No matter how well designed your roof, no matter how extensive your system of gutters, the exterior of your home will always remain vulnerable to the threat of water damage. Thus, it is common to find areas where rot has eaten away at wood trim. Luckily, such rot may be successfully removed and repaired. This article will present an overview of the wood rot repair process.
The Big Picture
Wood rot is caused by a diverse array of bacteria and fungi. These species are only able to survive in wood that is completely water saturated. Therefore, the first stage of the repair process will be to thoroughly remove any areas of rot. Next a chemical agent known as wood hardener will need to be applied, to keep any left behind microorganisms from proliferating. Last, the original shape of the wood will be restored using a substance known as epoxy filler.
Scraping away rotted areas is a fairly self-explanatory process. It can be accomplished using a utility knife or a 5-in-1 painting tool. Don't be scared of removing too much wood--it's always better to err on the side of excess. In any case, you should remove as much rot as necessary to reach solid wood.
In a perfect world, it would be possible to completely eliminate the problematic organisms at the heart of rot. In reality, however, these unwanted pests are simply too small and too widespread. That's why it is so important to apply a wood hardener after scraping away your rot. This substance will form an impenetrable barrier, thus blocking any lingering fungi from producing more rot.
Wood hardener, also known as a consolidant or penetrant, is a liquid substance. Using a paintbrush, apply it liberally to the hard wood revealed by your rot removal efforts. A second or even a third coat is recommended to ensure that the hardener seeps deeply enough into the wood's pores. Allow the hardener to dry before moving on.
Epoxy Wood Filler
This substance comes in the form of a thick, malleable putty, one similar to modeling clay. Press a large chunk of it into place. Then use a chisel, putty knife, or utility blade--whichever tool you feel the most comfortable with--to shape it so that it matches the adjacent sections of wood. Once you have achieved the desired form, let the filler harden. At that point, you can safely paint over it using an exterior latex paint. Your wood should now be protected against further water damage.
If you'd rather leave this work to professionals, contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration.