Q. How Do I Repair a Cut Joist in the Attic?

Q. Need some help. My niece recently had a home inspection done to sell her home. The inspector noticed that one floor joist which lined directly up with the plumbing stack had been cut from day one over forty years ago. She bought the house last year and is now moving. The joist was spliced with a overlapping piece and nailed on to the side of the cut joist and not with much overlap, about 18″ on each side. The inspector said it should be fixed before she can sell the house.

The cut was about 1/4 to 1/3 from the end which sits on the sill plate of the basement.

Does a new joist need to be placed along side the cut one and bolted or should a telepost be added or is there some kind of steel brace that can be added to support the cut joist. Looking for some options.
John

A. Hey John

They make steel plates for that exact purpose. (Simpson Strong Tie).

Practically speaking, since it was only one joist, and since there have not been any problems related to this in over forty years, I think it’s safe to say her house isn’t going to fall down over it.

If her municipality is requiring it to be fixed in order to sell it, a properly dimensioned steel plate is the right way to go.

Mark Nahrgang is the owner of Kingdom Inspection Network Group – St. Louis and is a professional NACHI certified building inspector in the St. Louis metro area. Mark performs home inspections as well as commercial inspections throughout St. Louis and St. Charles County.

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Q. Okay to Add More Insulation On Top of Vermiculite?

Q. Hey Mark,
I have read the postings about vermiculite and that you should not disturb it. We only have 6 inches of insulation in our attic and need more [for] our cold winter weather. How do we add more insulation to the attic without disturbing the vermiculite and causing a health hazard? Will a professional insulation company add insulation over it?
Thanks,
Victoria

Hey Victoria,
It’s hard to tell you what would be best in your situation without actually looking at the home, but I can give you some options to consider.

One option that would be a permanent solution, is to have have the vermiculite professionally removed and replaced. That’s going to be a fairly expensive proposition and one that isn’t always necessary. If the insulation is staying where it is supposed to be, isn’t sifting into the living area around lights and fixtures, and has no traffic on or around it, a lower cost solution would be to cover it up.

I would recommend that you interview the insulation companies in your area, and make sure that their installers are familiar with vermiculite and the possibility that it contains asbestos. If their installers are well trained, and properly equipped, they may be able to either lay rolled insulation, or blow additional fiber or cellulose insulation over the top of what you already have. That will of course disturb what you have to a certain degree, but a properly trained and equipped installer will minimize the disturbance as much as is reasonably possible. Remember though, with the second option, you must always be aware of the vermiculite’s presence. Anyone going into the attic should be notified of it’s existence. And any remodeling that will disturb it will need to be done professionally, as well. If you have insulation added, make sure you document what was done and keep the receipts. When you go to sell the home, put some wording in your disclosure of this nature… “In 2008 we added 8 inches of blown cellulose insulation on top of the original 6 inches of vermiculite.” This does two things… It informs the buyer that vermiculite is present, and also lets them know that you improved the home by adding insulation and by covering the vermiculite. Reduce buyer suspicions by disclosing up front and increase buyer peace of mind by advertising the improvement.

Bottom line, I would recommend that you get several estimates from some asbestos remediation companies for removal, as well as insulation companies for covering it up. This will allow you to make the best decision based on your specific circumstances.
Mark

Mark Nahrgang is the owner of Kingdom Inspection Network Group – St. Louis and is a professional NACHI certified building inspector in the St. Louis metro area. Mark performs home inspections as well as commercial inspections throughout St. Louis and St. Charles County.