A sill plate (also called a sole plate) is the bottom piece of wall structure where wall studs are attached. They are typically anchored to the foundation and serve as an essential component of all houses. However, if sills become damaged or rotten, you can end up with problems like sagging floors.
Types of Sill Plates
A wood sill plate typically consists of lumber or concrete. Generally, there are two types: Traditional sill plates made of wood or newer sill plates made from brick or concrete. Sill plates may not be as common in newer homes.
Sill plate Types
There are two major types of sills: lumber and concrete. You will likely see a lot of different variations of each. The types of sills that you can find in the market today are:
Lumber Sill (Traditional)
Concrete Sill (Newer)
Lumber Sill vs. Concrete Sill
Many things are similar between the two sills, but when it comes to making a choice, here is what you need to know to choose the correct sills. The first difference between the sills is in the material itself, and where the concrete sill is made of bricks, while a lumber sill consists of lumber.
Concrete Sills: Often used in newer construction and tend to be a concrete foundation. The benefit of using concrete as the base of a foundation is that it is cumbersome. However, if appropriately positioned and even, it will add stability to your foundation. This type of sill also is relatively easy to put in place, which is why many people choose to use concrete as their sills. They are also more affordable.
Lumber Sills: These are probably the most common sill in older houses. They are made of wood and typically run from 6 to 8 inches deep. There is also a smaller version of this sill that is 4 inches deep. The main benefits of using a lumber sill are that it is easier to install and provides a solid and secure foundation.
Sill Plate Failure
Several factors can cause sill plate failure, but this problem is typically more common in older homes.
After years of wear and tear through the seasons in Indiana, sill plates can succumb to wood rot, usually caused by the following three factors:
- Humidity – Over time, moisture and heat contribute to the rotting of sill plates, often requiring them to be replaced by a foundation repair specialist.
- Termites – These insects cause problems throughout the United States, including Indiana and Illinois, and typically wreak havoc if left unchecked.
- Other insects – If it’s not termites, it could be carpenter ants. While perhaps not as well known, carpenter ants can cause just as much damage to wood structures in a home as termites do.
If you notice issues with sagging floors or discover you have an insect problem, it might be time to call in the experts. Have you just purchased a home in an older neighborhood or historic district? While a home inspection will alert you to significant problems, we recommend an evaluation.
Our trusted foundation repair specialists are helpful and can find common foundation problems. For example, suppose it turns out that there is a sill plate failure. In that case, our professionals will walk you through the following steps required to remedy the situation. Then, they will use special jacks to lift the house and make the replacements.
Why Choose One Sill Over the Other?
There are some critical things to consider before choosing between concrete and lumber sills. For example, you should think about how you want your foundation to look. The concrete sills will make it look like your home is much lower than it is.
It is much more important to have a base that makes your house look low than have a base that makes the house look very high. If you don’t plan to sell your home, then having a very high foundation will not be a problem.
If you are going to be selling your house, then you want to make sure that the house’s foundation doesn’t make it appear that it is much higher than it is. Foundation height is why you need to choose the right sill and why you want to install concrete sills on new construction.
How To Repair a Sill Plate
Most sills are going to crack due to settling in the foundation. Cracking is a natural part of how they settle. If you are finding that you need to repair your sill plate, contact a foundation repair expert. Our team at Crossroads Foundation Repair can help with your sill plate repair needs in and around Indiana. We also specialize in repairs to sills, piers, and footings, and we can help you.
Crossroads Foundation Repair is a fully licensed and insured full-service concrete repair company in the Indianapolis area. We offer foundation repair, basement waterproofing, and floor and wall repair services to homeowners throughout Indiana. Call today to schedule a free estimate with us!