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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Salem, VA
    Posts
    17

    Default Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    I have been retained as a consultant by a homeowner who had her basement finished last year. She had concerns about the work and called me to look at it. She took a lot of pictures during construction and between the pictures and looking at the finished product, there are four issues.
    1) There is no heat upstairs or downstairs in the front right corner of the house.
    2) A steel column was removed and there is no evidence that the girder was beefed up to compensate
    3) The dryer vent and the bathroom exhaust fan are hooked into the same line so that when the dryer runs, the bathroom mirror fogs up
    4) There are serious doubts about whether the bottom plates are treated lumber. In the unfinished utility room, some of the plates are treated and some are not.

    I am going back next week to do some exploration. I am going to open up the ceiling to determine whether the girder is structurally sound without the column and what happened to the duct to stop the air flow. Know a new vent needs to be run for the dryer and/or exhaust fan. What I don't know is how to tell whether the bottom plate is treated without tearing out the bottom of all the walls which I obviously don't want to do. I was wondering whether there is any way to drill a small hole through the baseboard in several locations and having the sawdust analyzed. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,491

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Quote Originally Posted by solidrock1 View Post
    I am going to open up the ceiling to determine whether the girder is structurally sound without the column
    I'm curious how you're going to "determine" that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    1,434

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    I would assume he knows the span and needs to see what the girder is made of and its size?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    1,743

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Is there a code that requires treated bottom plates?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    1,546

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Obviously no permit ?
    Steve

    "Get three coffins ready" - A Fistful of Dollars 1964

    http://youtu.be/KZ_7br_3y54

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    7,491

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny watt View Post
    Is there a code that requires treated bottom plates?
    Yes there is.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    upstate NY
    Posts
    1,743

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Quote Originally Posted by dgbldr View Post
    Yes there is.
    I stand corrected...sort of.
    I was under the impression there were alternative prescriptions to meet that code.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    2,443

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    I've had small slivers analyzed; I assume you could do the same with sawdust. You find yourself a lab and they analyze for the presence of copper, arsenic and borates in excess of background amounts. Lots of any of these means wood is "most likely" treated.

    I went through a mold inspection company (industrial hygienist) to get it done.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Martinez, California
    Posts
    14,852

    Default Re: Probe to test for treated lumber in bottom plate

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny
    I stand corrected...sort of.
    I was under the impression there were alternative prescriptions to meet that code.
    You are right Johnny, there is no code requiring treated wood, I have never used treated wood, I use heart grade redwood, but there are other acceptable decay/termite resistant materials.

    Our code, your's may be different:

    Quote Originally Posted by 2010 CRC
    SECTION R317
    PROTECTION OF WOOD AND WOOD
    BASED PRODUCTS AGAINST DECAY

    R317.1 Location required.
    Protection of wood and wood based products from decay shall be provided in the following locations by the use of naturally durable wood or wood that is preservative-treated in accordance with AWPA Ul for the species, product, preservative and end use. Preservatives shall be listed in Section 4 of AWPA Ul.

    1. Wood joists or the bottom of a wood structural floor when closer than 18 inches (457 mm) or wood girders when closer than 12 inches (305 mm) to the exposed ground in crawl spaces or unexcavated area located within the periphery of the building foundation.

    2. All wood framing members that rest on concrete or masonry exterior foundation walls and are less than 8 inches (203 mm) from the exposed ground.

    3. Sills and sleepers on a concrete or masonry slab that is in direct contact with the ground unless separated from such slab by an impervious moisture barrier.

    4. The ends of wood girders entering exterior masonry or concrete walls having clearances of less than 1/2 inch (12.7 mm) on tops, sides and ends.

    5. Wood siding, sheathing and wall framing on the exterior of a building having a clearance of less than 6 inches (152mm) from the ground or less than 2 inches (51 mm) measured vertically from concrete steps, porch slabs, patio slabs, and similar horizontal surfaces exposed to the weather.
    Quote Originally Posted by 2010 CRC
    NATURALLY DURABLE WOOD. The heartwood of the following species with the exception that an occasional piece with comer sapwood is permitted if 90 percent or more of the width of each side on which it occurs is heartwood.

    Decay resistant. Redwood, cedar, black locust and black walnut.

    Termite resistant. Alaska yellow cedar, redwood, Eastern red cedar and Western red cedar including all sapwood of Western red cedar.
    “It is not an endlessly expanding list of rights —the “right” to an education; the “right” to health care; the “right” to food and housing. That is not freedom. That is dependency. Those are not rights. Those are the rations of slavery – hay and a barn for human cattle.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

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