Robert Lamoureux: Lumber dilemma, the rusted pipe

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]
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Question #1

Robert,

I live in Santa Clarita and am a do-it-yourselfer. I don’t have a ton of experience but am always willing to learn and have been successful on projects so far. I have a rear yard patio which has a beam approximately 24 feet long and is huge, about sixteen inches high by about six inches wide. At the top of this beam we’ve neglected care, and where the cross members lie the large beam has rotted approximately two inches thick, approximately two inches deep (going back on the beam) and approximately 2-3 feet wide. I have removed these cross members and in looking at this massive beam, I’m overwhelmed at the thought of replacing it with my limited skills, and also wondering if the rotted areas can be repaired somehow to save the rest of the beam. Is this even possible?

Isaiah W.

Answer #1

Isaiah,

Great description of the problem, this helps me be able to guide you. You absolutely do not have to replace this large beam if the damage is only to those areas you described, and the rest of the beam is sound. The repair you’ll do is called a “dutchman”, and will be a sound repair that won’t show. Take these damaged areas and cut them out with appropriate tools such as saw, and chisel and hammer, making a clean new opening as squared off as you are able to. Be sure to do this during dry times, you’ll want the new opening to be dry before closing the area back up. Once these areas are readied, you’ll come back with a piece of timber to fit the opening as closely as possible in all directions. Use wood carpenter’s glue on all of the areas of contact, then screw this new piece into place using galvanized screws to prevent rusting. There will be some gapping at the joints so this will need to be filled with wood filler. Let that dry completely, then go back and sand it down to level. Follow this up with primer and paint, and you will have salvaged this entire beam. Not a bad project and if you take your time and are thoughtful prior to each step, you’ll make it through another project successfully. Good luck to you.

Robert

Question #2

Hello Robert,

It’s always great to read your articles. I am attempting to find a solution to a yet experienced problem. Concrete slab house constructed in 1973. Master bath shower drain with visible rust development inside of galvanized drainpipe. At times becomes slow to drain but cleared by plunging. Is there any new technology out there that can auger out the old rusted drain and install a liner of some material? I don’t want to face the task of tearing out the slab and place a new line to the main. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

Kip

Answer #2

Kip,

Yes, pipe re lining. This system works well as long as the pipe has not deteriorated too much. Based on what you described it sounds like you can use this system. They will come in and camera the line, sand blast the pipe and rinse it out. They’ll set the machine up and inject the interior of the pipe. This system is very strong and will last a long time. I’ll send the name of the company I recommend, best of luck.

Robert

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