Rotted Wood

Do I need to replace rotted wood?

If you come across wood rot, you’ll want to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Not only is rotten wood an eyesore, but waiting to repair or replace your rotted wooden features can also lead to multiple safety concerns as structures gradually decay and lose their integrity. 

When addressing wood rot, you have two options: repair it or replace it. Of course, you don’t want either of these tasks to take up all your time and energy. Even if you hire a repair contractor, you don’t want the job to take too long. So, how long does it take to repair or replace rotting wood?

Homeowners face a difficult choice with rotted wood: Should the wood be replaced or repaired?

In my opinion, if the wood is badly damaged and it is possible to replace it with a reasonable amount of work, replacement is the best solution. A piece of badly rotted trim that is easily pried off, for example, should be replaced, not repaired.

However, there are many situations where it is practical to repair rotted wood, although do-it-yourselfers need to use good judgment.

Wood can rot in places where it can weaken a structure. Porch posts, which frequently rot around the bottom because of their ++ exposure to water, illustrate why wood needs to be structurally strong if it is repaired.

Window sills, another frequent target of wood rot, are often good candidates for repair because they are difficult to replace and have limited structural importance.

Old-house owners face special problems, since some ornamental wood pieces might be difficult or impossible to match, and even time-consuming repairs might make sense.

At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer timber repairs work from simple timber repair to almost new structures, renovations, and extensions.

Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace Rotted Wood

Before we get into the hard numbers, understand rotted wood replacement and repair generally take about the same time. Of course, every job is different, but each process involves multiple steps. 

Replacing wood involves removing the rotten feature, crafting a new piece of wood or other material to replace the old one, and then installing it properly. Repairing rotted wood requires filling the damaged areas and then smoothing, sanding, and painting over them.

Of course, time shouldn’t be the only factor informing your decision to repair or replace your wooden features. You must also consider the severity of the damage, the age of the wood, and the structural significance of the wood, among other factors. In some cases, replacement might be the best option for these reasons. But in others, repair might be more cost-effective and completely viable.

Rotted Wood

How Long Does Repairing Rotting Wood Take?

A wood rot repair job will vary in duration depending on the size of the area that needs fixing, how bad the damage is, and the materials you use. Preparing the area for repair can take up to an hour on its own, as you must investigate the area, test the wood, clean it, and remove the decaying wood. 

Once the area is prepped, you’ll want to apply an epoxy consolidant to the damaged area and let it dry and harden, which can take up to a week. If you don’t want to wait that long, certain consolidants dry faster than others. And best of all, you can still perform the next step, applying wood filler, before the consolidant has fully dried. 

If you want to work quickly, you can use a quick-drying wood hardener, which gives you about 10-15 minutes to shape the material as needed before it dries. Once everything has dried, you’ll then want to smooth down the material with sandpaper until the surface is even once more. 

Then, it’s time to paint the surface or hire a licensed exterior painting contractor to do it for you. These steps take time, too. All in all, your wood rot repair job may take the better part of a day (or two) of actual work to complete. Of course, the job might not be finished for a week or so as everything needs to dry, but that only involves waiting.

What About Replacing Rotted Wood?

As mentioned earlier, replacing rotten wood usually ends up taking about the same amount of time as repairing it. The time is just allocated differently. 

Suppose you’re replacing a feature that’s easily purchased from a manufacturer. In that case, no time needs to be spent on creating a custom piece, so the job only involves installing and painting the new material. But, if the area being replaced is unique, you’ll need to wait for contractors to create a new one, which can take several hours or more depending on its complexity and size. 

Then, you’ll need to caulk the seams and paint the new feature, so it fits in. Hiring licensed exterior painting services will speed up the finishing process, but this might still take a couple of hours to complete.

Unfortunately, there’s such a straight answer to the question, “how long does it take to repair or replace rotting wood?” The most important thing is determining whether to repair or replace your wood and hiring a team that can perform either of these tasks efficiently to deliver the best results. 

Common Causes of Rotten Wood Sidings

Rot, mould or mildew usually affects wood sidings the most in multiple ways. Several reasons for damage to wood siding can be:

  • Holes poked by woodpeckers to find insects underneath
  • Pests such as rodents or termites residing in the sidings
  • Missing ring-shank nails caused by age or movement
  • Moisture penetrating through missing or cracked caulking
  • Common wear and tear due to weather
  • Impacted by extreme weather conditions such as blown debris or tree limbs etc. 

Siding MaintenanceAnother big problem with neglecting wood siding maintenance is that they can allow water to penetrate underneath them and the felt paper underlayment. Signs of water damage to your house can be seen from the interior and exterior of your house. Loose or cracked clapboards can pave the way for rot to damage the house.

If you are repeatedly getting your house painted every other season due to colour fading or from blisters popping on your walls, then you need to look for the root cause. Colour fading, blisters, and peeling paint is another indication of moisture penetrating your house structure. Fungus on the exterior sidings and mould on interior walls is a sign of wood rot. Get in touch with professionals as soon as you find these signs of repairing wood siding rot. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

How to Make Your Repairs Last Long

Once you have repaired your wood siding rot, it is better to look after it to make it last longer. Here are some tips on how to maintain wood sidings:

  • The back and edges of the new sidings should be primed and thoroughly painted. 
  • Avoid driving nails flush or countersink them. The heads might break the paper face, and water will soak in and damage the siding. Seal any nailheads that break the paper face with cement.
  • Leave a gap of ⅛ inches at corners and butt joints and seal them with 35-year, paintable acrylic caulk.
  • Install gutters to prevent water from splashing on the sidings. Also, install lawn sprinklers in a way that the water does not hit the sidings. 
  • Leave a 1-inch gap between siding and shingles so that the siding does not rot when it touches the roof. 
  • Use fibre-cement siding to replace rotted areas. It is ⅛ inches thinner and is highly rot-resistant and also has a comparable cost. It also carries a 50-year warranty. 

Check out our range of timber repairs Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions. 

When to Call for Help?

The decision to call for professional help depends on the size of the damage. Holes poked by pests or termite damage must be addressed urgently by filling the holes with wood putty. If only one or two clapboards need to be replaced, homeowners can do it themselves. However, the amount of dry wood rot on the surface can be misleading. 

If it is a serious infestation, then you need to call local termite control experts immediately. And as soon as you are aware of the damaged wood sidings, call a professional to get a thorough look at the damage caused. You might think you only need to replace the clapboard, but you might not know how much damage to the underlayer has already been done. Therefore, it is always a better idea to hire a professional for a thorough inspection. 

Why is it not a Good Idea to do it Yourself?

Replacing wood siding is not a difficult process. Still, it does involve different steps such as cutting off the rotten siding, clearing out the old nails, cutting the new siding to the required length, fastening the siding and caulking it to make it watertight. If any of these steps are not done right, you could cause damage to the existing clapboards and further increase the costs of repair. Also, it might get frustrating for homeowners as the process takes time. Contractors have the right equipment and skills to finish the job properly and know how to fix dry rot siding permanently. 

Why Replacing Rotted Wood Is Important Before You Paint Your House

When it comes to making improvements to your house, such as painting, replacing windows, or hiring a roofing company, it is important to inspect your house first. You will want to know if the home is in need of repair before you make any major changes. To catch such issues first means that you can take care of them and perhaps avoid paying a much higher price in the future.

One of the most important areas of repair is if you discover rotting wood on the exterior of your home. Wood that is rotting needs to be replaced before any other action is taken. Unfortunately, too many people believe that simply painting over rotted wood will stop the deterioration. While a few coats of paint may seemingly halt the progress of the wood falling apart, the truth is that it merely masks what is happening under the surface.

Why Rotted Wood Needs To Be Replaced

There are a number of reasons why rotting wood needs to be repaired, particularly if you are trying to sell your home. However, when it comes to the care of your residence in general rotting wood is a sign that something more substantial may be wrong.


When the wood starts to rot, that means its integrity has been compromised in some fashion. Usually, moisture combined with other elements such as mould or mildew has penetrated the surface and has invaded the interior. Once this happens, painting over it does not affect the deterioration as it continues into the wood itself, compromising its strength and integrity.

Signs of Other Issues 

While some cases of rotting wood are independent of the rest of the home, in most cases it is a sign that something else may be wrong. It could be that all of the surface wood is starting to rot or perhaps that the home itself has been compromised by moisture, mould, pests, or other invaders. By painting over the issue, you are only masking the true cause of why the wood is rotting.


Another reason why the wood may be rotted is termites, particularly if the damage is occurring in the lower sections of your home. Termites invade the wood for food and will find ways out even when you use paint. The wood needs to be removed because it may harbour termites that will invade other areas of your home.


Rotted wood is not only falling apart; it has lost a considerable amount of its inherent strength and resistance to the elements. Even with new exterior paint, it is much easier for the elements to break through the wood and compromise your home. High winds, hail, sleet, and even rain can penetrate and breakthrough rotting wood that has been painted.

Minimizing Wood Rot Repairs Around Your Home

How can you save money? Wood rot is caused by wood-destroying fungi that break down the wood cells, which are a food source, producing wood rot or decay. When you repair wood rot, you are essentially removing the fungi which is causing the damage and replacing or repairing the damaged sections of wood. Until the fungi are gone along with the conditions (moisture and temperature) needed to support the fungi, more damage will occur.

Wood rot repairs requiring a new window your home’s exterior is exposed to the weather year-round, and many homeowners don’t realize the most important role of exterior paint is to protect the wood from water damage. The wood trim that bumps out from your home is vulnerable to wood rot because it takes a beating from the weather. If you don’t paint frequently enough, water finds its way into the wood where it can support wood-eating fungi and yes, carpenter ants which we frequently found in my handyman business.

So where should you be inspecting your home to find wood rot before it gets bad?

  • Wood trim just below the roofline, both the vertical fascia boards and the horizontal soffits.
  • Wood rot is a common home repair the gable ends of a house, there’s also wood trim and gable vents. My handyman business replaced many gable vents, and one homeowner who insisted on wood vents, had us install metal vents about six months after we installed new wood vents (we tried to warn her).
  • Corner boards that bump out from the house, which are one of the more common wood rot repair my handyman business handled.
  • Window trim and especially window sills have lots of wood rot, making them a top home repair. Even though the sills are sloped down for runoff, fine silt from the air collects in the corners and traps water … and you know the rest of the story.
  • Wood trim around doors, and the door itself, suffers wood rot damage when not painted often enough. A common problem is not realized doors have six sides that have to be painted.
  • The vertical board just below exterior doors (front door, side doors and sliding patio doors) is one of the worst for wood rot because rain hits the step and splashes back up onto this board.
  • Columns and other decorative trim around your home and especially near the ground (splashback similar to the front door) are prone to wood rot.
  • Decks attached to a house using a ledger board, are another common home repair that’s very stressful for homeowners and your handyman. When do-it-yourselfers install their decks, they don’t understand how critical flashing is to keep water away from the house.

We have a wide range of Melbourne timber repairs for your home renovations. Check out Hitch Property Constructions.

Different Ways to Repair Wood Rot Damage

This article isn’t meant to scare you. This article is to open your eyes to potential wood rot projects you want to prevent, or when they do happen, motivate you to make required repairs right away. There are numerous options available, and they’re gaining more visibility via YouTube. Here are factors to consider when deciding if you’re going to handle wood rot repairs yourself, or hire a professional with lots of experience.

  • A good home repair needs the right tools & materials you have the tools and experience working with the materials needed for the job?
  • Can you reach the area in need of repairs from the ground, or will the work need to be done from a ladder?
  • Most important, is there a potential impact on the structural integrity of a window, door or a load-bearing wall that supports the weight of your house?

Professional contractors can help homeowners in repairing rotted wood siding. If you suspect rot, contact them immediately so they can perform a detailed inspection of your house and provide you with different options in repairing wood siding rot to prevent further moisture penetration, wood rot or termite damage. 

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