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A Quick Fix for Difficult Dry Rot Repairs

Updated on November 26, 2012
Dry Rot must be repaired to prevent further structure damage.
Dry Rot must be repaired to prevent further structure damage.
Bending the sheet metal
Bending the sheet metal
Skin warp made to fit the corner and the exposed edges
Skin warp made to fit the corner and the exposed edges
Etching the metal to hold paint
Etching the metal to hold paint
The finished repair
The finished repair

Use a metal skin to cover and seal difficult dry rot problems

We began noticing the corner of our garage cupola showing signs of dry rot.

Dry rot is like a cancer it never looks as bad on the surface as it really is underneath, so at the first signs it’s time to take action before more damage can occur.

Since the cupola is rather large and heavy on a steep pitched roof, it wasn't a job my husband was anxious to tackle.

To totally repair the corner meant the entire cupola would have had to been taken apart and brought to the ground for shop replacement of the corner.

After climbing up and looking it over he noticed, the corner had a way to seal the top and bottom to prevent further moister from entering.

This is an important element in deciding to use a sheet metal skin over an area that has dry rotted.

With that we decided to bend a piece of sheet metal to make a wrap skin around the corner and the ¾” exposed edges.

With a very inexpensive sheet metal brake and very little experience in sheet metal work, we made the metal corner wrap.

To cut sheet metal use a square and a dull knife to scribe the edge. Continue to scribe until the sheet can be bent back and forth several times to release.

This makes a much straighter and cleaner edge than trying to cut with tin snips. Use the tin snips to trim the edges for a close fit.

The edges will still be very sharp and will cut you before you know it so be careful.

You may be able to rent a sheet metal brake or have a sheet metal fabricator make you a skin. It’s still far less than hiring a contractor to replace something like this cupola.

Since we made our skin corner wrap from galvanize metal, it needed to be degreased and etched in order to hold the matching paint. If not the paint would soon peel off.

We used a solution of ammonia to degrease and then hand sanded the surface with Emory sand paper to etch it so we could paint it.

After a dry fit we drilled some small nail holes and then gave it three coats of paint. We then dabbed Liquid Nails construction adhesive on the inside. Use galvanized nails to attach so they won’t rust.

After installing we then caulked all the edges, caulk the other entire surface cracks on the cupola, and then did a final coat of paint.

We were done within four hours; actually to put up the ladder, throw a rope over the ridge to hold onto and bend the sheet metal only took about an hour.

We did other projects in between, letting the caulking and then the paint dry took the longest.

We like this method better than using the wood filler approach. At least we know the area is now totally sealed off from future moisture.

The wood filler approach seems to be like filling a pot hole, it is only as good as the adjoining surface can be sealed off.


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    • aleksandrb profile image

      Alex 5 years ago from Boston, Massachusetts

      Nice work, and great use of pictures to tell the story!


    • lizstevens profile image

      lizstevens 5 years ago from Houston Texas

      Might consider having a sheet metal strip made at a metal shop. Something that will slide up under the thatch a good 6" or more and fold around the edge and then back under. That back under part should also have a drip edge bent down to prevent water from following it back in and under the edge.

      Also take a look at some of the products used in the North to protect from ice dams on the edge of the roof.

    • icmn91 profile image

      icmn91 5 years ago from Australia

      Great strategy. We've just redone a thatched roof and have been trying to find ways to stop the wet weather from affecting the plywood (particularly around the edges).