In Search Of Rot
Before you do anything, determine whether the damage was caused by accidents and normal wear and tear, or rot. Rot can be distinguished from other kinds of damage by its dark, charred appearance and its soft, spongy feel, but it’s tricky stuff. Rot may be eating away at wood under a camouflage of peeling or rippling paint. Or it may masquerade as a small, harmless depression in the wood while it destroys the entire piece from the inside out If you find a little rot, probe the area with a narrow screwdriver or chisel. Chances are you’ll find more.
Filling rotted wood presents some special problems. The wood rotted in the first place because it was repeatedly exposed to water. ff you can keep water away from the wood by caulking a leaky gutter or redirecting a down spout, do that first.
In all cases, damaged wood must be thoroughly dry before you can make any repairs. Patching wet wood is like locking the fox in the hen house. It will trap moisture precisely where you don’t need it, creating a perfect environment for further rot. [Read more…]