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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    Posts
    9

    Default Exterior wall shakes when entrance door slams

    Our one-story wood framed house was built in 1913, and has 2X4 wall studs, ceiling joists, and rafters. There is a window in the front exterior wall about a foot away from the front door on the "strike" side of the door jamb.

    When the front door is slammed, the front wall that includes the window shakes. I've tried running long screws through the door jamb on the "strike" side into the adjoining stud, but that didn't improve things.

    Now I'm wondering if I could stop the shaking by going into the attic on that end of the house and bracing the plate above the jamb with short lengths of 2X4 run from the plate to the first joist. The ceiling below the joists is gypsum board over the lath that used to hold plaster.

    Any suggestions would be welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,321

    Default Re: Exterior wall shakes when entrance door slams

    The shake is because something is moving, so the first thing to do is determining what that is. Nails loosen in wood over time. Often a sill plate will loosen where it is attached to the floor or sill beam, or the door studs will loosen at their connection to the plate. If it is the studs you might get some long screws through the jamb and studs into the plate. If it is the plate you can remove the baseboard and fix it similarly. While you're in there screw the studs similarly anyway as a preventative. You may have looseness at the window too, exacerbating the effect. If the looseness is at the top plate you might be able to access the studs from the attic and pre-drill for a steel gutter spike or 40d nail, or use long screws as mentioned earlier.

    With any luck there will be enough solid wood to stop the movement. If not reframing is the unwanted but correct answer. In cheaply built plaster houses of yore, there was sometimes just one stud used beside the doors and windows (no jacks!) and when it rots or splits you're in for a lot of work to fix this. Luckily you don't find this much except in the old mill-town houses here in the South. I'm glad I'm not working on those daily anymore but when the weather was kept out, these houses are more solid than you'd believe 60+ years after they were thrown together.

    Phil

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Bismarck, North Dakota
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Exterior wall shakes when entrance door slams

    Thanks for the helpful reply, Phil, and I'll try some of your suggestions. I think you are right that the window only has one stud on either side.

    I have a vague recollection that I may have driven screws through the floor plate (hope that's the term) next to the door after having taken the mop board off. I am sure that I drove screws up through the top jamb toward the wall's top plate.

    I wish I could remember details of what I have done for the door better. Usually a week after I do a handyman job around the house, I forget everything!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,387

    Default Re: Exterior wall shakes when entrance door slams

    Howdy, has this shaking cracked the wall drywall yet? If the wall use to be plaster - it is surprising how much strength the plaster added to the old walls and drywall does not. First quit slamming the door. What type of siding? You might need to make the wall a shear wall by removing the drywall an installing 1/2" plywood then drywall. With out opening the wall you will have a hard time figuring out what is wrong. The door may not have a header , window too.
    Any an all of my comments are just my opinion and not to be confused with facts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Exterior wall shakes when entrance door slams

    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Miller View Post
    Howdy, has this shaking cracked the wall drywall yet? If the wall use to be plaster - it is surprising how much strength the plaster added to the old walls and drywall does not. First quit slamming the door. What type of siding? You might need to make the wall a shear wall by removing the drywall an installing 1/2" plywood then drywall. With out opening the wall you will have a hard time figuring out what is wrong. The door may not have a header , window too.
    Really good point. Plaster was applied over either lathe or beadboard, which is like particle board. It's nearly 1" thick. Compared to typical 1/2" drywall, it's a huge difference in both strength... and in terms vibration, actual mass.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

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