Rotten Wood

How do you preserve rotten wood?

Rotting wood is easy to miss, and can cause irreversible, widespread damage to your entire home. Rotting wood spreads quickly, similar to rust on a car. Because of this, you should replace rotting wood in your home as quickly as possible. Also ensure all the rotted wood is removed, and that no traces are left behind, or else the surrounding area will begin rotting again.

Wood begins to rot whenever some moisture stays on the wood for a time long enough for fungi to grow, which starts to deteriorate the wood. With Florida’s high humidity, if your wood structure is not properly maintained, then rotted wood is inevitable. 

When dry wood makes contact with moisture or condensation in unventilated areas, there is a good chance that wood decay will occur. Common sources include faulty plumbing, leaky downspouts and rain leaks. The decomposition of wood is not a sudden occurrence; rather, the damage is gradual and remains inconspicuous until the final stages.

Your first reaction might be to replace the wood. But, have you considered restoring the wood instead? Replacing wood can be an expensive and time-consuming project. Depending on how far the fungus has spread, it could be impossible to replace the wood.

One of the effects of wood decay is the growth of fungus, which spread quickly and destroys the wood. Cutting out rotted areas is one possibility. However, this process might not remove all of the infected areas. Unless the fungus is removed completely, the rotting will continue until floor break or doors fall.

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

How Do You Prevent Wood Rot?

You prevent wood rot by keeping the wood dry. Look around your home at the wood that’s always dry. You never see this wood rotting.

Wood rot is like the fire triangle. You need fuel, heat and oxygen to create fire.

You need fungi, wood and water to create wood rot. Remove water from the equation, and there’s no rot.

Rotten Wood

What Should I Do Before Repairing the Rot?

You need to stop the water problem before you attempt to repair wood rot. It’s imperative that you hunt down and eliminate the water source that’s causing the rot.

If the wood has been placed too close to the soil, a sidewalk, a patio, a roof, etc., you may have to re-engineer the situation, so the wood doesn’t get wet, or if it gets wet, it dries rapidly.

Should The Wood Dry Out Before Repairing the Rot?

Once you have the water situation solved, then the wood needs to dry completely. This can take days, weeks or months depending on the season. Blowing air across the wood will accelerate the drying time. Be very careful about using a heat gun or other artificial heat source to dry the wood. Wood that’s rotted and dry ignites very readily and can burn fiercely.

Does The Wood Hardener Strengthen The Wood Rot?

Yes, these liquids, once dry, add considerable strength to the rotted wood fibres. Using this milky liquid is the first step in wood rot repair. The second step is filling holes and gaps with special wood epoxy.

Should I Read the Epoxy Instructions?

As with any repair products, you have to read all the instructions on the product labels. What you’ll discover with most, or all, of the chemical and epoxy repair products is the wood needs to be dry. You want this anyway so the good wood doesn’t rot further!

What is Wood Rot Prevention Tips?

Preventing wood rot is not as hard as one might think, but it requires a mixture of common sense and best practices. Purchase lumber that has built-in rot resistance if possible. Redwood and cedar are exterior wood species that have natural chemicals that stave off wood rot except in the worst conditions.

Beware of hybridized lumber that’s now grown by lumber companies if possible. This lumber has vast quantities of springwood in it. Springwood is the lighter-coloured band of wood when you look at the end of a piece of lumber. It’s softer and readily absorbs water.

How to Restore Rotted Timber

Epoxy is made up of two components that harden when mixed. With a consistency like dough, it can be moulded by hand but will hold its shape as it hardens. It bonds well to timber and holds up against the weather. When dry, the filler can be sanded, primed and painted. And it also takes stain in a similar way to softwoods such as pine. Before staining, create fake grain lines by cutting into it with a utility knife. The timber-like illusion helps to disguise the patched-up work.

STEP 1: Remove the rot

Probe with a narrow chisel or screwdriver to find damaged areas (rotten spots are noticeably softer). Rot often occurs under paint, so don’t assume it is sound because the surface looks good. Gouge or scrape away large chunks with a chisel.

STEP 2: Soak the timber

Apply timber preservative. Repeat until the timber won’t absorb any more (usually three to four applications). Wipe away excess. TIP: Drill holes into the area to improve penetration. Filling holes is easier with a nozzled squeeze bottle.

STEP 3: Apply the epoxy filler

Rebuild missing areas with epoxy filler. For deep holes, drive screws partly into the timber to anchor the epoxy. Smooth filler with a putty knife before it hardens, dipping the knife in epoxy solvent or lacquer thinner first to stop the filler sticking

Rebuilding wood

Protect timber from rain for a week or so before applying the epoxy. Rough up the timber with coarse sandpaper or a wire brush – epoxy sticks best to bare, rough timber. Paint exterior repairs within three days as UV rays degrade the epoxy. Soak severely damaged timber with liquid epoxy. Use a brush and squeeze bottle to push it deep into the area. Apply several times while the previous coat is still tacky.

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

How to Repair Wood Rot

There is a do-it-yourself alternative to replacing wood: repairing damaged areas with epoxy. Most repairs can be completed in a few hours and can be simple to follow once you learn the process. Based on the extent of repairs needed, the tools you need include a drill, hammer, chisel, putty knife, chemical-resistant gloves, wood files and rasps. In addition to the epoxy that is available at the local home improvement store, you will also need 80 and 120 grits sandpaper, wood consolidant and a small squeeze bottle.

Generally, this step-by-step process works best for cosmetic repairs. If there are structural concerns with a rotted wood area, a special type of epoxy is required.

This article will show you in three easy steps the process of using liquid and putty-like epoxy material. You will learn how to mix the epoxy, apply it and shape it to fill the damaged area. With this process, you will be able to:

• Stop the progression of fungi and wood decay

• Restore damaged wood

• Add a layer of protection to your investment for many years

Continue reading to learn how!

Step One: Investigate, Clean and Prep Area to be Restored

The first thing you want to do is investigate the area where the rot is occurring. Probe the surrounding area where the wood is damaged with a screwdriver. If the wood is soft and easily penetrated, it is rotten and should be reinforced with epoxy.

Once you have located the cause, begin removing the rotted wood. Strip off the old paint with caution since it could contain lead. Use a lead-safe paint removal technique. Using a chisel or screwdriver, gouge out the rotted wood.

Next, use the drill to make several 1/4″ holes around the area to be repaired. The holes are necessary so that moisture can escape and have a reservoir for the epoxy consolidant that is applied later to soak into water-damaged areas. Separate approximately one-inch apart and drill without going through the wood. If you make a mistake and drill through the wood, use painter’s putty or oil clay to plug the hole.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing the epoxy consolidant. Squeeze the mixture into each hole and onto the wood surface. Use a small disposable brush to begin working the consolidant into the wood. Continue until the wood is completely saturated.

Cover the area with a loose-fitting plastic tent to protect it from outside elements. Drying usually takes about one week but dries quicker on dry, sunny days. However, you do not have to wait one week before you can begin using the epoxy filler. You can mix the filler and work in the first layer with a putty knife, which is discussed more in step two.

Step Two: Apply and Shape Epoxy to Area

Now, you are ready to mix the epoxy, fill the wood cavity and shape the wood area. Take a golf ball-sized portion of the epoxy wood filler parts A and B, and mix both with a putty knife. The mixture should be blended after two or three minutes. Using the putty knife, fill the wood cavity with the epoxy filler. Press the epoxy hard in the areas to get a secure bond and to make sure all voids are filled.

Heat accelerates the hardening process of the epoxy; you have a 30-minute window in a 70-degree environment. Work in a shaded area to mix and apply the epoxy since coolness slows down the hardening process. A spotlight or hair dryer works well to speed up the hardening if necessary.

TIP: Make sure you label lids and mixing sticks to keep unwanted materials separate. For instance, if you put the lid from part A onto part B’s container, it will become glued. Always start with mixing boards and clean containers to avoid unwanted reactions. Contaminating new epoxy with an old mixture will decrease your working time.

Make sure you have on chemical-resistant rubber gloves to protect your hands. Overfill the wood area with the epoxy mixture and shape it using your fingers. Overfilling will ensure that there is enough to shape.

Use a scrap piece of wood to pat the epoxy as it is being shaped. Do not worry about making a perfect shape and add more filler if necessary. If the weather is warm, the epoxy will firm up in approximately three to four hours. The area might need to harden overnight in cooler weather.

Work in a well-ventilated area when using epoxy solvents.

Step Three: Smooth and Add Finishing Touch

The final step in repairing the wood area with epoxy is smoothing. You are ready to smooth out the area in a more defined shape and add a finishing touch. Test the epoxy with your fingernail. If you cannot make a dent, it is hard enough to file. Hardened epoxy is pliable for shaping and sanding with regular woodworking tools.

Roughout the contour with a plane or coarse rasp. This removes large quantities of the material before you begin refining the shape. If you accidentally remove too much at once, you can add an extra layer of epoxy and repeat step two. Use the surrounding wood shape as a guide. Begin working on the details once the shape emerges. Generally, you may need half-round, round or flat wood files based on the shape you want to recreate.

Fine-tune the area and smooth the epoxy with sandpaper once the shape you have the exact shape. Protect yourself with eye gear and a dust mask while sanding. Afterwards, vacuum excess dust from the area and brush a primer over the epoxy. Spread primer the surrounding area of bare wood. Seal joints with polyurethane caulk in between separate parts before the final coat are applied.

Usually, you will need two coats of top-quality acrylic paint to finish the repair. Inspect the area periodically and add more caulk or paint as necessary. With a good paint job, your wood epoxy repair might outlast surrounding wood that was not treated.

Why should I use epoxy to repair deteriorated wood?

Epoxy can save lots of existing wood that has partial decay. Often this wooden fabric is valuable for its durability, character, antique value or because replacement is either difficult, expensive or may not last long. Epoxy can sometimes be an easier solution that could last longer than replacement.

Over the years, people have commonly used materials like mortar, concrete, wood putty, caulk and the like to fill and repair rotted portions of wood on houses, cabins, trim and furniture. Although these repairs solved the current problems, they all presented additional difficulties sometimes within a few short years. Each of them contained some form of vehicle to transport the filler material, such as water in the case of mortar or concrete, and solvents in the wood fillers and caulks. The solubles in these products are prone to evaporation and thus shrinkage as the age of the material. As the shrinkage occurs, adhesion is lost between the patch and the adjacent wood creating a crack or void which can trap moisture, harbour infestation, promote deterioration and eventually lead to the failure of the repair as the filler falls out.

ConServ 100 and 200 Epoxies are made from a “flexible” formulation of virgin epoxy resins with no solvents to off-gas or evaporate. This makes for a very stable “non-shrinkable” patch filler, which is capable of flexing and adapting to daily and seasonal temperature changes over its entire life. ConServ Epoxy 200 series patch is pliable enough to modify and trim with conventional carpentry tools. The patch most closely imitates the density and properties of real wood, being flexible enough to move slightly with the wood. Over thirty years of successful field applications give ConServ Epoxies the reputation and expertise you can count on.

Do I have to remove all of the rotted wood from the affected area?

No, ConServ Epoxy Consolidant 100 is thin enough to penetrate deep into the wood fibre if enough coats are applied. This creates a semi-solid mass capable of withstanding abuse. We recommend removal of all materials lying loosely about the decayed area and or easily stripped away using a HEPA vacuum and simple means such as a scraper, wire brush or the like. It is not necessary to get down to bare new wood to ensure the success of the patch. However, it is recommended to get down as close to bare wood as possible, especially in areas that won’t allow for good saturation of the 100, such as overhead areas which work against gravity, therefore limiting saturation. In these situations, an additional thin mix of 200 (slurry of A, B, C, and a little bit of D) can be applied and allowed to soak into the overhead areas. Then the layer of thicker 200 can be applied. Use common sense to remove what appears weak and allow the consolidant to stabilize the rest. Your goal is to apply or introduce as much consolidant 100 as possible to the softwood. The deeper you can penetrate, the better the repair will be. Subsequent applications over a period of several hours will promote greater saturation while drilling holes in and around the affected area can enhance penetration in some situations.

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

Why is timber preservation important?

Timber has been used as a structural material for millennia and is in many ways ideal for the job. It can be described as strong, beautiful and sustainable wood is good! However, wood-rotting fungi and the wood-boring larvae of certain insects (also known as woodworm) feed by breaking down wood cells and, if left unchecked, ultimately destroy the timber in your home. Fungi and woodworm consequently threaten the structural integrity of your home, leading to substantial financial costs and potential danger for inhabitants.

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