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Should I replace this bottom plate? This is load bearing wall. Want to know from all of your experienced people out there. There was a leak that has been fixed.

The other side of this wall is my garage and has water heater tank and furnace.

In image 2, you can see that the right portion of the bottom plate is rotten (you can see my phillips screwdriver marks there). The right portion (to the rotten part) of the plate isnt rotten. The left part (to the rotten part) isnt rotten either. Just needs some drying and mold treatment.

Should I replace the stud too or just dry it out and treat it? It's bottom is rotten too.Is this an anchor? Will removing this plate make it difficult (and expensive)?

Image 1: Bottom plate rotten

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  • It might become more of a job than what you expect, unless that wall is sitting cement. What is on top of that wall? If a second floor, probably should have experts come in. Some jacking/lifting will be required and replacement of all wood that water came in contact with. It is better to replace more than just minimum that is bad. The bottom of that wood is probably in worst condition than what you can see.
    – crip659
    Aug 31, 2022 at 10:08
  • thanks, yes there is a second floor on top of this. Planning to cur out a portion of the rotten paricle board floor to see whats below the bottom plate visible in the picture. Expecting another plate (and not cement concrete).
    – SNS
    Aug 31, 2022 at 12:11
  • This is sounding more of a job to leave to the professionals(ones with good insurance at least). Not a job where you can make minor mistakes and everything works out.
    – crip659
    Aug 31, 2022 at 12:32

1 Answer 1

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  • You're in a high-wind and/or earthquake zone (the heavy stud tie to the left is a clue).
  • A small screwdriver will dig into the wood.

Should I replace this bottom plate?

Should I replace the stud too

YES, absolutely

You may well need to replace more than just the red circled area. Not because other areas are damaged, but because of the "extra" building strength required by your locale.

I'm 100% in support of DIY, but you may want to at least call in an engineer and/or experienced contractor to get an idea of how much needs to be replaced and if any additional tie downs might be necessary due to the splices in the sill plate.

Additionally, since this is a 2-story, load bearing wall and it's the fire break between the garage and the rest of the house, you may want to consider paying a pro to take care of it. Again, though, at a minimum, get a professional, on-site inspection to find out what's going to be involved.

Do remember that if you choose to do this yourself, you'll probably want to build a temporary supporting wall for the second floor above. If there's a basement/crawlspace below (not a slab), you'll also want to build a temporary support directly below this temporary wall to ensure that all the loads are properly supported.

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  • Thanks for your detailed responses. Convinced that I need a pro to fix this and that's what I will do. Only one year into this new home; suspect whether this is from the previous owner. I had contacted a water damage remediation service last week. They quoted appx. 5k and said that they would treat it (open up more and dry it). Given the reduced or zero strength of this wood and replacement, I am questioning the usefullness of paying 5k for drying. Thoughts?
    – SNS
    Aug 31, 2022 at 17:53
  • Odds are really good that the wall will be opened up more for the inspection and demo/construction work. From that, you'll figure out how much more damage there is, and a contractor will either give it a day to dry (you can supply your own fans, renting them if necessary), or simply pull out anything still wet and/or damaged before replacing/repairing. Thus your $5k "remediation service" work will be accomplished by the company you hire to fix the physical damage and included in his bill. IMHO...
    – FreeMan
    Sep 1, 2022 at 11:27

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