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I am in the process of building a one level home in PA. After the formed concrete walls were poured and the framing began, I noticed that on one side of the house that the sill plate was flush with the edge of the foundation wall in the rear, but, by the time the sill plate got to the front it was 2 1/2" away from the edge of the foundation wall. In summary, the sill plate walks from flush with the foundation wall at the rear to 2 1/2" at the front. This happens over about a 50' run.

Any thoughts or concerns would be appreciated. Any recommendations on what sorts of questions to ask when I meet the site supervisor on Monday?

  • Have you asked the builder about it? – friedo May 2 '15 at 15:30
  • Are the anchor bolts/rods centered on the sill plate? – Paul May 2 '15 at 15:52
  • The anchor bolts are centered on the top of the foundation wall but not centered on the 2x6 sill plate. Just given my description, what questions should I have for the building supervisor? – Mike May 2 '15 at 19:32
  • It is apparent that either the framing or the foundation is not square. You'll want verification that the framing is square. The builder will probably measure out a 3-4-5 triangle that includes the wall in question. You'll also want to ask if off-center anchor will pass framing/structural inspection. If they won't, the inspector will probably just require some added expansion bolts. – Paul May 2 '15 at 21:14
  • Thank you so much for your feedback. I really appreciate it. Any other information you may have would be appreciated. – Mike May 2 '15 at 22:28
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I would be concerned. Have the general contractor figure out who is out of specification and have them fix it. (My guess is that the concrete is to blame, but I'm not there with a measuring tape.) I strongly suggest that you don't let the house be built out of square. Among other things, it'll cost a bit more at just about every step.

  • The anchor bolts are centered on the top of the foundation wall but not centered on the 2x6 sill plate. Just given my description, what questions should I have for the building supervisor? Please help – Mike May 2 '15 at 19:33
  • Given the info about the bolts, I'm guessing that the concrete is the one out of square. (And the framers are shaking their heads in disbelief.) One possibility is to have the concrete guys back to add to the foundation wall to make up that 2.5", as long as it doesn't hurt on the outside to have that extra width. – Aloysius Defenestrate May 3 '15 at 2:59
  • Er, maybe ignore that part about the extra width... I'd imagined that the the plate was hanging to the inside. If it's hanging to the outside, that's actually better, as adding concrete won't interfere with any exterior finishes. (And a bit too much concrete in the basement is pretty trivial.) – Aloysius Defenestrate May 3 '15 at 20:43
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Sometimes concrete just doesn't cooperate. I'd say up to an inch out of play is the carpenter's job to deal with. Two and a half inches! is possibly a problem for lawyers...

Had the distance been fudged to one and a quarter inches on both sides, (harrumph) maybe that'd be OK...

I'd be interested in what the permissible 'fudge factor' for sill plates overhanging the foundation is. I doubt your contractor will provide you with any contrary information, though.

Also, don't count on the building inspector either. They probably know each other (and if they do, he knows what he can get away with).

IRC code for sill plates is what I'd ask Stack Exchange for. Anyone brought in from the outside will know to ask the right questions and of whom; my only question for them would be {point finger} What The...

  • Is the foundation and carpentry square? (one of them is not)

  • Should the sill plate be enlarged to deal with the foundation's offset? What is the maximum permissible over hang and the minimum contact distance required?

  • Who's responsibility was the foundation contract? (if you hired them personally, you may be in a pickle)

  • Who's responsibility was it to commence building and who signed off on the foundation?

  • Who's going to pay to make it right?

  • Do I need to call the BBB and some city inspectors to come and take a look if you answered the previous question with, me?

  • Thanks for your feedback. I have a question. If the concrete wasn't square, could this be the framer making it square? If that is the case, can the house be put together nice and square from this point forward? – Mike May 3 '15 at 1:48
  • Also, my builder is a large, custom home builder. They build about 40 - 50 homes in the PA and MD area. This builder is responsible from start to finish. If there is a problem, what realistic options might I have? – Mike May 3 '15 at 1:51
  • @Mike One can only hope that the carpenter is doing their best to deal with an out-of-whack foundation. I'd have to assume it's the concrete, 2.5" off in the world of carpentry is completely unacceptable. Square houses are put on not-so-square foundations all the time. However, ~3" is very-not-so-square. I would need the answer to the question I proposed, to say if this is OK. Your "options" are playing nice or involving lawyers (sorry, I have no personal dealings with such mishaps). – Mazura May 3 '15 at 2:02
  • @mike I'd feel a lot better about it, if normally the sill is a 2x6, but here they saw a problem and went to a 2x8. Still I'd want to see some code; e.g., in 2x4 wall construction, that's more than half of it placed outside the supporting foundation. 2x6's, that's a third of it sitting on nothing. I'd like to see double-sill plate and 2x6 construction here as an attempt to deal with this. -Disclaimer: although I make money doing this stuff, I'm not a professional. – Mazura May 3 '15 at 2:20
  • thank you very much. I'm going out today to take some pictures. I e-mailed my builder on Friday (2nd day of framing) asking him to meet me at the house. Hoping for the best. Can we post pics on this site? – Mike May 3 '15 at 14:46
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Is it possible to bolt a steel angle to the concrete with a short leg under the overhanging plate to support it? Difficult to diagnose without seeing and of course bolting a steel might look a 'pigs ear' depending on where it is and what the options are to 'hide' the steel.

This is of course assuming that you don't want to shutter up and pour new concrete under the sill plate (fiddly but not impossible).

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