Dealing With Door Rot

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by MassWineGuy, Jun 24, 2014.

  1. Jun 24, 2014 #1

    MassWineGuy

    MassWineGuy

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    One of our doors has a significant amount of wood rot on the outside lower panel (about seven or eight inches high). I first want to try removing the rot, stabilizing the rotted area and filling it in with wood epoxy. If it looks awful, then I'll think about buying a new door.

    I'm almost finished prying out the rotten wood and hope I can get it all. When I think I have, is the next step to treat the whol area with a wood hardener? Do you keep applying this until no more is absorbed?

    Next step: Wood epoxy or resin?

    What are the best products and methods?

    I'm not handy at all, so doing things like take the door apart and rebuild it are not options.



    Thank you.

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    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
  2. Jun 24, 2014 #2

    nealtw

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    Can you post a photo or two.
     
  3. Jun 24, 2014 #3

    bud16415

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    I have rebuilt wood frame storm windows using a method similar to what you are doing. I removed all rot and made sure I was into solid wood. The product I like to use is automotive body filler Bondo or Dura-glass etc. After I get the wood cleaned up I screw drywall screws into the area to be filled leaving them sticking out just below what will be the finished surface. These act like rebar. I put them in at all kinds of angles and crossing over each other. The windows I did I built a form around what I was going to fill by screwing strips of wood to the flat surfaces. Mix up some filler and pour it in. a little finishing is needed and sanding prime and paint.
     
  4. Jun 24, 2014 #4

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Another tip I thought of that comes in handy when patching something like this is you may need a piece of good quality hardwood stock that’s thick. All the lumber yards carry .75 thick but something finished to a full inch is hard to find unless you have a saw mill handy. The building centers all sell unfinished stair treads yellow pine and oak. They are nice and wide and an inch thick. Several times I have bought just one and chopped it up to make a patch out of.
     
  5. Jun 25, 2014 #5

    nealtw

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    I haven't seen anyone try a repair that big and will be real interested in the outcome. I would be more inclined to remove that part and glue and screw a new peice one.

    After that yopu will need some kind of porch or cover over that door the sheilld it from the rain.
     
  6. Jun 25, 2014 #6

    MassWineGuy

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    Yes, I suppose I will either cut the whole bottom section out and replace it, or get a new door that I'll prime seal and paint very well.

    Of course, this door has clear double-paned glass on the upper half, so that's bound to be horribly expensive.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
  7. Jun 25, 2014 #7

    nealtw

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    I would do a little searching. We have hardwood suppliers up hear that will machine wood the your specs. and if they don't carry the right wood you can find your own and the will machine it for you.
    But like I said, I have not seen it filled like that but that might be the trick and if that dosn't work you could then cut it off.
     
  8. Jun 25, 2014 #8

    MassWineGuy

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    Yes, that's always an option. I'm sure there must be one of those shops around my area. Thanks for the good advice.
     
  9. Jun 25, 2014 #9

    beachguy005

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    If you've had that much water damage to your door, have you checked for other rot to your floor and sill plate, under and around the door?
     
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  10. Jun 25, 2014 #10

    MassWineGuy

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    I don't want to remove the door. I plan to

    1) Apply wood hardener to stabilize the rotted wood still present.

    2) Drill screws 1/4 of an inch deep to help stabilize and reinforce the epoxy.

    3) Put thin strips of wood or cardboard along the bottom and lower side to help retain the proper dimensions of the door. I could use suggestions for this part.
     
  11. Jun 25, 2014 #11

    bud16415

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    If it were mine I would first take the door off by pulling the pins a two minute job. I would place the door on a couple saw horses or 3 chairs or something so the bad end is level and able to be worked on. I would cut about 4” off the bottom totally and I would then adjust the saw blade to half the thickness of the door and make another cut 4” higher. I would then make a bunch of cuts across the door every eighth of an inch to plow out the bad wood. I would break out and chisel out the bumps and then take a sander disk to the lap joint surface. Assuming the door is 2”thick I would get a couple boards 1” thick and glue and screw them together and to the lap to make a strong joint. Fill and sand prime and paint.

    The other method is filling as you are planning and after seeing your photos that’s quite a bit to fill. I would still remove the door and let gravity help, otherwise it will be a mess trying to keep the material in. if you do it with the door hung you will have to build up lots of layers of the material. I would still make a dam around where you want the fill and to a height that you can use as a screed line.
     
  12. Jun 25, 2014 #12

    MassWineGuy

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    This sounds like a good approach. Thanks.

    Screed line? Is that like a scrimage line?
     
  13. Jun 25, 2014 #13

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    The first definition was not my intent in writing you although I can get screedy at times. The second definition was what I intended.

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/screed

    The line of scrimmage is quite a different thing but is sometimes the line between Neal and me on occasion.
    ;)
     
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  14. Jun 25, 2014 #14

    MassWineGuy

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    Well, a guy at Home Depot convinced me that given the amount of rot in the door, it would be better and longer lasting to cut that section off and replace it. How? I could buy a reciprocating saw. Then do I just glue a piece of wood to the remaining door?
     
  15. Jun 26, 2014 #15

    nealtw

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    Not to be mean but your question about recipicating saw, says to me, you have no experience with saws..
    This is not likely a good job for a brand new diyer.

    I will suggest first open the door and measure it height and width, it should be something like 34" x80"
    Then phone used building material stores or Habitat for society stores in your area and tell them you are looking for a used pre-hung exterior door.
    Tell them the measurement you found when measuring your door and tell them if the door opens in or out and which side the hingers are on.

    Sometimes a good deal on used is better than a repair. With little or no experience I think you might be better following bBud's last post about laying the door flat and filling it.
     
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  16. Jun 26, 2014 #16

    MassWineGuy

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    Not being mean, at all. I appreciate the help. The door in question has clear double pane glass on the upper half, so finding a used replacement door may be a problem.

    How do I go about sawing off the rotted section?
     
  17. Jun 26, 2014 #17

    nealtw

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    First I want to be clear, this is not an accepted method. And the only reason I suggested was that I think the door is a write off and doing anything to get a few more years would not hurt.
    I spent an hour searching the net for teaching aids and found nothing.
    First I wold like to point out things about your door. The quallity of the wood that is not rotten will have a lot to do with how a repair will work.
    If you do a google search on (repairing exterior door frame) you will find many repairs being done but what you rarely find is the door in worse shape than the frame. That is because the door is usually made out of better wood than the frame is.
    Now go up and look at the pictures you posted the frame looks in good condition and is why I pointed out poor wood being used and they knew it when they built it. The styles of the door or the long peices of wood running up both sides and are usually machined to take the panels in this case you can see they added better wood for the machining for the panels.

    Now how I would repair the door
    1. find the replacement wood and have it matched to the thickness of the door and wide enough to replace the area and the sides have to be absolutely square to the surface. a little to long is good.
    2. do a hunt and find screws long enough to reach thru the repacement wood plus 1 1/2" . Something like 8 or 10 inches, they are out there.
    3. Predrill the repair wood from the bottom up with a hole just big enough for the screw to slide in with out a fight but not to loose. Then countersink those holes so the heads of the screws will not be prodruding when installed.
    4. You need a circular say that will cut an absolutely square cut and must be checked, a 24 tooth blade that come with a new saw should be fine but some test cut would be helpfull'
    5. You will need a peice of 1/4" plywood say 40" x 8" that you can clamp or tack to the door so the saw can follow it for a straight cut.
    6. measure how much you want to cut off and draw a line there. then measure the table of the saw most measure around 5" from the fat edge of the table to the near side of the blade.
    7. Tack or clamp the plywood that far away from that line of the cut
    8. the deepth of the saw can be adjusted you want to make sure the motor of the saw isn't so low that it will hit the plywood, that would screw up the cut.
    9. Apply exterior wood glue and screw the peice into place, wipe off eccess glue right away
    10. Your peice iis a little to long and will need to be trimmed, but most doors have edges that are not quite square, like five degrees, the saw will have to be set to match that.
    11. Do not replace the metal thing on the bottom of the door as that likely really helped the problem get started.

    Aren't you glad you asked? ;)
     
  18. Jun 26, 2014 #18

    MassWineGuy

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    Wow. I know when I'm beat. There is no way I have the skill to do this, nor the aptitude to learn since I'm an all thumbs type of person.
     
  19. Jun 26, 2014 #19

    nealtw

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    It is taxing, writing something like that when you it is a waist of time.
    I think you should go back to buds plan with laying the door flat adding screws but I would upgrade the screw to stainless or Hot Dipped. Wrap some board with wax paper and tack them around the bottom of the door so you fill to the right level. Once you have that done we can talk about how to protect the door from having this happen again. Loose the metal from the bottom of the door.
     
  20. Jun 26, 2014 #20

    bud16415

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    DIY is more about desire than skills IMO. Skills can be learned in a variety of ways the best I think is the way most of us learned from a father or grandfather, uncle or neighbor at a young age. When I grew up in the 60’s fixing stuff wasn’t an option it was just what everyone did to keep going. Now a day the teachers are DIY television shows and the internet and are poor substitutions for someone handing you a saw and placing their hand on yours and showing you how it’s done.

    First off I couldn’t see myself owning a home without some tools, but many people do. The old adage says a craftsman is only as good as his tools. That is pretty much the truth still but it is hard to justify some expenses if the tool gets used only for one job. I can’t imagine life without tools and I have a few advanced tools but basically everything I would really feel naked without I could fit in the trunk of a car.

    When I was young and could buy quality tools that would last a lifetime (that I had ahead of me then) I didn’t have the money to buy them and when I did buy new it was cheaper department store tools. Now that I’m older I find tools to be an enjoyment to own and I go for the good stuff knowing it will never pay for itself, but I don’t splurge on a lot of stuff so why not once in a while.

    Neal described a simple butt joint and I suggested a simple lap joint using 1” thick stair treads as material. I also suggested a simpler patch using auto body filler and screws. So you have a few ideas to pick from. I do agree with you your old door has some charm and it’s clear you desire to fix it rather than replace it. If you decide on any of the methods people here will be more than happy to walk you thru every step of the process from pulling the hinge pins to putting them back in. I do have a few questions. Do you have any family around that is handy with working with tools? How about neighbors? You can also rent some tools.

    I don’t know what else to offer at this point. It’s been my experience that “all thumbs” type of people are mostly lacking confidence and that’s something that grows in baby steps with the more you experience.

    You could always write a letter to Ask This Old House. I could picture this being just the type fix Tommy would come out with his truck and do.
     

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