I hope someone can provide some guidance. I went to decorate my porch
and found one of the wooden posts is rotten at the bottom. I have
scraped out the rotten wood and I am now unsure what to do.
My options are fill the large hole (not sure what to use (Ronseal
hardner and then wood filler? Is expander foam worth using?) or replace
the wood. Thus far I have been unable to find a post the same design so
replacing is a challenge.
I have attached photos to help you understand the damage!
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You need first to check if the edge of the roof is level, or if it has
sagged a bit due to the post rotting. Then, you need to build a
temporary support for that corner of the roof while you remove the old
post completely. A single 2x4 should be enough to hold the roof
unless you get a LOT of snow real early. Then remove the post and cut
off successive slices from the bottom until you get to a point where
the rot is gone. Measure from the edge of where the post contacts the
underside of the roof to the bottom support point on the ledge and
write it down. Add a section of wood to the remainder of the post so
that the new length is what you need/wrote down. You can easily fit a
build-up of several layers to get the outside of the new wood to be
the same dimension as the post exterior, or maybe even get a scrap of
a railroad tie that is the right outside dimensions. Treated lumber
would be even better. Water must stand on the support surface to get
that kind of rot. A little sanding with a belt sander to make the
surfaces smooth, and a couple of coats of paint and you are ready to
shove the post back in and remove the 2x4.
Then, carefully poke the bottoms of your other posts. When one is
that rotten, the others may not be far behind.
On Sat, 13 Oct 2012 14:39:40 -0700 (PDT), "hr(bob) firstname.lastname@example.org"
Sometimes removing the post can be pretty involved, if it is a
built-up post that is part of the initial framing. In my case there
was only one post, but it extended up into the roof truss - so I had
to open up the soffit and cut it out. I ended up movong mine out about
6 or 8 inches to expand the porch - otherwise I would have just cut
the rotted bottom off, adding new lumber to replace the rot down to
the concrete base, and then covering the whole thing with new 1X
lumber to flesh it out.
On Sat, 13 Oct 2012 22:58:00 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
After looking at the photos, I spoke with the guys in the shop. We
agreed that my company can do this job for $24,900 plus
materials, plane fare, & motel costs, (if you live outside of the area).
We also charge for meals, cigarettes and liquor required to complete the
job. Just call us now.
Redneck Builders Inc.
Although I still think replacement would be better, further thought leads
me to the conclusion that you could adequately fix it yourself fairly
1. Temporarily support the porch corner with a 2x4 and wedges.
2. Clean out the rotted area more; particularly, try to get a horizontal and
flat part at the top of the cavity. Get rid of ALL soft wood.
3. Get a piece of appropriately sized pressure treated wood; it looks as if
4x4 would be about right.
a. The concrete appears to have a slot for a tongue on the wood to hold
it in place. Make a tongue on your wood piece to fit. The wood needs to be
long enough to make the tongue - it can be only 1" or so - and short enough
so you can get it in leaving maybe 1-2 inches between its top and the flat
area made in #2.
b. Get a galvanized 1/2" carriage bolt about 2 1/2" long. Get a
galvanized fender washer at least 2" in diameter, larger is better, size of
hole is immaterial. Go to a metal working place and get a piece of 1/4"
mild steel the size of the wood top or slightly smaller.
c. Drill a hole in the center top of the new piece to accommodate the
1/2" bolt (9/16 or 5/8 would be fine). Thread the hole in the steel plate
to accomodate the carriage bolt. Also drill a couple of holes so you can
nail or screw the plate to the wood; do so. Thread the carriage bolt all
the way into the hole.
4. Place the new piece of wood where it should go. I suggest you put a 1/4"
rope of plumber's putty all around the base and pack the mortice in the
concrete with the same.
5. Put the washer on top of the bolt head and turn the bolt up as needed.
Use a wrench, not just fingers. As you tighten, the putty will squeeze out;
scrape off the excess when all is tight. (BTW, the purpose of the washer is
to spread the load over an area wider than just the rounded head of the
You now have a new support for the porch roof and you can remove the
temporary one. Next task is to make things pretty. For that, I would use
Bondo. Bondo is a trade name for an automobile filler. Its purpose is to
fill areas. It consists of polyester resin and powdered talc. It can be
obtained at any auto parts store and comes with a tube of "cream hardener"
which is a catalyst. The actual catalyst is methyl ethyl ketone peroxide
which is a clear liquid; to aid in measuring catalyst, cream hardener
includes some inert material; it also has a coloring agent as a visual aid
when mixing with the Bondo. I would guess that you'll need about a quart of
Bondo stays in a paste form until the catalyst is added. How fast it
hardens depends upon how much catalyst is used; for a golf ball sized piece
of Bondo, I usually use about 1/4" of cream hardener; that gives me maybe 10
minutes of working time. It is important that the hardener be VERY
thoroughly mixed with the Bondo and that the tube of cream hardener be
"massaged" to mix the materials before squeezing it out. It is also
important not to dig out more Bondo with something you have used to mix as
you may well set off the whole can.
As Bondo sets up it first turns to a gel; it then gradually gets harder and
harder over the next 20-30 minutes. At some point (past the gel stage)
there is a sweet spot when it is easily trimmed with a chisel. Once it is
totally hard, forget a chisel, coarse sandpaper is what's needed. Also
handy is a Surform plane; that's a plane with a sole that looks like a
Although a thick paste, Bondo won't stand up; i.e., it slumps which means
you can't just pack the entire cavity in one go, gotta do it in stages
working from the center up and out. You can use pieces of plywood covered
with polyethylene plastic (like Visqueen) to make forms; you can also use
masking tape. Remove tape after it gels, forms after it is harder.
It should be very easy to rebuild the shape of the square portion of the bad
post; the rounded portion won't be much more difficult...wipe Bondo on with
a putty knife, trim with a chisel, repeat until all is slightly oversize
then sand, prime and paint. Be sure to clean out the rounded part more than
you have...you want solid wood and not a bunch of loose fibers.
The side rail will have to be angle screwed or nailed to the new wood.
Someone may come along and say, "No, don't use Bondo, use thickened epoxy".
That would work too but it takes at least a day to set up well. It is
stronger than Bondo but you don't need strength...all you need to do is
fill. If this were my porch post I wouldn't hesitate to fix it exactly how
I have said.
To clarify, the hole in the wood needs to be larger than the diameter of the
carriage bolt, the center hole in the steel plate needs to be of the correct
size so that it can be threaded for the carriage bolt.
If going to all that trouble for such a large section might as well just
make a solid replacement blank and shape it instead.
I've tried the Bondo route for architectural repair -- it's never held
up for over a couple of years at most before it separated from the
Did you use car bondo or wood bondo? Just wondering as I've never
talked to anyone who used the right stuff.
I just noticed dadioh said epoxy takes a day to set up-- Use more
hardener if its cold-- but I have more trouble with it setting up in 5
minutes than not setting up fast enough.
I like http://www.rotdoctor.com/ for epoxy-- not cheap-- but real good
and they will hold your hand if you want.
Same stuff...the MSD for the wood-filling advertised products I've
looked at is the same as for the other...
I have had reasonable luck w/ some of the wood repair epoxy
systems--but, they're _very_ expensive in volume.
systems--but, they're _very_ expensive in volume. <<<<
Wood epoxy is a good solution...
Bondo is not a great material choice in this situation.
the restoration kit is the best value .... $ / volume
But you might consider pint combo of liquid wood & quart combo of
woodepox to save ~$50.
That would give you enough (small amount) liquid epoxy to inject into
spongy wood & use as a primer.
Quart combo would give you enough paste to replace ~100 cubic inches.
If you need more volume jump to the gallon.... 400+ cubic inches.
Abatron is one of the reliable product systems, indeed.
For the useful application of the liquid injection material (and what I
would have suggested if OP had posted _BEFORE_ removing all the material
and leaving himself w/ nothing but a void) one needs the soft material
to be able to inject the liquid into the porous and _small_ voids to
reharden it. _THEN_ one has much less volume to try to rebuild.
For anything except a historic restoration w/ such a large missing piece
I'd still recommend replacing w/ new material over the alternative as
being the more suitable fix. The amount of time expended in rebuilding
such is more profitably spent in redoing the column end -- or spend a
little money and have an architectural mill shop or experienced
carpenter fabricate a partial or full replacement.
You got a BIG problem. That roof might fall on you at any moment. You
better get an adjustible steel post and tighten it from the floor to the
roof. DO THIS NOW. Then remove the post and replace it with a power
pole, which you can often buy from the electric company for a couple
hundred bucks. They are coated with cresote so they will last forever.
Cut it to fit, and attach with screws on the top, and whatever was used
on the bricks. End of problem.
Those bottoms need replacing. Just figure out how high to go and cut
evenly, then replace with square stock. Personally, I'd use an entire
new post salvaging the curved pieces and reattaching them. Only the
center post is supporting the roof. It would still look good with
If I was piecing it in I would use screwed in metal at the joint.
That's what I did when I replaced 2-story 6"x6"'s holding my much
heavier porches and roof. Use 1/4" bar stock on 2 sides even though
the joint was flush. You could groove the wood with a chisel or
router to put them flush or deeper and disguise them, but I didn't
Don't even think about using just a single 2x4 to prop it.
Screw/nail one 2x4 to another to make a T for the prop.
Think somebody mentioned making sure the roof is "level" and hasn't
sagged. That's a bit trickier, but since the post bottoms look like
they're solid in some places you probably haven't sagged enough to
worry about as long as you get the new stuff tight.
You can lift it a bit with a 4x4 and metal wedges if you think it
sagged. I'd do that anyway for a tight fit. Gives you an 1/8 or 3/16
to play with and lowers the roof tight on the post.
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