When I first started purchasing structural pine to construct the street level stud frames the timber company gave me some advice.
They said I could use H2 for the top plate and H3 for the bottom plate.
However, I did not explain to them that the stud frames would be sitting out in the elements for two years before I could put a temporary roof over them.
I did realise that I needed to paint them if they were going to be exposed. This I did, and it kept the frames in good condition until I could cover them. I used good quality mistinted exterior paint.
After the first two stud frames I switched to using H3 for both the top and bottom plates and kept an eye on the condition of all the timbers.
After a year I noticed that the H2 plates were growing bright orange fungus.
I scraped this off and applied bleach and then more protective paint and continued to keep an eye on them.
All the H3 top plates are fine.
Originally I planned to reinforce the H2 plates but later decided it would probably take a similar amount of time to replace them with H3.
Also the reinforcements could cause problems when running power cabling around the structure.
After today I can see that I made a very wise decision.
I had to cut the plate up in to section to remove it - but even ignoring this it is obvious in the photograph that the timber is badly split and weekened by fungus.
The job proceeded exactly as I envisaged it - no surprises - but it took me all day.
To start off, I kept the acro props snug up against the floor joists but not lifting the load at all.
I also kept all brackets in place and still bolted.
I have a homemade tool that allows me to un-nail strapping without damaging the stud work significantly.
I used this to undo the cyclone rating straps and the cross bracing straps.
This took a couple of hours and a lot of patience.
Next I raised the load over the stud frame, cut out the sections of the plate, slid in the new plate, clamped it in position and dropped the load back down.
The rest of the day went on renailing the strapping and rebolting the brackets.
This took me up to 6.00 pm and I was glad of the long daylight.
Another one to start on next week.