As I’ve said before, the blessing and the curse of gutting a building is that you find all the flaws. Ever since I gutted the walls in the back bedroom I’ve felt suspicious about the closet. The closets upstairs were just tacked on additions with no ulterior motives. But this closet downstairs .. it was framed out with 4x4s and on a pedestal. I decided to leave it until after the ceiling was out.
I’m glad I did. When the dust settled from falling plaster and the last hazel nut rattled to a stop on the floor, this is what we saw:
From my reading on timber frame construction, I know that notching a horizontal member greatly diminishes it’s strength. How does that translate to stick construction? Well, the book Code Check 5th Edition says that the middle 1/3rd of floor joists may not be notched at all and the outer thirds may only be notched to 1/6th the depth of the joist and only on the top. Yeah .. um .. how many of the rules do these notches break?
It appears that their solution to this damage was to create a ‘load bearing closet’. Then they framed in some cross members with joist hangers to pass some of the floor load above onto this closet. I believe at least one of those pipes is an active water line, so we’ll have to have a second bathroom functional before trying to straighten out this particular mess.