What is a sill?

When you hear the word “sill,” you probably think of a window sill, that small shelf at the bottom of your window. Some folks use a window sill to display their favorite knick knacks, while others just curse the dust it gathers. But here at Richard Earls Construction, we’re more concerned with a different type of sill—the kind that holds up your house.

In the New Orleans Metro area, the older homes, and the newer homes today, are raised in the pier-and-beam style to allow for flooding. In such a home’s foundation, a sill is a long beam that keeps everything upright. Without good, strong sills, you wouldn’t have a home that could withstand a strong wind. But since these types of sills aren’t visible, you might not know they’re even there.

In a typical New Orleans home, the sills sit on piers, and they hold up the joists that support your home’s floor.  But since the sills are covered in siding, you won’t see them unless you go underneath the house or remove some of your siding.


In a traditional New Orleans home, the sills are made of wood. Newer sills are made of treated wood that resists rot and termites. But in older homes, the sills may have been made of wood that isn’t as impervious to these threats, or may be so old that they’ve sustained damage from decades of humidity, moisture, and termites.


A damaged sill can lead to problems inside the home. Uneven floors, soft or squeaky spots in your flooring, bulges in floors or walls—all these problems might be due to a damaged sill. And until you replace the sill, all your indoor renovations won’t solve the root of the problem.

Before you renovate inside, consider the problems that may be outside, with your foundation. Richard Earls Construction will inspect your foundation and find the cause of the problems you see inside the house.