Repairing Wood Rot

In This Article:

Page 2

Fixing Minor Rot Damage

As mentioned, extensive structural repairs should be done by someone with experience in making these repairs. It's a good idea to have all structural repairs inspected by a pest-control company to make sure that all rot was removed.

The following approach can be used to fix minor rot problems that you might find in things like door and window trim, old porch posts, and so on. It's fairly easy as long as you have the necessary tools and supplies, which are as follows:

  • Basic carpentry tools, including screwdriver and wood drill

  • Moisture meter

  • Heat gun or hair dryer (for drying out wet wood)

  • Putty knife

  • Sanding tools

  • Borate wood preservative

  • Epoxyresin, such as LiquidWood

Here's how to do it:

  1. Remove all decayed wood. A flat screwdriver, wood chisel, or similar tool works well for this. If there's a lot of rotted wood, digging it out with a claw hammer will be faster. Remember to extend your removal a bit beyond obvious decay areas.

  2. Check the moisture content in the newly exposed wood. If it isn't below 18 percent, the wood must be dried out before you continue. Exposing it to the air will help a lot, but you can hasten the process with a heat gun or hair dryer.

  3. When the wood is sound and dry, brush or spray on a liquid borate. Or drill several small holes and inject a borate into the wood. As mentioned, the borate will seek and destroy any remaining rot and minimize future damage.

  4. Apply an epoxy resin. This product will soak into damaged wood fibers and harden them. Most of these products consist of a primer and filler. They can be a little tricky to work with, so be sure to follow the product directions for mixing and application. Use a putty knife to shape and mold the epoxy to fit the repair.

  5. Let the repair harden. This takes longer in cool weather than in hot. You'll know the process is complete when the epoxy doesn't feel tacky. When it's completely dry, shape and blend the patch, if necessary, with medium or coarse sandpaper.

  6. Apply freshly mixed epoxy, if necessary, to any areas that need additional fill or shaping. Let harden and treat as before.

  7. Sand the repair area smooth with fine sandpaper, then apply an acrylic primer and two coats of acrylic paint.

This is just one approach for repairing wood rot. In areas where damage is more extensive, you might have to replace parts or all of the damaged wood.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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