How to Fix a Rotten Wood Column

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Wood rot is a common problem that many homeowners will need to deal with. It occurs when wood is subject to wet conditions for a prolonged period, causing a wood rot fungus to grow on the surface and then inside the wood. This actually decays the wood. Extensive wood rot can cut chunks out of wood in your home. Use an epoxy filler to replace rotted wood only after solving the moisture issue in your home by installing better ventilation or a dehumidifier. Replace a wood column if it is a load-bearing column as wood rot will weaken the wood's strength.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood stripper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Paint scraper
  • Chisel
  • Hammer
  • Drill with 1/4-inch bit
  • Epoxy wood filler
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Brush wood stripper onto the wood and let it sit for several minutes before scraping it, along with any paint and finishes, off with a paint scraper. Rinse the wood with clear water but don't soak it. Allow the wood to completely dry.

  • Remove as much of the rotten wood as possible with a chisel and hammer. Removing affected wood will prevent it from falling off later.

  • Drill 1/4 inch-wide holes through the wood around the affected area, spacing the holes 1 inch apart and covering the area around the wood that is not rotten but that appears water damaged. Drill as deeply as possible without drilling through the column. You will later fill these holes with epoxy to help prevent wood rot. Wipe off the wood and let it dry completely.

  • Mix epoxy wood filler according to the manufacturer's directions. This normally consists of mixing two parts and letting it sit for several minutes. It should have a thick consistency.

  • Press the epoxy wood filler into the wood column to replace the rotted wood. Press it into the holes. Scrape off excess wood filler with the paint scraper but leave a little more rather than less to have enough epoxy for the shaping process. Begin shaping the epoxy on the column with your fingers as it is drying. Let the epoxy dry completely according to the manufacturer's directions.

  • Sand the epoxy with 80-grit sandpaper to blend the filled area with the rest of the column. Sand again with 120-grit sandpaper to further blend. Sand along the grain on the wood. Paint and seal the wood as desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice caution when using wood stripper as it is extremely caustic. Keep it away from children and pets.

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