How to Repair Dry Rot

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How to Repair Dry Rot

Dry rot is the result of a fungus that spreads through wood and eats away at it. Despite its name, dry rot requires moisture in order to grow. When it affects structural beams in a building, dry rot is a serious problem that needs professional treatment. More commonly, however, it affects doorjambs and window frames, where it looks unsightly and compromises the stability of the fixtures. Repairing dry rot involves finding and eliminating the source of moisture that allows dry rot to grow, removing the rotten wood and treating the good wood, and then filling in the holes with wood filler. All the epoxies and materials that consumers need to repair dry rot are available at home improvement stores and on eBay.

Find the Source of Water

The first step is to find the source of moisture causing the dry rot. Without eliminating the source of moisture, a repair is a waste of time and money as dry rot is likely to grow even faster once epoxies trap moisture inside the wood. In many cases, the water source is rainwater that pools in a certain corner of the window frame or splashes the bottom of the door frame. If this is the case, then creating a small downward channel so that water consistently drains out can prevent future rot.

Remove Rotted Wood

Completely removing all trace of the fungus that causes dry rot is quite difficult since the fungus is capable of sending out spores and microfilaments more than a metre away from its main body. However, as long as the wood is dry, the fungus remains dormant and eventually dies.

Unlike the fungus, the rotted wood is fairly easy to remove. Homeowners should simply break away all parts that crumble. Then, they should carve out a little more of the wood with a knife or similar metal tool to make sure that only good wood remains. Finally, blow-drying the surface can ensure the surface it is absolutely dry and clean.

Apply Wood Hardener

The next step is to apply a wood hardener. This liquid soaks through the wood to strengthen and harden it. It also forms a surface to which the wood filler later bonds. Application usually involves soaking the inside wood surface with the liquid, using a natural bristle brush or a syringe. The dry time for the hardener depends on the brand of the product and the size of the repair.

Cover Sides and Fill with Wood Filler

Once the wood hardener dries completely, it is time to fill in the space that the rotted wood has left. Homeowners should cover the sides with pieces of wood or metal covered with lubricant on the inside so that a putty or epoxy can fill the space correctly on the inside.

Wood fillers come in various forms. Many are two-part epoxy glues that the homeowner has to mix together and then apply to the hole with a putty knife. The drying time often depends on the outside temperature. The curing times for Fill-It Epoxy Filler, as the table below illustrates, are an example of what one can expect from an epoxy glue.

Curing Times

38 degrees Celsius

21 degrees Celsius

13 degrees Celsius

4 degrees Celsius

Pot life

30 minutes

90 minutes

3 hours

6 hours

Cured to sand

3 hours

8 hours

16 hours

32 hours

Full cure

10 hours

24 hours

2 days

4 days

'Pot life' refers to the amount of time the glue is workable after mixing. Anyone performing the repair must wear gloves and face protection because epoxy glues are toxic.

Remove Forms and Sand to Shape

The last step is to remove the sides and sand the filler to shape with a sander. All brands of fillers dry differently, but the best time to shape and sand the filler is usually before it has dried completely. Check for a hard rubbery texture before cutting or sanding to size.

How to Buy Wood Hardeners and Fillers on eBay

On eBay, you can easily find deals on wood hardeners and fillers, as well as other tools necessary to repair dry rot. Some companies even sell complete kits including putty knives and syringes to complete the job. To find tools and materials on eBay, simply enter a search term like ' wood hardener' in the search box on any eBay page. Homeowners can, and should, complete dry rot repair while the damage is minimal because dry rot damages the structural integrity of wood. Luckily, with eBay, homeowners can find all the necessary materials quickly and affordably.

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