Friday, September 26, 2008

Fixing Wood Rot

The Elements are Killing My House
Yes, I know this is suppose to be a decorating/craft/thrifty blog but all that is worthless if the house is falling apart from under you. This post can help you save money by doing it yourself. I can do it, so you can do it. Read on.....

Here in Atlanta we get some real extremes in temperature-blistering heat in the summer and some days with below freezing temps in the winter. Those changes in temperatures really do a number on the exterior of my home.

Every year I try and take a "tour" of the exterior of my house after summer and look for any problems that need attention. Better to find those problems before you have to sink a fortune into repairs and have major problems.

After taking a good look at my front porch, I realized there was lots of work to do. I had stains on the cement, several lose bricks, exterior lights that needed replacing and plenty of rotten wood to repair.

Here's what I mean.......
Here is the first sign of the rot that had infested my door trim. You could put a screwdriver right into this wood because it was rotten and soft. I got my saw out and cut out the rotted part rather than replacing the entire trim. This is the saw I used to do it. A great tool for me because it's cordless,variable speed and light weight. I bought this a few months ago (cost around 39.00) in Walmart.
This is another section, all cut out and left to dry in the sun. Pretty bad looking isn't it? I measured out a piece of wood to glue in using liquid nails. Here is my replacement piece, glued and nailed in. What do I use for filling all those cracks and crevices? The best product ever. I read about this a few years ago on several different websites about filling and repairing rotten wood. It's called Bondo and it's available in Lowe's and Home Depot.

This product costs about $10.00 and is a two-part putty. They use it for automotive repairs, but it's now commonly used to fill in areas in wood work. It's great stuff and hardens like a rock. So if you have a small area that you can't plug in with another piece of wood, you can use Bondo. It's not easy to use, because it drys so quickly, but you get use to working with it. I usually place the compound on a piece of cardboard, add the hardener, mix quickly and then apply. This stuff is "rot proof" and can be sanded. Photo below shows piece all sanded.

All sanded and primed it now is clean, dry and strong. Oh yeah, it looks better too. I won't kid you though, it took a lot of work.

Fixing is one thing, but you know I needed to add some decorative touches. I am adding four decorative pieces to each corner. I've cut four pieces of pine measuring about 12" X 6" (the size of my door trim). In addition, each piece has a rosette and long trim.

All the pine pieces are caulked (I used my free sample that I got in the mail) and primed several times. All four of these rectangles will be connected with trim. When it's all done, I'll take a photo and present it to you here.

So here is what we have:

  • taking a tour can help you find all those potential "expensive" problems.
  • Bondo works great for filling in rotted areas
  • You can always add to the look of your door by adding decorative woodwork
  • caulk, caulk, caulk. If I had caulked these areas faithfully, I wouldn't have rot at all. Check all your doors and yourself some money!

*I'll post a photo when all the decorative pieces are connected, primed and painted. I'm hoping it looks really nice when it's finished.
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  1. You are so awesome to be sharing this practical how-to advice! Can you come to my house and help me?

  2. I am so impressed how you just get in there and get the job done! So inspiring!

  3. You're The Woman!! Wow, I'm impressed. I'm going to have to get one of those saw thingies. :)

  4. Ha blue castle, you're so funny.......those saw thingies are great, you need to get one!