Wood rot!

Brooke here.

When the gutters are removed, the wood rot comes out to play...
When the gutters are gone, the wood rot comes out to play…

What a delightfully eventful summer that was! I don’t know about you guys, but it seemed as though our friends and family drifted from crisis to crisis, like polar bears trying to find a place to bash a seal over the head in an ever-shrinking ice field…

And now summer is over, and it’s time to beat life back into the blog. Whee!

One of the larger projects was replacing the gutters. There was record rainfall this summer, and entire sections of the gutters decided NopeNopeNope! and fell straight off the house.  For fairly obvious reasons, really: when they fell off, we finally saw the wood rot problem.

Twice. We had this house inspected twice

We Hired some Dudes and they came out and fixed the rotting sections under the gutters, but there were other areas of wood rot that their scope of work didn’t cover. The worst of these was under the downspouts, where there was no paint and, in some places, no wood left.

Rotted section before the patch job.
Rotted section before the patch job.

I tackled the repair for these rotted sections.  Now, we’ve got vertical board-and-batten siding.  A major benefit of this siding method is that under normal conditions when a board is damaged, you remove the batten, pop out the damaged board, replace it with a new one, stick the batten strips back in place, and move on with your lives. However: (1) We haven’t done any replacements to the exterior wood yet and we have no idea if “normal conditions” apply (based on prior experience, we think not); and (2) There’s a freaking power cord in the center of that one board.  Whee, indeed.

So, patch job.  A big one, true, but a patch job is a patch job, and if you don’t rush it, it can be as solid as replacing the board. In the first stage, I used three different layers of Minwax High Performance Wood Filler. This was my first time using this product and I love it. It’s a two-part epoxy compound and is crazy-runny when compared to other wood fillers, so I decided to fur out the interior of the hole with wood strips, patch that first layer, let it dry, and then build up and out from that. At the end of this first stage, I drilled screws into the dried epoxy to provide greater stability for the next two layers of epoxy.

Wood repair (1) with Minwax High Performance Wood Filler
Wood repair with Minwax High Performance Wood Filler


Stuff of nightmares.
Pro tip: This is probably not how the pros do it.

In the next stage, I switched to DAP Plastic Wood, a highly-rated plastic wood filler to firm out the bond and start adding wood texture. Again, this was the first time I had used this product. I was not as impressed with this product as the Minwax, mainly because I opened the 4oz can and found half of it to be air.

Haven't done anything with this can beside stir it. I spent a long time wandering around, shouting, "Where's my two ounces!" And then our elderly neighbor called the cops.
Haven’t done anything with this can beside stir it. I spent a long time wandering around, shouting, “Where’s my two ounces!” And then our elderly neighbor called the cops.

Despite the lack of… well, the lack of product… the DAP worked well.  It bonded to the Minwax with a little prodding, and the two of them sanded beautifully.

My wood filler brings all the old men with vintage Ford trucks to the yard...
My wood filler brings all the old men with vintage Ford trucks to the yard…

There was one real challenge to this project, and it came right at the end. The siding is made from rough-cut boards, so if the patched area is to match the wood, it needs to have a rough-cut finish. I used a large-grit sanding tool to flatten out the epoxies, then added some more filler to do an arty-type rough-cut wood texture on it.  But when the paint finally went on, it still looked too smooth to me.


It’s fine for now, and the house doesn’t have that whole Golden Corral for Termites feel to it anymore, but it’s still not quite right.  I’ll go back and try the arty stuff again when I find a decent piece of rough-cut scrap wood to use as a pattern edge for the putty knife.


8 thoughts on “Wood rot!

  1. This is bringing back all kinds of memories of my seven summers spent fixing catastrophic rot on stained glass window frames. We used West System 2-part marine epoxy, with colloidal silica and microfibers as filler. I pray you never get to that point, but hey, if you ever want an exhaustive rundown of our process, I’d be happy to oblige.

    I feel like you should arrange some sort of haunting for the dudes who inspected your house and didn’t catch all this stuff. Maybe the ghosts of all your black widows or something.

  2. From more than 5 feet away from the patch, no one will ever notice it. You only notice it because you just did it. In a month you won’t really notice it either.

    Is that wire rated for outdoors? It should probably be in a conduit… just sayin’.

    re the half-empty can – people have been known to buy a can of stuff, neatly use some of it, and then return the can. Always pick a couple of them up to make sure they are the same weight before buying.

  3. I’m going to try the Minwax High Performance Wood Filler on a rotted shingle (yes, we have shingled siding, and no, we don’t live on Cape Cod) by my back door. Thanks for describing your process – I’m hopeful it can put off the full siding replacement on my house for 18 months!

  4. At times like these I’m very glad my house is brick, and has no siding. Though it may have to be repointed in a decade or so… I think it looks quite well, though actual replacement my now have gotten more difficult.

  5. “it seemed as though our friends and family drifted from crisis to crisis”

    Ugh. This whole year has been one suckerpunch to the gut after another, usually each coming while we’re still winded from the last one. Yes. 2013 is an evil year and needs to die. I am re-writing the calendar so that the end of the year is…today, how ’bout that? From now on, all years end on Oct 5th and Oct 6th is the first day of the new year.

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