Most of the houses on my block are more than 100 years old,
so as you can imagine, they need a lot of maintenance and repair. I was walking
the dog the other day and ran into one of my neighbors who owns a classic old
house that has two-story fluted wood columns supporting the front porches. As I
was leaning against one of the old columns chatting with him, I noticed that
the trim around the bottom of the column was rotting. I mentioned to him that
with the right material, fixing the rot is an easy repair that I could show him
how to do.
The key to repairing rotted trim
pieces easily is to use two-part epoxy putty. I like Abatron brand's WoodEpox. To
buy it online or locate a dealer, go to abatron.com. Epoxy putty is really
expensive, so you'll want to limit repairs to items that are difficult or expensive
to replace, such as windowsills or some moldings. Basically, to repair or
replace a section of rotted wood, you scrape or chisel out as much of the rot
as possible, and then soak the remainder with a liquid epoxy to consolidate it.
Then you mix the epoxy putty and mold it to the shape of the missing wood. When
the putty has hardened to the consistency of soap, you can carve and sand it to
fine-tune the shape. Read this article for details on how to do wood repairs with epoxy.
I directed my neighbor to the article
on our Web site and gave him a few pointers on using the epoxy to repair the
column base. But I suspect that in the next few weeks, I'll gather up a few tools
and some epoxy and give him a hands-on tutorial.
— Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor
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