View Full Version : Plank wall questions

Josiah Bartlett
09-20-2010, 12:42 AM
I have a house that was originally built in 1890 and had a 2 story 20x20 wing added to it sometime in the early 20th century. (This wing may have been another structure that was moved and joined to the main house, I don't know)
I'm remodeling the bathroom that occupies one corner of the house, and am stripping it down to the studs.

Running down the center of the wing is what appears to be a load bearing wall supporting the center of the 2nd floor joists. However, there don't appear to be any studs in this wall, it is made out of vertical 6/4x12" planks with horizontal 1x6 shiplap nailed to it on one side, followed by lath. The boards are nailed to a sill under the 1st floor.

Now, I know there were no building codes here in Oregon at the time of construction, and the house has stood for 100 years, but this wall just makes me nervous. It has had at least one doorway cut into it, although it appears there is a header and jack studs there. The outer wall of the house appears to be more conventional 2x4 framing.

The only information about walls I've seen constructed like this seem to be the barge board homes of New Orleans.

Does anyone have any information about this type of construction?

I'm considering sistering the wall with 2x4 studs on 16" centers from the sill and adding a plate to support the 2nd floor. I don't mind giving up a few inches of floor space in order to have added safety and the ability to put outlets in that wall. The outlets are all in the perimeter walls right now.

I suppose this type of wall construction would be very strong in shear but I'm concerned about nails holding the wall to the sill under the floor, and if there would be any seismic issues, as well as what has been done to the wall in the past by a shoddy remodel. I'm trying to decide whether to call an engineer or just button the drywall back up and ignore it.