Have you ever encountered rotten wood and had that sinking feeling at the bottom of your stomach? Queasiness and the sound of the register cha chinging ensued after I inspected the bottom of our wood porch columns. They stood the test to time for close to 100 years. But water has a nasty way of ruining even the best manmade items.
The last thing I needed this spring was to pay a handyman to do this work (after two roof repairs my budget was kind of shot). So I decided to fix the rotten wood at the bottom of the column myself. Fortunately it was limited to a small section. You’ll want to first remove all the old rotted wood with a putty knife.
Then vacuum old wood pieces and dirt from the area that will be repaired.
By the way, I already had to remove the column to replace the wood bases that also succumbed to rain and wood rot. That’s why the column is resting on the ground.
New porch columns could cost several hundred dollars each. I verified this estimate at our local lumber yard. And while new columns will never rot (if you choose a material other than wood) it’s just not something most people can go out and buy without feeling some financial hurt. Three columns support our roof. That would mean we’d spend a minimum of $500-$1000 for materials. Ouch. Add labor to that and you’ve got a bill of at least $1500-$2000.
If you need to save money and repair wood rot purchase two items:
- Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair
- Elmer’s Rotted Wood Repair
Structural Wood Repair is a an absolute must when your wood has to maintain it’s strength.
Our columns hold up the porch roof and since I’d prefer no ER visits in the near future (you know, from the porch roof collapsing) it’s necessary that the wood keep its structural integrity. The Structural Wood Repair comes with two containers. One is Part A and the other is Part B.
You should mix equal quantities of Part A and Part B together on a scrap piece of wood or cardboard. Since they’re different colors it’s easy to notice when they’re completely combined. Wear gloves when working with any epoxy and use a putty knife to fold the two parts into each other. Kinda reminds me of making bread with my mom.
Use your hands (with gloves of course) to push the epoxy putty into the rotten wood. I molded and shaped it into the column’s body.
Then let it set up. I had enough time to take this goofy pic.
It took about 30 minutes for the epoxy to set up and harden like a rock. The weather was unbelievable hot for Pittsburgh on this day-90F with humidity hovering around 85%. So these conditions could have speeded up the dry time for the epoxy.
I also noticed there were signs of wood deterioration inside the column and decided to apply Elmer’s Rotted Wood Repair because it’ll strengthen these sections of wood. You might want to check out this product if you have wood that shows signs of dry rot. What the heck does dry rot look like anyway?
- Wood that’s darker in color
- Wood that easily flakes apart or falls off into your hands
- Wood that has white residue around it (indicating water penetrated, dried, and left behind mineral deposits)
You’ll have to sand the effected ares (with 120 or 220 grit sandpaper).
Then apply the Rotted Wood Repair with a cloth or rag. I added about a tablespoon of it to my rag then generously wiped it on the inside of the column that looked like it was at the beginning stage of rot. You can also add it directly to the wood.
Rotted Wood Repair will harden and seal your wood to prevent any further damage. The cool part is that you can paint or stain over this product. So it’s a good option for exterior or interior wood like:
- Porch floors
- Interior floors
- Picture frames
- Grandpa’s wood leg
Haha, that last one I threw in there to see if you were paying attention. But seriously, if my grandpa did have a wood leg I’d add Elmer’s Rotted Wood Repair to it.
Any wood that was exposed or could possibly be exposed to water or humidity got this stabilizer. Again, the last thing I need to do is replace a column a few years down the road because I was too lazy to treat it. This is the top of our porch column and it got a generous helping of the Rotted Wood Repair.
Five minutes is all it takes to treat your wood but it’s totally worth it for the peace of mind.
After using Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair and Rotted Wood Repair our column became more structurally sound and protected from the weather’s persistent beatings in the form of rain, snow, and humidity. Now I can sleep better knowing our porch supports will last several more years.
The cost for this project was roughly $25 for both of the Elmer’s products.
In case you need a supply list here it is:
- Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair ($15)
- Elmer’s Rotted Wood Repair ($9)
- Rubber gloves
- Putty knife
- Scrap piece of cardboard or wood
- Sandpaper (120 or 220 grit)
What do you think, is there a part of your house that could use a wood facelift? I’m betting the answer to that is yes and I think you can Do It Yourself with no problem.
P.S. If this post (or a prior one) helped you with your project please let me know because I’d love to add your success story to Home Repair Tutor. Send your project’s details and pics to me at email@example.com. I love seeing you DIY, reinventing your house and saving money 🙂