How Are Deteriorated Sill Plates Fixed?

If you’ve ever lived in the mountains, it’s easy to see there are plenty of slopes. It’s why families have so much fun, getting their sleds ready to slide downhill. Other things can go downhill, right? Don’t let slippery houses escape you on a slippery slope.

If your house is on a raised foundation with a crawlspace, your home may not be secure as you think. You don’t need insecurity in your life, especially when it can be so easily fixed. No need to have everything you’ve worked for go downhill. Make sure your sill plates are okay. If they need fixing, get them fixed. 

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected more than ten-thousand homes in Southern California and Arizona. We’ve crawled through those crawlspaces of nightmares, looked at those bad sill plates that would make your home slip over a banana peel, and fixed them so your home can endure all hardships in life. 

The importance of sill plates: 

These are large pieces of wood that are bolted to the footing of your home. Crawlspace, or raised, foundations are what have sill plates. If you have a slab-on-grade, the sill plate is one component you don’t need to worry about. They’ll install either 2×4 or 2×6 pieces of wood.

Why sill plates need repairing:

It is the part of your home that keeps the house’s frame attached to the foundation. You don’t need to hear someone say “butterfingers” when your home somehow trips from on top of the foundation it’s meant to sit on. 

How do I know they will need replacing?

Here are common signs to look for when checking your crawlspace:

  • Warped wood deteriorated from moisture.
  • Holes in the wood (likely caused by termites or other insects).
  • If the bolts holding the structure to the concrete footing are rusted.

If you’re unsure if they need replacing or haven’t checked, Dalinghaus Construction is willing to inspect your home for free! We understand going into a crawlspace isn’t the most fun, especially if you have to deal with creatures of the night – we still haven’t encountered vampires, thankfully. Only bats that haven’t transformed. 

The Sill Plate replacement process Step-by-step

Step One – the Inspection:

One of our home inspectors will check out the extent of the damage to your sill plate, as well as the rest of the house. This process takes anywhere between 60-90 minutes. Our inspector will then send you a repair plan the very same day. The next day at the very latest. 

The end of this step will depend on if you decide to move forward with the process.

Step Two – Engineering and Permitting:

The Engineering and permitting process is necessary to continue. Engineered plans are created to give to the city. That way it can be approved for permitting. This process can take 4-16 weeks regardless of who you go through. 

After this is all done, we can schedule the project and begin! 

Note: We schedule projects about eight weeks in advance due to backlogging on our calendar. While it may seem so far in advance, it is so we are properly prepared. We aren’t going to rush projects. We want to make sure you have nothing to worry about in the future.

Step Three – The Sill Plate Repair process:

  1. Our production team goes inside your home’s crawlspace to shore up, or support, the perimeter. We use hydraulic hand jacks and place temporary girder beams on them to lift the structure off the old damaged part of the sill plate.
    The part of the home is usually lifted about two inches depending on the damage. 
  2.  The old piece of wood is removed, being replaced by the new piece. 
  3. After replacing the piece, we slowly bring the house down–usually not with music–to be sure everything is in place and the whole frame rests on that sill plate. 
  4. If there are no gaps after lowering the house, we will bolt down the sill plates to the concrete footing

Step Four – The Project Is Complete!

When everything is finished, we will send you a closing packet two to three weeks after with all the complete information. This will have project completion information, warranty information, and any other information you might need from the project.

If there is a large part of the house that has damaged sill plates, we don’t lift the whole house. We lift and replace portions at a time. 

This part of the process takes one or two days. 

Equipment the team uses:

  • Hydraulic Hand Bottle Jacks
    • Think of this like a jack you use to lift your car.
    • At least two are used per girder beam.
  • Pieces of wood for the girder beams to provide temporary support.
  • Wood for the sill plate.
  • Chipping hammers.
    • Cuts the wood into small pieces. 
    • These are necessary depending on the condition of the old wood.
  • Power Hammer
  • Pry Bars
  • Bolt grinder.

Are there other things that need to be replaced aside from the sill plate?

If we tell you only the sill plate needs replaced, it will only be the sill plate. We won’t surprise you with extra costs for parts of your house that don’t need to be addressed. 

We’ll sometimes recommend having seismic retrofitting, which involves completely securing the home to the foundation so it isn’t susceptible to earthquakes.

Some older homes did not accommodate for seismic activity when they were initially built, which is where retrofitting–or installing after the fact–comes in. 

Can I do the work on my own? 

It’s definitely possible. No one doubts your capabilities in doing this repair on your own, let alone Dalinghaus Construction. Though there are factors to keep in mind:

  • Time commitment. 
  • Renting or purchasing equipment. 
  • The permitting and engineering process is expensive. 
  • Consulting an engineer can range between $1000-$3000.
  • Permitting varies from city to city. 
  • Doing it on your own might be frustrating. 

Dalinghaus Construction does everything we can to make your process simple and easy. Replacing sill plates isn’t exactly the most fun thing to do in your free time–though some people still collect stamps (no judgment). It’s probably very stressful for you. This is why we use production teams of three experienced people who often do these repairs. They know what they’re doing, they’re swift and will get the job done. 

With all this said, feel free to choose any company you may prefer. Whoever you feel the most comfortable with may be best for you. Or maybe you prefer doing the job on your own. What matters is the decision you make resulting in your better quality of life. 

How much does it cost for sill plate replacement?

$40 per linear square foot. A linear square foot is every 12 inches in a straight line. So if five feet of your sill plate needs replacing, it would cost a total of $200.

Note: the cost of labor and materials is already included with this price. We’re not going to surprise you with more material and labor fees. Dalinghaus Construction wants to make this as simple for you as possible. 

If your crawlspace is small, we understand you don’t want to crawl around like a caterpillar unable to turn into a butterfly. When you get out of that crawlspace, you’ll look more like a moth. If you’re located in Southern California, Arizona, or Nevada, and you’re unsure about your sill plates in that crawlspace, call us at 877-360-9227, or schedule a Free Home Evaluation online today!


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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