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Spliting of 2x6 joist

Spliting of 2x6 joist

Spliting of 2x6 joist

I have a contractor who is replacing a portion of our houses' sill plate due to dry rot of the existing joist. The floor joists are split in the center and some are not even nailed to the sill plate and they are completely missing the rim joists. Contractor stated not his problem. Can some one direct me to the the code in the California Residential Code or CBC that states wood should be free of cracking. While its obvious this is wrong, I want to throw a code at him and the city inspector. See attached picture. Thanks

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

The cracking looks more due to nailing, which can happen at the end of a joist, rather than inherent in the joist itself before placement. Also looks like the contractor was a little over-zealous with his framing hammer to me in the placement of the joist.

As for the blocking or rim joist, whether it was there in the beginning or not is irrelevant. It needs to be installed for the lateral stability of the joist at the bearing point. I would be more worried about that than the cracking.

The joists also look like they are toe-nailed and end nailed to the plate. Toenails are normal, and the end nail ineffective structurally other than the alignment of the joist.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

I agree but the contractor nailed the new floor joist to the existing rotted joist all the way down (length wise)so the cracking is continuous from end cap to end cap. My worry is that with this full length cracking any shear force will snap the joists in half. Wouldn't this reduce the total load bearing depth section of the joist since its cracking in the middle making it essentially 2x3 not 2x6. I don't think full length cracking is allowed by code but having trouble locating that section. Also, yes rim joist should have been installed and even the city inspector didn't catch this thumbsdown

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

If the cracking is full length, and along a common horizontal nail line, then, yes, the rotted joist should be re-sistered on the opposite side and the nails staggered vertically by 2 to 3 inches to avoid the splitting you see now. If the rot of the joist is extensive, extending a sizeable distance back into the floor diaphragm, then the floor diaphragm needs to be nailed off to the new joist. I am sure the contractor will love that too.

I was surprised that the rotted portion of the joist end was not removed. I usually specify that any rotted portions of any wood members has to be removed. If this structurally compromises the member, then abandon the use of the member and either sister to it (rotted portion removed) or replace it.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

Agree with M^2. If the split is full length along the nail line then the new 2x6 isn't doing any good. I am not sure there is a Code section that specifically states that. The Code can't cover every possible instance. A rim board, or something equivalent does need to be there for stability.

You can throw a Code at the contractor, but that doesn't mean he has to do the work for free.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

dcarr82775, I disagree. The contractor's scope of work on his quote stated remove rotted wood and installed new wood joists to code. I am not going to pay him extra to replace his work that is not to code. By law since he is licensed, he is required to perform diligent work to local building codes.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

Although I agree with your reasoning if it did not meet code, I am unaware of a specific code statement that talks about cracked lumber.

In fact the majority of lumber tends to crack at some point or another (not as consistently as concrete but consistent enough none the less). However if as mentioned the split is continuous along the same nail line, essentially cutting the full member in two lengthwise, then I would reject the work on a structurally deficient basis. It is the contractor's responsibility to provide a new joist that meets the structural requirements.

I would be using that argument as opposed to telling him it's a direct code violation.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

Yea but unfortunately from my understanding in California, only a fully and active licensed engineer can make a structural integrity statement like that in litigation.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

I doubt the contractor would want this to go to litigation of the small cost of a bit of lumber and a half days work. However I've been wrong many times.

Maybe someone has another idea

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

What does your written contract with the contractor state that he is supposed to do?

If he is a licensed contractor, has he posted a bond, as he should have, to lean against if the contract is not fulfilled?

Or is all of this a shake of the hand, verbal contract, with an unlicensed contractor?

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

He did not remove the rotted wood, he replaced it doubling with new wood (typically this is done). The joist is split the end, possibly from pounding in place with a framing hammer. Is the crack just at the end of the joist?

The three issues are: Is the repair structurally adequate, does it met code, and is your contract being met. Decide what issue your willing to fight over.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

Thanks guys for all your suggestions. Contractor has failed to perform, will not perform inspectors request to meet code stop work order issued. Lawyered up.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

the code (UBC)used to allow "splits" of certain lengths relative to the depth of the member, but haven't looked up that little tidbit in many years. I'll dig around today....

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist


I obviously do not know what your agreement with the contractor was. However, nothing in what you posted would in my opinion require him to add a rim board, or equivalent, free of charge. He may have a duty to tell you one is required, but unless the language in his scope of more clear than what you posted he is not mandated to do it for free. Just my opinion.

I don't do design work on unknown conditions for free either. It all comes down to what he could see beforehand, what he would reasonably be expected to notice, and what the contractual language is.

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

Consider providing repair plan to the framer to identify what you need to satisfy the code, contract and design.
If the split is the issue add a joist or reinforce the spit end.
If removal of the rotten would is the issue, direct him to remove it.
If there are code issues, design the repair and pay the man for the change order.

Lawers are the last resort...

RE: Spliting of 2x6 joist

The contractor will likely only be liable for obvious and visible rot, etc. Even if you have a contract that states "remove all rotted material(s) and replace with sound to current code and best practice", this only applies to what can be seen, with the SINGLE exception of having a take-off list that outlines remove and replace whole walls/floors/etc.

Your lawyer is going to tell you you have a case simply to charge you fees. Here is the best way to determine if you have a viable case: Ask the lawyer to take the case on a percentage of the award/value of the work performed. If they say yes, then they are telling you the truth about your "rock solid case that [they] can absolutely help you with".

Listen to the very good advice of multiple members above telling you to pay what is fair and resort to a lawyer only as an absolute last resort.

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