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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    I have a detached garage that must have been built on either a dirt floor or a long ago disintegrated cement floor. The cement pad in the garage is relatively new, but extends just up to the beams, not under them.

    I'm noticing a lot of wood rot on the lower edges of the beams. Some of them have even been replaced recently (before I purchased the home), but they're looking 'fuzzy' too. I'm guessing that digging the whole way around the garage and having some flooring inserted and waterproofing done would be the best way to go, but financially, it's just not going to happen in the next year or two.

    So, I'm trying to find the most cost-effective way to mitigate further wood rot. Would painting the bottoms of the beams with a waterproofing agent do any good, if I can't get under the beams where they sit on the dirt? Any suggestions for something I could try to push under the beams, or spray down there?

    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,191

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    The best thing you can do is break the earth to wood contact, without that constant moisture and the biodegrading properties of dirt, the wood will do much better just as it is.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,736

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    Try to upload photos for us to see the extend of the rot.

    You can use a host like photobucket.com, then post the link to your photos.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    following are some pics. I know some of the wood needs to be replaced but in the meantime, any suggestions on how to at least slow the process in areas where it isn't too bad would be helpful.

    Part of the issue is that the property behind the garage slopes downward towards my garage. I initially thought this was the cause of my problems, but now realized that the wood issue is on all three sides of the garage and that's when I realized that the cement stops short of the wood structure. (I'm slowly discovering all of the lovely quirks of my old house...)

    Anyway, I'm already looking into getting some drainage done asap behind the back of the garage which would help the runoff problem. I've also got a porch roof that won't make it through another winter, so I'm already up to my eyeballs this fall. At this point, I'm looking for the quickest/cheapest fix for now to hold me over for another year....if there is one. :/






  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    posted photos yesterday. still waiting for the moderator to approve the post.

    I guess it got flagged because of the images?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    Pouring a slab inside the walls simply put off the inevitable, you need a properly built garage. You can;

    1- Demo the garage and slab then start from scratch
    2- Demo the garage and pour a perimeter foundation if the slab is good
    3- Support the side walls and roof while you pour a perimeter foundation

    If you live where building permits are required, my guess all they will let you do is #1, as that is the only real choice you have anyway.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,191

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    Quote Originally Posted by HoustonRemodeler View Post
    Pouring a slab inside the walls simply put off the inevitable, you need a properly built garage. You can;

    1- Demo the garage and slab then start from scratch
    2- Demo the garage and pour a perimeter foundation if the slab is good
    3- Support the side walls and roof while you pour a perimeter foundation

    If you live where building permits are required, my guess all they will let you do is #1, as that is the only real choice you have anyway.
    In my neck of the woods, choice #3 is more likely the better way to go. Because it is an existing structure, you can do whatever you want to it to repair or improve it. If you tear it down, you're now into "new construction" and required to provide proper set backs, and can be limited by infill limitations. Remodel permits are much cheaper than new construction, and much less of a hassle to get approved. So my advice is to check with your local building department to see what your options are regarding permits and requirements for your location before you do anything.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Wood rot on garage built on dirt

    A Spruce has it nailed once again! One thing you might consider doing since this looks like a 'shell only' type garage is to jack it up to pour the foundation which will help alleviate the drainage problems and help with future rot issues.

    Whether it's worth saving is your call to make, but if the pics are typical I don't see much to save considering a shell is easy to build. Where I live many old garages were built right on top of the dirt with no footing and few of them are in good enough shape to be worth much effort in saving.

    In the meantime if you have enough dry weather you can dig down to the bottom of the wood on the outside, give it a few days to dry some, then soak it with Thompson's water seal.Keep the water and dirt away from the wood as best you can till you can fix it properly.

    Phil

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