I was recently working in a client’s basement and noticed that a termite-rotted beam had been repaired by sandwiching the rotten part between two new, treated 2x12 boards. The repairmen then ran bolts through the beam every 16 inches, but they didn’t put posts on the ends, which seemed kind of odd.
I continued to work on the task at hand, and the next time I went upstairs, I noticed that the floor was sloping noticeably on the ends. This was definitely a structural problem that could get worse over time. It would be a very easy job to install the posts, so I alerted my client to the issue, and we had it fixed up by the next day. It took less than an hour to do.
As I was working on it, I also noticed that almost all of the bolts were so loose that I could unthread them by hand! Theoretically this would have made the sandwiched beam much less strong. So I went through and tightened all 30 or so of the bolts. I don’t think this was the fault of the repairmen; I think the treated wood had just dried and shrunk over time.
But! The repairmen should have at least supported the new wood at either end to keep the floor from sagging. They probably thought it was enough that the old, rotten beam was running into the wall, but the sag in the floor showed that it needed more support. Really, it might have been better to replace the beam entirely and run the new wood all the way into the foundation.
This goes to show that when you’re hiring someone to do structural repairs like this, experience counts.
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