WOOD DAMAGE

Does this look familiar... This is a home in Long Beach, CA., with more then 50 years of neglect.

Damaged wood is the result of years of neglect, wood-rot, termites or a combination thereof. Depending on the project, prior to jumping in and starting the restoration process, it's critical to correct the cause first. At Appease Builders, we've become experts on identifying and isolating the root cause, then proceeding to recommend the process of restoration. Below, I'm going to be referring to three different projects and detailing not only the cause, but also the corrections made to eliminate the problem(s) and my process to restore the damage.

WOOD ROT & TERMITE REPAIR

TERMITE & WOOD-ROT

 

This is a client that had an issue with a lot of wood-rot, located at there entry of the home. At first it appeared not to be that bad, until we started digging and realized that there was a lot of deep wood-rot and some old termite damage.

When we find a termite issue, our first suggestion, is to contact a termite company that deals directly with both treating the problem areas and routinely managing and controlling the termite issue. in this case, the customer had already addressed that issue.

Another issue that was found to be an opportunity, was (Slide 1)... here you can clearly see where the sloped roof on the right would cascade water down onto the area that was found to be badly damage by wood-rot. So our first step, was to mount a gutter system on right drop to catch the water and diverting it down away from the left and away from the foundation.

Now to correct the damage.

Step One - Dig out ALL the wood-rot.

Step Two - Spray ALL the wood left with wood hardener and let it set till dry.

Step Three - Using plated or deck screws, screw into the wood to form a pattern of screws that extend out at different lengths... depending on the depth of the damaged area, the length of screws will vary.

Step Four - Now the fun begins. Start prepping the bondo in small batches and if you haven't worked with bondo before, I would suggest asking a professional or even referring to a you-tube video. There is an art to working with bondo and knowing how to shape it prior to cure. Also, it's critical to know how to mix it. Not using enough hardener will delay the drying process, but using too much, could cause the bondo to crack in time.

Step Five - Sand, prime, prime again and paint. Sometime an extra layer of paint would be nice, but it's more important to have two layers of primer. If the customer can afford a second layer of paint... even better.

WOOD-ROT

 

This client had (11) 6x6 beams as pictured, that were damaged by water. The gutter system that you see pictured was put in place by another installer 1 year prior and also attempted to fix the wood-rot by using  plaster and caulking. The result, was the elements destroying the plaster and caulking to the point of causing additional damage and chunks of plaster falling right out.

In this case, the cause of the problem was repaired (putting in the gutter system) yet when we look at the repair that was done to the wood, we were able to see that they were unaware of how to work with wood.

 

Now to correct the damage.

Step One - Dig out ALL the wood-rot.

Step Two - Spray ALL the wood left with wood hardener and let it set till dry.

Step Three - Using plated or deck screws, screw into the wood to form a pattern of screws that extend out at different lengths... depending on the depth of the damaged area, the length of screws will vary.

Step Four - Now the fun begins. Start prepping the bondo in small batches and if you haven't worked with bondo before, I would suggest asking a professional or even referring to a you-tube video. There is an art to working with bondo and knowing how to shape it prior to cure. Also, it's critical to know how to mix it. Not using enough hardener will delay the drying process, but using too much, could cause the bondo to crack in time.

Step Five - Sand, prime, prime again and paint. Sometimes, an extra layer of paint would be nice, but it's more important to have two layers of primer. If the customer can afford a second layer of paint... even better.

NEGLECT, TERMITES & WOOD-ROT

 

Here is were I leaned how to work with wood! The client was in this case a friend, that was an experienced cabinet maker and a top rated craftsman. His mother had pasted and left him her home. Due to her illness, she was unable to do any repairs to her home for years and when she pasted, there was an extreme amount of repairs and upgrades to do.

Neglect, termites and lots of wood-rot. The roof was the worst in the neighborhood and truly a miracle that it didn't leak.

Our fist task was the roof and addressing all the slats that were cracked, rotted and just in horrible shape. Re-roofing was the culprit and then to addressed the rafters.

So my partner at the time suggested cutting off the rafters and toe-nailing in new ones. But my client (my friend) had other ideas. He said no, why do that when we can repair them... we both looked at him and said ...really! But he was serious and we went to work. (I think he used in total 7 gallons of bondo) and there were some rafters that were recreated from scratch. Talk about a learning experience, one that I've used ever since.

When you restore wood with bondo (I mean, doing it the right way) will last you for years and years to come. It's almost the same concept of having your deck made out of composite materials (Like TREX). Lets face it, termites don't like plastic and plastic doesn't rot.

I don't think there is any need to repeat the five steps, as they don't really change.

Here are some pointers:

  • Wear protection (plastic gloves and a mask).

  • Be patient with the process, don't rush it.

  • Work with SMALL batches.

  • Don't side step.

  • Use a really good primer. I use the mold  killer primer. It's expensive, but worth every penny.

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