I've noticed water leaking in the corner of my garage for a while and was planning on building a drain alongside it to pull the water away from it. There is also a tree that has lifted the surrounding area of my garage and buried the foundation while apparently lifting up the corner. As I unburied that area of the garage I realized the issue was much worse due to the prolonged ground contact which has rotted away most of the sill plate and a good 1/2 inch of studs. The previous home owner definitely tried to hide some of this with added trimming. Here are some images that might help show the issue I'm having.

Link to pictures

Here are my short term goals

  1. Prevent the garage from catastrophically collapsing
  2. Water-proof this area to prevent further rotting & water getting things in the garage wet

Long term options

  • Are there any options to work around the tree?
  • Does it need to be removed?
  • Does the garage need to be demolished?

I'm trying to understand what measures I can take to stabilize this area.

  • Is it worthwhile to replace the rotting sill plate?
  • Do I need to sister the studs?
  • Do I need to build a temporary wall to alleviate some pressure off the corner?
  • Do I do nothing until a more permanent fix can be made?
  • When this does fail, how catastrophic of a collapse should be anticipated?

I consider myself rather resourceful and capable of tackling new challenges but quite frankly do not have any experience in framing. Looking to better understand what my options are and at what point I need to call in professional help

EDIT: the garage is unattached to the house and is sitting on a concrete slab that appears to be unaffected by the tree. the sill is anchored to the concrete with bolts

  • If a person/people are in it at the time, it could be deadly. An empty building far enough from house/neighbours usually just makes a mess to clean up.
    – crip659
    Mar 12 at 16:12
  • 2
    The tree's gotta go, or the garage does - pick one of the two to save. That is WAY too close to the building.
    – Ecnerwal
    Mar 12 at 16:16
  • What's the foundation, and how is the structure anchored down? Is there even a foundation? Is that thing just sitting on a concrete slab? Can you add a 3 ft patch to the side of the slab and move the structure 3 ft?
    – popham
    Mar 12 at 16:57
  • That doesn't look at risk of imminent collapse. The wall sheathing forces all of the studs to stay parallel and prevents the structure from racking. The wall sheathing would have to disengage from the studs before the structure could fail by some sort of wind/earthquake pushover. For the gravity loads, think of the wall sheathing as containing diagonal struts from higher elevation loaded points down to low points with sound foundation. As long as these diagonal struts are somewhat vertical, you're fine. When they start getting shallower than, say, 45 degrees, then I would start worrying.
    – popham
    Mar 12 at 17:46
  • That reassurance goes out the window, however, if one of your 50 year return interval loadings comes along tomorrow. Any blizzards or hurricanes in the forecast?
    – popham
    Mar 12 at 17:47

1 Answer 1


Cut the foundation's anchor bolts off, move the structure to the side, and roto-hammer wedge anchors at the new location for anchorage. You'll need to extend one side of the slab for the new location.

Accessing the slab's plane to cut each anchor bolt sounds difficult, but with that rotted sill, you can demolish the sill around each anchor bolt. I would go around the perimeter pre-move and replace 3-studs worth of sill plate at a time, cutting off the anchor bolts as I went. Toe nail a pressure treated sill as the replacement (with hot dip galvanized nails).

I would install a single 1/2" wedge anchor near center of each chunk of the new sill plates, unless the resulting anchor count is way less than the old one.

If the bottom of a stud has no remaining strength left after rotting, then the existing detail (with a horizontal block between studs and on top of the sill plate) is great. Just stack that blocking up tall enough to reach sound stud wood and end-nail through the face of the stud into the blocking (each block needs a few nails to the lower block to get a load path through the sill plate). But stack the blocks within reason. If one of these wood blobs is taller than, say, 6", then sister a new stud.

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