace all insulation and drywall.
To be safe, buy an inexpensive moisture meter and don't close the wall until those studs read under 12% moisture.
No need to overcomplicate this.....
Abe wrote:I agree with this. From the pics, it looks like the studs are wet, but are they rotten? If not, I would just do what curmudgeon suggested above. Even if you had to replace some studs, I don't see where you would need to get into a $3k job. Just my opinion.
Actually, the studs are rotting at the back. I clarified this in a post above after my OP.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by rgarling »

Contractors have a way of expanding the work to fit the size of your wallet. In my world your problem could be patched in about 2 hours of carpentry and be stronger than original.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by jharkin »

slbnoob wrote:
jharkin wrote:Looking at the photo its not clear there is any rot - just mildew and mold..
Let it dry out for a month and then poke it with a pick. If it feels solid you are fine. Clean out all the debris, do a bleach wash to kill the mold then replace all insulation and drywall.
To be safe, buy an inexpensive moisture meter and don't close the wall until those studs read under 12% moisture.
No need to overcomplicate this.....
Abe wrote:I agree with this. From the pics, it looks like the studs are wet, but are they rotten? If not, I would just do what curmudgeon suggested above. Even if you had to replace some studs, I don't see where you would need to get into a $3k job. Just my opinion.
Actually, the studs are rotting at the back. I clarified this in a post above after my OP.
Even so, all you need to do is cut out the actual rotten part and sister the bottom of the stud with a short piece. As has been mentioned this is standard practice in carpentry and totally safe to do.


The "rip it all out and start from scratch" approach is the Mike Holmes influence. Totally unnecessary and wasteful when you don't have a 7 figure TV show budget paying for the work.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by queso »

jharkin wrote:
slbnoob wrote:
jharkin wrote:Looking at the photo its not clear there is any rot - just mildew and mold..
Let it dry out for a month and then poke it with a pick. If it feels solid you are fine. Clean out all the debris, do a bleach wash to kill the mold then replace all insulation and drywall.
To be safe, buy an inexpensive moisture meter and don't close the wall until those studs read under 12% moisture.
No need to overcomplicate this.....
Abe wrote:I agree with this. From the pics, it looks like the studs are wet, but are they rotten? If not, I would just do what curmudgeon suggested above. Even if you had to replace some studs, I don't see where you would need to get into a $3k job. Just my opinion.
Actually, the studs are rotting at the back. I clarified this in a post above after my OP.
Even so, all you need to do is cut out the actual rotten part and sister the bottom of the stud with a short piece. As has been mentioned this is standard practice in carpentry and totally safe to do.


The "rip it all out and start from scratch" approach is the Mike Holmes influence. Totally unnecessary and wasteful when you don't have a 7 figure TV show budget paying for the work.
+1. Also, given the quality of the contracting work I have seen in the last few years I'd much rather have a sistered job that I did myself than a rip and replace by any of the local contractors that I know. I haven't dealt with the mold before, but I have sistered floor joists and roof rafters in 2 homes and never had a problem.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by tacster »

rgarling wrote:Contractors have a way of expanding the work to fit the size of your wallet. In my world your problem could be patched in about 2 hours of carpentry and be stronger than original.
Yep. I recently did a similar repair job on my own house. Cost a couple hundred dollars in materials and some of my time.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by ddurrett896 »

slbnoob wrote: I had someone come over to take a look. He is charging $3000 for replacing all the rotten studs till their attachment to the frame. This also includes taking out the window sill, external wall planks, replacing the drywall, baseboard, paint, texture, etc. Does this sounds reasonable?
Just so you know, the material you listed above is less than $100. I understand he's gotta make money, but $3,000 - $100 = $2,900 / no more than an 8 hour day of work = $362.50/hour!

Id be more concerned with that bottom plate as it's a little harder to replace. If it's ok, sister up another stud or two, fix the leak and be done with it.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by earlyout »

The $3000 is reasonable considering that it will take parts of at least 3 days to do the work. The bid included fixing the drywall and repainting.

Do you know for certain that the rotten studs and sill plate did not have termite damage before they got soaked with water? Rotten wood like you describe would have had to have been wet for a long time. After it dries out you may want to have the open wall inspected by your pest control company.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

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Fix the disease not the symptoms.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

earlyout wrote:The $3000 is reasonable considering that it will take parts of at least 3 days to do the work. The bid included fixing the drywall and repainting.
Do you know for certain that the rotten studs and sill plate did not have termite damage before they got soaked with water? Rotten wood like you describe would have had to have been wet for a long time. After it dries out you may want to have the open wall inspected by your pest control company.
Yes, that's correct. Also externally, replacing the hardy planks, repainting.
We had a termite inspection done 2 years ago. Also, there don't seem to be telltale signs of pests in there. The contractor is guessing that this stud has been wet a long time and likely the previous owner knew about it, patched it up without fixing the source of the problem (As evidenced by the 'hanging' piece of wood in the picture).
4nursebee wrote:Fix the disease not the symptoms.
The source of the problem had been patched up by me using caulk and cleaning up the gutter. It will now be treated by putting another downspout from where the water overflowed. Also, caulking up the joints in the planks-window interface.
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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Epsilon Delta »

A platform framed house is built using hundreds (possibly thousands) of pieces of lumber, with about twice that number of joints. It's held together with glue, nails and steel brackets. Patching a stud will add a few more pieces of lumber and joints. If those additional joints can't be made adequately strong the rest of the house will be falling apart in short order.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Ninegrams »

I'd get more bids. I removed a sliding door and put a window in it's place and consider myself moderately handy( just followed a basic guide to house construction). It's just not that hard and the material cost was modest( around $100 not including the window). I used spray can texturing on the drywall and it looks fine. This job looks like peanuts by comparison. You just need a complete assessment of the damage, preferrably by someone not having an incentive to jack up the costs.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by carolinaman »

Major concerns I would have are 1) making sure the mold is eliminated. It could be growing behind the sheetrock that has not been removed, and 2) the structure is sound. Is the house on a slab or a crawl? If a crawl, you need to make joists are sound.

Therefore, I would remove the sheetrock until I was confident there was no more mold. I would replace the sill plate and studs that have been damaged, making sure the replacement provides support for the window. You do not need to replace the whole side wall sill plate, just the part where there is damage to it and the studs. I am not a carpenter but have dealt with water damage in my own home several times.

$3,000 sounds high but remediation of problems like this get expensive quickly because you are dealing with several parts of your house. You need demo, sheetrock replacement/finishing/painting, floor repair and stud replacement. I would get a couple of other quotes.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by ralph124cf »

I am curious about why the sill rotted. Sills are usually treated wood, which should not rot.

Ralph
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by Epsilon Delta »

ralph124cf wrote:I am curious about why the sill rotted. Sills are usually treated wood, which should not rot.

Ralph
There is disagreement over using pressure treated sills. Better practice is to use a plastic barrier under the sill. The barrier is usually a blue closed cell foam. This forms an air seal, but also it means the sill is not touching concrete, so water can't wick upwards. So the barrier keeps the sill dry from below and the roof keeps it dry from above, dry wood does not need to be pressure treated.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by jabberwockOG »

$3000 is twice what this job should cost. Get 2 more bids at a minimum and tell them you are on a limited budget. When you do have it repaired ask that the structural work and outside work be completed and then the wall left open for at least a month to confirm that the leak is completely fixed. Do not allow them to close up the drywall without absolutely 100% confirming that the leak is completely gone and the wall is bone dry during heavy rain. You may even contract the job as two separate jobs, with drywall patch and paint to happen significantly later - that what I would do.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by criticalmass »

Get another bid to check price.

Do not, repeat do not just "clean" any wood that got wet for a while but was not replaced. Be sure it is properly encapsulated by a certified mold remediator. It's not very expensive but very necessary to prevent mold spreading and health issues.
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by jcar »

First, make sure the leak is repaired. Once your sure of that let dry 7 days then check using an ice pick for wood integrity. If OK do some mold remediation first using chlorine bleach, dry 24hours, then treat with 8 mol borax solution. Dry 24 hours and then your done. I suspect studs are OK but if needed sister in some wood.
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slbnoob
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Re: Replacing rotten stud in wall

Post by slbnoob »

ralph124cf wrote:I am curious about why the sill rotted. Sills are usually treated wood, which should not rot.
Ralph
The sill or the "bottom plate" wasn't treated wood, just the usual kind. It rotted because the stud standing on it rotted due to the cascading water. Some water also probably "pooled" around the sill at the base of the stud.
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