strengthen my wood-frame house

ohchuckDecember 8, 2013

I am seeking general advice on how to strengthen my wood-frame house. More and more drywall seams and cracks are starting to show. More and more noises at night from the walls. Pretty much every square foot of floor, upstairs and down, creaks or pops when stepped on.

Follow-up to this post: http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/repair/msg0621064627972.html

I will start by removing siding and putting up OCB board (or should I use plywood?) where there is currently only rigid insulation. If I find it easier to put up plywood from inside, and cover it with drywall, is that okay? I don't imagine that I can just get away with sandwiching on top of the existing drywall, can I?

I would love to put up diagonal bracing, because I imagine that would give me the most support for the effort, but I have no clue how to do that without "building out" the wall to accommodate the new wood.

Any ideas how I can make my crapilly built house more sturdy?

This post was edited by ohchuck on Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 17:13

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klem1

I can't emagine the need to go as far as you are thinking. Let's get more facts before wading in that deep.
Is it on slab or P&B?
Custom built , tract built, pre-fab or ????
How old is the house?
Are there other like constructed houses to compare notes on?
Has additions been built on?
Are you certain the foundtion is not moving?
Are you certain water intrusion or termite damage hasn't weakened the structure?
Do doors move IN AND OUT of alignment? How many?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2013 at 5:48PM
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akamainegrower

If you really feel that the framing of your house is moving to a dangerous degree, you should consult a structural engineer or building inspector to find out why.

If there is really only insulation and no sheathing on the outside of the exterior walls, it's difficult to see how this house could have passed any sort of inspection for code compliance. Removing the siding and then sheathing with plywood would add the most strength. Wooden diagonal bracing can be let into notches in the wall studs. Metal diagonal bracing is another possibility.

First floor floors can be stengthened by adding bridging and, if needed, support posts from below. Upper story floors would involve a lot more.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2013 at 6:44AM
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Trebruchet

ohchuck:

Drywall pops and floor creaks have little to do with structural framing. It's like a fan belt is squeaking in your car and you think you need a new motor.

Before you lift a tool, you need to speak with a qualified builder or remodeler. Respectfully, you don't know what you don't know.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 4:54AM
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klem1

Respectfully, "you don't know what you don't know."

Yogi Berra if I ever heard it.

My favorite was "If you come to a fork in the road,,,,,,,take it."

    Bookmark   December 10, 2013 at 8:47PM
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ohchuck

"Is it on slab or P&B?"

There is a full (finished) basement. Poured concrete.

"Custom built , tract built, pre-fab or ????"

Tract. Built about 20 years ago. Plenty others just like this. No additions.

"Are you certain the foundtion is not moving?"

No evidence of problems with the foundation, termites, or water. I had the basement finished, and it looked good when I could see the concrete walls. Outside drainage is very good. At least a few inches of the concrete are visible all around the house on the outside, and I see no evidence of cracks or termite intrusion.

"Do doors move IN AND OUT of alignment? How many?"

No, the interior doors are okay. I have one that gets a bit tight in the summer when it's humid, and I see that the previous owner sanded it down a bit. I also have a exterior back door that has a diagonal crack or seam in the drywall on one of the top corners. But it does not get stuck.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:04AM
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ohchuck

"If you really feel that the framing of your house is moving to a dangerous degree, you should consult a structural engineer or building inspector to find out why."

Thanks for the response. I do not think there is any danger, other than I will always have chronic drywall seams and nail pops and my floors will always creak. I do not want to fix these little problems only to have them crop up again and again.

"If there is really only insulation and no sheathing on the outside of the exterior walls, it's difficult to see how this house could have passed any sort of inspection for code compliance."

There is OSB, just not everywhere. I can't really tell where it is missing until I start pulling off the vinyl siding.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:12AM
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ohchuck

"Drywall pops and floor creaks have little to do with structural framing. It's like a fan belt is squeaking in your car and you think you need a new motor."

Thank you for responding. The floors of this 20 year old house are now much more creaky than they were when I bought the house a few years ago, and the drywall seams and nail pops keep cropping up. I can only assume that the last owner patched up the walls and nailed down the floor, but movement of the frame are causing the problems to come back.

The house was shaking noticeably (on the top floor) during Super Storm Sandy. I can't help but to think that this kind of movement would cause these problems. I see no evidence of problems with the foundation.

"Respectfully, you don't know what you don't know."

Can't argue with that, though I don't have too much faith in building inspectors due to my experience with buying this house.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:22AM
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southerncanuck

Not uncommon problems for a 20 year old tract house here in southern Ontario. There were a few built without any exterior sheathing other than rigid insulation. A well hit golf ball with go strait through the vinyl, rigid insulation etc. I always wanted to try.

If the builder and I use that term loosely used finger jointed 2x3's on non load bearing walls, another cheap out here, cracks, pop's, creaks are common. Floors weren't glued and screwed or tongue in groove, maybe a few too short finishing nails on the minimum thickness subfloor. As well installed the material covered in snow or soaked from the rain.

My head spins when I see what they can and do get away with.

Like Yogi said " you can't get anymore what you didn't pay for ".

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 8:06PM
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