Help- rotted out wood at base of door jam problem

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On 7/19/2014 6:28 AM, dpb wrote:

It's shaped the way I want it - it would have taken longer build a form than it did to just get it done by hand with a couple supports.
And how do you pour into a form that extends up to the wood trim and is 1.5 inches across? As thick as qwikcrete is, I know there aren't any empty spaces in there because I hand apllied it and stood over it until setup.
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On 07/19/2014 8:51 AM, DaveT wrote:

Well, it's your house...
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On 07/19/2014 8:51 AM, DaveT wrote: ...

I'd probably have pulled the existing brick mould and only poured a few inches above the walk level on each side and finished that as described before with a sloped top and rounded edge. Then I'd have repaired/replaced the moulding.
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On 07/19/2014 1:17 PM, dpb wrote:

"Quikrete" is a trademarked brand name for various premixed concrete products. How thick they are is totally dependent on the amount of water used; just like concrete you mix it to the consistency needed for the pour to be made. In a small area as I suggested with a sand mix, it would be mixed fairly wet and one would use a poker rod to ensure filling forms entirely, just like pouring a basement wall in smaller scale. It would have been about a 30 minute job forming and pouring each as suggested I'd guess, roughly.
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Hi Dave,

Unfortunately, this is a very common problem. Water leaks down around the sill plate, then wicks up the bottom of the door frame causing rot. The entry door on our garage and the back door of our house both rotted the same way, and now the front door at my in-laws is rotting too. The typical time frame seems to be around 5-7 years, even with proper maintenance.
I used a two step approach to fix ours:
1. I measured the existing door (hinges, latches, etc.) and ordered a new door frame made of composite materials. The cost was about $125 per door, but the composite frames won't rot the way the finger-jointed wood did. I ordered mine through Lowes.
2. Before I installed the replacement door frame, I installed a jamsill liner (http://jamsill.com /) in the rough opening. This ensures that any water that does find it's way past the door frame gets directed outside the building where it won't rot the subfloor, joists, or studs.
You could try patching your existing frame with composite lumber, but the repair will be difficult to install and seal up well. Even with a concrete floor, your structure (sole plates, studs, wall coverings) will still be vulnerable to the water that makes it past the door frame.
Better to do it once and do it right!
The only downside to the composite frame is when it comes time to paint. I used a primer made for plastics, then had to apply several coats of paint to cover the white door frame.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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It does. I still suggest Bondo.
All thresholds like that will inevitably lead to rot in the vertical jambs because they butt against the jamb and there is nothing to stop water.
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I've used it for a long time and never a problem. Consider: it is mostly talc and polyester resin. Talc is virtually non-absorbent, polyester resin was used for many years to lay up fiberglass boats (maybe still, don't know).
Is a filled epoxy better? I'm sure it is. It also takes hours rather than minutes to set up. Then there is the cost - getting to be true of Bondo too :(
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On 07/14/2014 3:48 PM, dadiOH wrote:

??? Moisture absorption is the whole point of talcum powder...essentially 100% talc.
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It will blot up moisture because it is in a powder form and because the surface of talc is hydrophobic. However, that doesn't mean the moisture is absorbed...most any fine material - even quartz sand - will "blot up" water. That hydrophobic surface goes away when it is encased in something. Like polyester resin.
The other property of talc that makes it useful for hygienic purposes is that the crystalline structure is such that it reduces friction - powdered talc feels greasy - and will consequently reduce chafing.
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On 07/15/2014 10:05 AM, dadiOH wrote:

Theoretically, I suppose. I'll only repeat that my experience using bondo for structural applications has not been good and I so I won't recommend it for OP's purpose, particularly when there's a much better and easier (and cheaper) alternative.
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Dave,

Treated wood will still rot, it just takes longer. There are also different ratings for pressure treated lumber. Typical deck lumber has less protection than wood labeled "safe for ground contact". Usually the better ground contact lumber has a series of holes where the chemicals are forced deep into the wood.
Also, pressure treatment usually doesn't penetrate that far into the wood. If you cut the board, the center section is usually untreated wood that would need to be painted with preservatives to minimize rot.

Unfortunately, concrete does not stop moisture. That's why plastic vapor barriers are placed under concrete slabs. Without some kind of barrier between the concrete and wood, you can potentially still get wicking. Granted, the PT lumber will probably last longer.

If you're going to continue with the patch job, I would pick up some PVC or composite lumber to use for the trim. It's basically plastic, so it can't rot. It mills and paints just like wood.
I agree with DPB though, the door is installed incorrectly. The door sill is sitting below the level of the walkway outside. You may be able seal it off temporarily, but at some point water is going to find it's way under the door sill (there is usually wood under that metal covering on the door sill). It would be smart to either raise the door frame, or lower the sidewalk. I'm betting it would be easier to raise the door frame.
As I mentioned previously, you would be better off to order a new composite door frame and stop messing around with patches that may or may not last. I replaced my door frames in about 2-3 hours each. Remove the door from the hinges, remove any interior trim, cut the exterior caulking with a knife, cut the nails with a reciprocating saw, and pop out the old frame. Then it's a simple job to install the new frame.
Best wishes with your repair!
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On 7/16/2014 3:08 PM, HerHusband wrote:

Over 11 years, the problem only resulted in about 8 inches of rot on untreated wood, on only one side of the door frame (the other is in good shape), beneath which a small hole used to exist that allowed accumulation of water and wicking.
I've got only 3 hrs of work and $22 spent on this, so far, and I'm just not seeing the need to tear out the old frame. "dpb" thinks I should raise the sill, and there's some water control logic in that, but then you create a trip hazard unless you do a ramp on either side, and you need a new door.
If it turns out that what I've done creates more problems down the line, I'll own up to it by posting the situation.
We'll see.
Thanks
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It is hard to see what has been done in the photo with the shears. Based on the other photos, I would...
1. Fix the wood that has been cut off a few inches up. You could either replace the whole piece or scarf in a section.
2. Before the wood, I would make a dam at the bottom out of - guess what? - Bondo.I would make it the same depth and width as the new wood will be; I would slope it from the inside outward: a ramp.
3. On the bottom of the new wood I would also make a slope so that of the wood and Bondo are parallel. I would make the new wood about 1/4" shorter so that its ramp hangs over the one of Bondo. I would build the Bondo ramp up about 1/2-1: higher than the aluminum threshold.
4. I would apply copper napthanate to the entirety of the new wood (you can get it at HD, it is used for painting cut ends of PT lumber). When the copper napthanate is dry - it takes a while - I would prime and paint the new wood with oil paint, then install.
5. Finally, I would caulk the gap between the two ramps.
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I could live with that. In fact, I DID live with that.
I built four French screen doors a few years ago to enclose an open lanai. I left an uncaulked 1/4" gap at the bottom of the jambs. Do you have any idea how many different types of critters can get through a 1/4" gap??? The cats liked the gap, wife didn't, no more gap :(
OP wouldn't have a critter problem in the house if he left a gap uncaulked so propably better that he does. I might still partially close it with a piece of backer rod, though, just to keep critters from taking up residence within the gap itself. That's what I did on my lanai.
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On 07/17/2014 6:47 AM, dadiOH wrote:

I wouldn't leave anything approaching a 1/4" gap...
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Dave,

You had better luck than me. The entry door on our garage, and the back door of our house both rotted out at the bottom within 5-6 years. The front door at my in-laws is also rotting out about 5 years after we installed it.
In all three cases, the doors were exposed to the weather with no significant roof overhang. The rot always seems to be worse on the latch side of the door frame. I think that's because the gap around the door is slightly wider there, so it's easier for water to get in.

I sincerely hope your repair works for you. When I replaced my door frame, I discovered more rot to the structure beneath the frame. Thankfully, I caught it in time so the damage was very minor, but I wouldn't have seen it unless I took the frame out.
Before I installed the new door frame, I install a jamsill flashing in the rough opening. This time around I assumed water WILL get past the door frame, so this ensures it gets directed outside the structure.

I recommend raising the entire door frame, not just the sill. You can reuse the door if you take careful measurements of the hinges and whatnot when you order a new frame. That's what I did with our doors and it worked great.
I raised our garage door up about 3 inches, mostly because I need to raise my sidewalk for better drainage. I knew the header above the door was way oversized (double 2x10s for the 3 foot opening), so I simply cut a couple inches from the bottom of the header. Then I poured a small concrete base to raise the bottom of the frame up a few inches.
Yes, raising the door will create a small trip hazard, but virtually all homes have a sill you have to step up and over. At the same time, that prevents any water buildup from just running over the top of the door sill.

Please keep us posted on how it turns out. I would love to see a picture of your final repair when you get it done.
Take care,
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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On 07/17/2014 10:20 AM, HerHusband wrote: ...

That is still my primary recommendation; the sill alone was if there was some other requirement that prevented raising the header or if just wanted the minimal way out solution.
One place where raising the door overall might be less attractive is if there are other architectural features in line with the top so that the mismatch in heights would not be pleasing in appearance.
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As DPB mentioned, you should always leave a gap at the bottom for moisture to escape. However, 1/4" is a huge gap, the gap should be 1/16" or so. Enough for moisture to get out, but not enough for bugs to get in.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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Dave,

If I remember correctly, sill sealer is now required by code where wood framing (sills primarily) are in contact with the concrete foundation. This seals gaps between the concrete and wood sill, but it's also a plastic vapor barrier to preven moisture from wicking up from the foundation.
For something like an interior basement wall it may not be needed "IF" there is already a moisture barrier beneath the concrete floor. I would still use pressure treated lumber for that bottom plate in case you have flooding or something.
Anthony Watson www.mountainsoftware.com www.watsondiy.com
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Florida bugs deal in angstrom units :)
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