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Rotten Wood Repair: A Two Prong Attack with the Help of Elmer

Rotten Wood Repair

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.

Column Wood Rot

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.

Remove old rotted wood

Then vacuum old wood pieces and dirt from the area that will be repaired.

Vacuum the area repairable area

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.

Structural Wood Repair by Elmers

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.

Mix Part A and Part B together

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.

Fill Wood Voids

Then let it set up. I had enough time to take this goofy pic.

Structural Wood Repair Rocks

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).

Using Elmers Rotted Wood Repair

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.

Elmers Rotted Wood Repais Seals

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:

  • Siding
  • Doors
  • Porch floors
  • Interior floors
  • Picture frames
  • Windows
  • 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.

Bare Wood Protection

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
  • Vacuum
  • Sandpaper (120 or 220 grit)
  • Rags

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.

Jeff Patterson

 

 

 

 

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 jeff@homerepairtutor.com. I love seeing you DIY, reinventing your house and saving money :)

 

 

 

 

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16 comments… add one

  • Linda Hollander July 11, 2013, 9:24 AM

    Jeff:

    EVERY SINGLE email from you touches on some thing I need to do with/for my new (OLD) condo! It has been so poorly maintained over the last 113 years and now it falls to us, the four owners of this nice old building to ensure that it lasts another hundred years.

    I am going to use the Elmer’s stuff on my back porch, where there are big gaps of rotted wood between the porch (which is freestanding) and the house, then I am going to run 1/4 round resin molding for protection and aesthetics.

    Since I am also removing 7 dead trees and the roots from my driveway, and the Association is adding new front entryways in September, I’m on the big lookout for DIY and mony-saving tips.

    Since I am also a first time homeowner, and I am my own “Honey-do” after 38 years, it’s kind of a challenge!

    So, thanks for all your great advice!

    Linda

    • Jeff Patterson July 11, 2013, 9:52 AM

      Linda,

      You certainly are busy with your condo. Whew!! Tons of projects.

      Let me know how it goes. I’d live to see before and after pictures. That’s super fun.

      :)

      Jeff

  • Lillace Christianson July 14, 2013, 3:35 PM

    This is a very well-timed post. We have several exterior doorways in need of this repair and we had no idea how to start. You have answered lots of questions for us. Thanks a bunch!

    • Jeff Patterson July 27, 2013, 4:45 PM

      Hi Lillace,

      Awesome!! Let me know how your projects turn out. These products by Elmer’s are super easy to use and you’ll likely be thrilled with the results.

      Jeff

  • Donna Grainger July 16, 2013, 8:48 AM

    Can these products be used on wooden lawn furniture?

    • Jeff Patterson July 20, 2013, 5:50 AM

      Hi Donna,

      Anything wood can accept the products. Just follow the directions and you should be good to go. What kind of problem are you having with your furniture?

      Jeff

  • Ann Taylor July 21, 2013, 2:07 AM

    Would this work on window sills? We have a triple window sill that has rotten spots/areas in it. This is on the outside below the window or the windows sit on it.

    • Jeff Patterson July 21, 2013, 7:59 AM

      Hi Ann,

      You can definitely use both of these products on your window sills. I’d love to see them, send me some pictures (jeff@homerepairtutor.com).

      :)

      Jeff

  • dustdeyt August 6, 2013, 3:07 PM

    How did you get the post down and the porch stable while you worked on the post. We have a house that was bulid in 1900 and we have 12 post we need to treat.

    • Jeff Patterson August 6, 2013, 4:08 PM

      Very carefully-Lol.

      I made a “T” out of 4×4 pressure treated lumber and placed it on a bottle jack that could support literally tons of weight. The horizontal span of the “T” was positioned under the headers and I slowly raised the jack until all the weight of that corner of the roof rested on “T”. Then I pulled the column out. The roof was raised only enough to take out the column, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

      I also had the bottle jack resting on a 2×12 piece of pressure treated lumber that spanned the porch floor joists. This was done to displace the weight load. Of course your situation is likely a bit different. Hope this helps.

      Jeff

  • Judy Carroll September 23, 2013, 4:48 PM

    Hi Jeff,

    I just used the Elmer’s Rotted Wood Repair stuff on both front & back door sills. I looked into replacing them, but think it’s more than I can do & paying to have it done (and correctly, without damaging the integrity of all the other stuff around the door) seems too much for my budget right now. I’m also going to use the Elmer’s Structural Wood Repair for areas that I had to dig out & seem too much for just regular plastic wood. Wish me luck!

    • Jeff Patterson September 23, 2013, 9:02 PM

      Hi Judy,

      Fantastic!!! Let me know how it goes. I hope you can save some money by using these projects.

      Jeff

  • Sydney October 16, 2013, 2:30 PM

    Hello Jeff,

    Thank you for the tips! I have a desk that I loved sitting on the porch because I needed to repaint it. Well it rained a lot the past month, almost everyday! And that’s crazy where I live. We usually only get 2 days of rain a year! Yet this year it rained A LOT and even though we covered it up, it got damaged. So a section in the back is rotting. But it gets better, the back of the top of the desk is warped!! Joy. So my question would be do you have any idea on how I could repair that part? Of you don’t I have an idea of just wood gluing another piece of wood over it making a “stage” like thing in the back. I guess I can’t really complain, I got the desk for free! (: but it’s gonna cost more than we thought to repair of now (x once I get it done, I’ll send you the pictures ! (:

    Love,
    Sydney

    • Jeff Patterson October 18, 2013, 10:35 AM

      Sydney, do you think you could take off the back? Usually this piece of wood is just tacked on with small nails. If you can, I’d replace it with 1/4 inch luann that is fairly cheap. You could get it cut to size at a local home improvement store then tack it on with small nails. Total cost would be something like $15 to $20 depending on the size of your desk. Let me know what you think.

      Jeff

  • r brelsford August 26, 2014, 7:50 PM

    can i use elmers epoxy to repair rotted sill plate that is attached to the foundation or should i cut it entirely out?

    • Jeff Patterson September 21, 2014, 10:44 AM

      It depends on how rotted it is. I’d try this first but hopefully the sill isn’t completely gone since that could create structural issues.

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