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View Full Version : Best way to fix rotting wood on exterior door ?



John_L
09-08-2004, 07:05 PM
Just recently I looked at two jobs where the front door (exterior side) jams and sills were rotting. On one of the jobs a handyman was hired to make the repairs. It was obvious that all he did was sand the wood, apply some filler and repaint. The homeowner was not satisfied with the results as they can still see the rippling rotten wood. Both of the doors are about 10 years old, fully exposed to the elements and the wood sills were not pitched, allowing water to pool. The jams were rotten from the sash and continued 8” up the jam.

What have you found that works the best to make these types of repairs? In one case, removing the casing on the interior was not an option.

Swan LS
09-08-2004, 07:32 PM
The best fix would be replace doors and without that option you might try a product from a marine store called (Get Rot) it soaks into wood and makes it as hard as the wood was to start with. I would have a hard time doing a poor job because the owner will always rember who did it.

Kgphoto
09-08-2004, 09:21 PM
Can you take a picture so we can see it?

You could always apply bondo filler or the more expensive structural Wood Epox and sand it properly so there is no waves and then repaint. You could also cut out the sill and put a water return threshold to correct the water pooling situation. You could cut off 8 inches of the jambs, replace with custom milled sections(router, table saw) and then patch in the connection and paint.

Best thing would be to replace the jamb, sill and casing with all new. What can the budget afford?

Kirk G

smontgom
09-08-2004, 10:33 PM
http://www.abatron.com/

I've used their products to restore exterior door jambs that
were damaged by dog scratches, and subsequently, rotting
from the elements.

I use their LiquidWood as a primer. It behaves like a very thin
epoxy (which I think is exactly what it is), and when applied very liberally with a foam brush, the wood will soak it up. It is a 2-part product, just like epoxy, and smells like it, too.

They also make a product called Abosolv that is thinner for
LiquidWood, just in case the LiquidWood is too thick for
the rotted wood to soak up easily.

After it cures, I use WoodEpox to rebuild the the rotted wood.
WoodEpox is also a 2-part product, but parts 1 an 2 have the
feel of light-weight spackling. I knead the parts together until
mixed, then press them into place, molding them with my
fingers. I remember thinking the first time is used it, "this stuff
is so light-weight and soft that I'll be able to tap it with my
finger, and it will fall off." And was I ever wrong. It cured hard-
as-rock and wouldn't budge. I was impressed.

After the WoodEpox cures, I use a Fein Multitool to sand the
the WoodEpox back into the orginal shape of the jamb, then
repaint. It sands beautifully.

I really like this product, but it's expensive. For me, I can
justify the price, because I don't use it very often, and it
has a long shelf life. Look at some of the pictures on their
website; It's pretty impressive what some people have done
with their products.

They also advertise in Fine Homebuilding.

John_L
09-09-2004, 08:54 AM
Here are the photos of the one job.

http://www.jlmoldingdesign.com/rot.htm

Chad Fabry
09-09-2004, 10:19 AM
I've used a lot of the wood consolidator to restore antique sash and sills. I've fixed sash that were so rotted they fell apart when I removed the glass. When finished, they're so strong you can put one corner on the ground and can't rack them if you try. I don't use their filler though, I mix fine sawdust with the wood consolidator and use that. It's water proof and damn near indestructible. The only down side is the fact that it takes at least 24 hours to cure to the point where you can tool it with grinders or sanders.

On old homes I treat every window sill after stripping the paint, and believe me, after soaking up eight ounces of this stuff they'll never rot again.

After tooling, the repairs are invisible and permanent.

Kgphoto
09-09-2004, 10:54 AM
Now that we can see it, it looks like the best way is to remove the small pieces of wood a the bottom of the sidelights and replace them(cheaper than fixing) and use the bondo material on the door stop and properly sand and it will look fine and alse. Also caulk he seams. I still recomemend changing the sill and or adding a drip edge door shoe to the door.

Kirk

Bernie Lomax
09-09-2004, 07:37 PM
There's a great article in the most recent Wood magazine about this and using epoxy glues/waterproof glues.

Dick Seibert
09-09-2004, 09:01 PM
I'd sell them a whole new assembly or walk. The door itself has been replaced is way out of character for the house. Nothing you do is ever going to look right there.

dakota
09-09-2004, 10:07 PM
I have used a few consolidents with good results. Mostly where historical consideration prevented replacing.

I have had the best results by removing all lose , badly rotted wood and paint,then applying a product like liquid wood. A thin 2 part epoxy. That will soak in to the wood cells. I fill any voids with a 2 part epoxy with a filler like saw dust or beter yet dura-bond. much smother. Sand prime and paint. The problem is this is a fix and surounding wood will rot if the problems are not corrected. This is time consuming process and not inexpensive.

Erilisi1
09-28-2009, 11:40 PM
I replaced my door a couple of years ago. I had it professionally installed. I noticed that the wood on each side of the door is rotting again. The rot as at the bottom. I believe some of the moisture is reaching my subfloor. I am not prepared to pay for a new door as it cost me over $1,200 last time. so I am going to use the wood epoxy product and repair, especially since i caught it early. However, how do i stop the moisture build up or i am always going to deal with this??? I have attached a picture....

gburnet
09-28-2009, 11:50 PM
I replaced my door a couple of years ago. I had it professionally installed. I noticed that the wood on each side of the door is rotting again. The rot as at the bottom. I believe some of the moisture is reaching my subfloor. I am not prepared to pay for a new door as it cost me over $1,200 last time. so I am going to use the wood epoxy product and repair, especially since i caught it early. However, how do i stop the moisture build up or i am always going to deal with this??? I have attached a picture....

Epoxy is NOT going to stop moisture from reaching your subfloor. Unless there was a sill pan installed, you may be out of luck. To install a sill pan you need to (you guessed it) remove & replace the door.

BTW - you should have noticed this on your way in...http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=35112

joseph
09-29-2009, 12:00 AM
if you are not going to replace the door pop out what you can, get a multimaster ,sharpen your chisel and remove the rest of the rot .patch with titebond 3 and wood .prime it ,prime again and use lots of paint .any cracks or anything looking like a crack that needs caulk gets it . where i have to or for speed i use multimend [like bondo but not ] . These are those projects I do that look like are not repairable but surprise me and please my clients .
All i see is a threshold and some rotted jambs . a disolved threshold and a chance to save someone having to replace two sidelights and probable the door.

hdrider_chgo
09-29-2009, 11:03 AM
I second the use of Abatron products to fix this type of rot, HOWEVER-

Both of the situations shown are due to poor design/installation details. You MUST drain the water away, or any installation or repair is doomed to failure. You have to ask yourself, why did these installations fail in the first place, in such a short period of time?

Look at what you've got: The sill at the sidelights does not slope properly or extend past the trim that wraps around the bottom beneath the sill. (There is no drip edge). So the water is running right down the crack between the two. Sure, you can calk that crack. But it's never going to be water tight for any length of time. This improper detailing appears to be the same in both situations.

gburnet is correct also. You have to wonder about what is going on underneath this mess: Is the subfloor rotting out? Probably.

Maybe its time to call a real carpenter.

Dick Seibert
09-29-2009, 11:22 AM
Harley:

Looking at the picture it appears that it has one of those aluminum sills, those things, like most cheap sliding door sills, always leak becasue they put screws through the sill, sometimes you can't see them becasue they are covered by the threshold. Even if there is a sill pan the screws perforate the pan, at best the installers shoot some caulking into the holes before running the screws in, that may work for a few years but as soon as the caulking dries out the water is pouring through.

Erilisi1, do you see any screws down there?

Erilisi1
09-30-2009, 10:27 PM
Thanks...I am on the road, so i will look at when i get back...I will probably call a carpenter...It kills me because this home isn't that old, maybe 6 or 7 years old...I wish the installers would have notified me...

TSJHD1
10-01-2009, 02:13 PM
Another vote for the Abatron products. I got turned on to them by an historical architect who was very particular about how repairs were made to historical structures. Read up on the choices, and search the forums for details on how to use it (I didn't personally make the repairs, so I don't know the particulars of what works best, but I know it worked very well for our project.) You may find it's like a tool you wonder how you ever did without.

Tom

Ms. Fix-It
10-02-2009, 11:07 AM
I agree with Dick Seibert and hdrider; it looks like the original installation and door construction is the underlying problem. This type of sill won't work in direct elements over the long-term, although it is okay for covered applications. This can be especially exacerbated if it also is exposed to eastern and western sun exposure, and in hurricane areas, eastern and southern exposure for driving rains and winds. Likely that the sill pan is compromised. I would modify the sills under the sidelights to divert water effectively, and I might undercut the jambs slightly and seal the cut, leaving maybe 1/8" gap so as not to be noticable to help them dry out better if they have rot issues. It also kelps prevent wicking. I can't tell from the picture if the jambs are rotting.

colevalleytim
10-02-2009, 01:59 PM
I'd remove the jambs and sill, don't mess around with wood hardener/bondo. Get some flexible flashing/door wrap under the new jambs and sills. Get a pitched sill in there and new jambs, on top of the sills. caulk and paint

jblake
06-06-2010, 03:39 PM
I faced a similar problem with an "Iron City" steel door unit; wood frame, two side lights. Rot at bottom of hinge side as well as handle side. Had just bought the house & had quite a few expensive improvements, so did'nt want another major expense. I cut out rot, clear through the jamb to side light, making a step wise series of cuts to leave multiple "layers" that overlapped each other. Then took #1 Press treated wood(yellow pine, so thoroughly dried it first) & custom milled overlapping pieces to fit exactly/match all contours. Painted each piece seperately to seal against moisture(for dimensional stability) & screwed them in place with some liquid nails as a binder. Then used a 1/4"thick by 4" wide aluminum plate to further stiffen jamb top to bottom. This did cut down the clear opening of the doorway by 1/4" from each side(36" went to 35.5"),but not a big deal. Holding up well for 8 yrs now
Now jambs on side lights are beginning to rot at bottom. Likely can repair for now with rot stabilizer & filler,however cause is due to the door facing into the wind, near shore of Lake Erie, with howling driving wind/rain/snow that seems to penetrate everything.Facade is brick in good repair & well sealed. Any suggestions other than putting a roofed covering over the doorway to protect from the elements? Its a shame they don't build a door frame that holds up to weather. Every home in my neighborhood whose door faces the same direction without a protective cover has the same problem. I am leary of spending a lot of money just to get a new door that will suffer the same fate.
Jim

Awningman
02-28-2014, 01:06 PM
I replaced my door a couple of years ago. I had it professionally installed. I noticed that the wood on each side of the door is rotting again. The rot as at the bottom. I believe some of the moisture is reaching my subfloor. I am not prepared to pay for a new door as it cost me over $1,200 last time. so I am going to use the wood epoxy product and repair, especially since i caught it early. However, how do i stop the moisture build up or i am always going to deal with this??? I have attached a picture....

I have hundreds of homeowners with this problem. They call us as a
last resort. We put up a nice custom canvas awning, w/gutters etc.
I had one home on the golf course that had five sets of double french
doors with side lites replaced. The builder put these in with doors
opening outward (not smart). We had to replace all five sets changing to opening inward.

Brian Campbell
03-01-2014, 03:26 PM
I have hundreds of homeowners with this problem. They call us as a
last resort. We put up a nice custom canvas awning, w/gutters etc.
I had one home on the golf course that had five sets of double french
doors with side lites replaced. The builder put these in with doors
opening outward (not smart). We had to replace all five sets changing to opening inward.

Unless the doors were designed to swing in and were installed backwards, outswing doors have several advantages over inswing. With the proper door installed correctly, outswings are more secure, durable and more weathertight.

http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/15212/inswing-or-outswing-doors

Brian Campbell
03-01-2014, 03:44 PM
For Abatron and other Epoxy users, I have a few tips for you. With deep fills, your working time is much shorter than with a thin top coat. This is counterintuitive, but epoxy setup rates are accelerated by heat and the epoxy curing reaction gives off heat.

So thin coats which create less heat and dissipate the heat more quickly actually remain workable for longer. This allows you to tool a profile more accurately so you have less sanding to do later.

This is a good reason for a deep epoxy fill coat that sets up fast and then a top coat of epoxy or other two part exterior wood filler you like working with.

Abatron is more expensive than some other epoxies, but it is so much nicer to work with (especially in thin top coat applications). I use a cheaper fill coat of Elmers structural epoxy. It tends to go on rough, but that is just what you want in a scratch coat. It gives you a nice rough surface for the top coat to key into.

For some molding repairs or replacements I make two profile knives. One for the scratch coat and one for the topcoat. This may be overkill for a door jamb repair, but this chair rail repair is what I have photos of and it gets the point across.

I have an article on this going to print soon, so I can post a link when it does, if anyone is interested in more details.2964529646