A mudsill is one of the most important components of a building's foundation, as it creates a flat surface on which the frame rests. It distributes the weight of the structure evenly to the underlying soil, protecting it from shifts in the ground that could otherwise cause structural damage. Mudsills also act as a barrier between the foundation and the rest of the building, preventing moisture and pests from getting in and damaging the structure over time.
The mudsill, which is also known as the sill plate, is the first piece of framing lumber installed on top of a concrete foundation. It is bolted to the foundation wall, and is used as a platform on which to construct the floor and walls of a building. Since it is the first layer that will bear the weight of a structure, the mudsill must be perfectly level and square. Master carpenter Norm Abram explains to apprentices Carly and Erick that it is best to install the mudsill using construction adhesive rather than anchor bolts, as this helps prevent moisture damage.
The type of mudsill that is most commonly used in construction projects is made from pressure-treated lumber. The wood is treated to resist rot and protect against termite infestation. Cedar mudsills are also available, but they are less common because they can wick water from the concrete and can rot faster than other types of mudsills. If a mudsill becomes damaged, it is best to replace it as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the structure and to keep moisture and termites from infesting the structure.