Replacing a rotted sill

Exposing the damage.

[right] One afternoon Karen called me out on the front porch and demonstrated that she could poke her finger through the siding where the ledger and decking butted up against the house. I experienced a sinking sensation, which was confirmed when I pulled of some of the siding to reveal extensive water damage extending down behind the ledger. When originally built, the ledger was simpled nailed to the side of the house without flashing or any real attempt to permit water to drain. Since the porch was exposed to the weather and carries a full snow load in the winter, this was a problem waiting to happen.

Electric wires pass through a hole drilled in the sill.

[left] My first step was to dismantle the exisiting porch, pulling up all the decking and prying the ledger away from the wall. Needless to say this was distressing operation and Karen was pretty upset. But it had to be done in order to prevent further water damage to the structural elements of the camp.

The worst of the rot right under the door

[right] The front sill consisted of three 2x10s, butted end to end for a total run of 36 feet. However the joints were staggerd and at one point the joint fell at a location where there was no supporting pier. After much deliberation, we decided to play it safe and pull out both the rotted middle section and the clean section, all the way down to the end of the house (we haven't done this yet in the picture). That way we could cut the 2x10s to the correct length so that the joints all fell directly over a supporting pier. When this photo was taken we were just about to remove the remaining siding and cut out the rotted sill down to the end of the camp. That turned out to be a tough job. There were a lot of nails - including many gigantic spikes, and at one point the electrical wires passed directly through a hole drilled through the sill itself and needed to be carefully cut out.

Both new sills in place.

[left] The old rotted sill has been removed and the new front sill has been popped into place. Ed loaned me a bottle jack and we used it to shore up the house. The jack sat just beyond the middle of the three piers visible in the photo. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the house jacked up with the front sill removed. Ed and I were trying to make time and I didn't think pauses for picture taking would be appreciated. Subsequently Karen bought me an 8 ton bottle jack, which I plan to supplement with another. As they always say, you can't have too many bottle jacks.

The 2x4 wall plate will be replaced too.


Ready for caulk and stain.