The floor was sinking fast - rotten wall plate

posted Feb 7, 2011, 2:22 PM by Jim Sear
Sunday, 28 January 2007 
I don't work on Saturdays, well, not normally. This weekend I've had to make an exception (I quite often make exceptions for lots of things). The workload is very healthy and I need to stay on top of the new work coming in. Norman the P & D, is doing all of the painting and decorating he can handle. Oliver the electrician is as busy as ever. Jeff the gas man sighs when I phone him with another customer. Graham the plasterer is on a huge job. And I'm running around doing the bits I like to do. Yes the workload is very healthy.
As much as possible I like to do the small "No job too small" stuff. I used to do the big stuff, but nowadays the body groans when I even think of heavy work, and so I now choose to do the small stuff. Wherever possible, then and there. Saturday was full of small stuff. I started off in Milfoil Drive. Bathroom doors are notorious for sticking. You can probably boil it down to a couple of factors. Humidity, and poor quality doors, badly hung. This one had all three! The low quality (superstore/cheap) knotty pine door had been poorly fitted and badly sealed.
The door didn't stand a chance.
(Where's my soapbox - it's time for a rant!)
You CANNOT - buy cheap - and get good.
Or as Confucius says
Cheap thing no good
Good thing no cheap
Please write it a hundred times.
Wooden doors are living, breathing things.
They expand and contract with humidity by a very surprising amount
If they are not protected by coats of of oil, varnish, or paint, they will warp - guaranteed.
Especially if they were cheap....
End of rant...

In the short term, I've solved the lady's problem by planing the door enough to stop it sticking, but not so much as to make the door too small when the humidity decreases.  There are a number of other small jobs that need to be tackled around the house, but they will have to wait until Thursday.
Having left Milfoil Drive, I headed down to my next call in Channel View Road. Here was a new small problem. The living room floor of this edwardian terrace house had sunk by two inches in the front corner. Visions of huge repair costs were floating in front of the lady's eyes.
I suspected that the wallplate that the floor joists sat on was rotten. We decided to lift a floorboard to see what the problem was. Lo and behold, the wallplate had disintegrated and left the floor joist (which was rotten at the end where it had sat on the plate) hanging in mid air held up only by the floorboards it was meant to support. The lady was thinking terms of hundreds of pounds. I told her it would be about twenty pounds in materials plus a bit of labour plus two cups of tea. We struck a deal, and I went off to get the materials. Within an hour the job was done, the floor back in place and safe to walk on. I was on my way, leaving yet another lady with a smile on her face!

The other two jobs of the day were electrical - replacing a broken socket and changing a light fitting. I was home for three and able to put my feet up for the weekend.