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.

 

Repair rotted wood with epoxy
Using epoxy is a simple way to repair rotted wood.

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