On these old houses, it is very common for the end joists to sit directly on top of the studs and there is no top plate. Framing modifications need to be made to secure the floor framing to the mudsill and bolts.  There are two different ways to do this.  The one developed by contractors is cheap effective.  The method used by FEMA P-1100/ICC 1300 is convoluted an expensive.  This is one more recommendation that makes FEMA P-1100/ICC 1300 unaffordable.   First, let’s look at the problem.  The figure on the left does not have a top plate while the one on the right does have a top plate.  The figure in the middles illustrates how FEMA P-1100/ICC 1300 makes this connection in the most convoluted and expensive manner.  The video does a much better job of explaining this than the figures below. 




The detail above is from ICC 1300 and shows a lack of familiarity with these old houses.  This detail assumes existing lumber in these old houses is 1 1/2″ while in fact, it is a full 2″ thick.  The end result is that the detail is not workable. The video illustrates why ICC 1300 does not work- and at the same time will teach you a system that does work.


Contractors solved this problem many years ago. The joist is 2” thick.  The yellow represents a piece of ½” plywood which is stapled to a nominal 2x marked in blue. The plywood and nominal 2x = 2″.  This plus the 2x end joist = 4″ (the width of the studs). The plywood and nominal 2x are then nailed to the existing 2x joist with 10d commons and the shear wall is then nailed to that.


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