How to Deal With Rotted Exterior Wood
The wood surrounding my bay window had been subjected to the ravages of weather for far too long and was rotten at its bottom edges. The right thing to do, normally, would be to remove the window and remove the rotten wood and install higher-quality wood such as maple, ash or oak. Then, apply a generous amount of exterior primer paint, caulk the window opening and re-install the window before applying two or three more coats of exterior paint.
But the house had been a rental before. The property manager had received complaints about a leaking bay window and had sent Slappy the Fix-It Guy to deal with the problem. Slappy removed the window, busted away the brick fascia, and re-built the whole bay window surround from cheap, low-grade wood. Fine, but Slappy had also used an enormous amount of adhesive to glue the extrior wood to the actual structural framing of the house. Removing the exterior wood was not an option.
Since the bay window was now protected by a patio cover, I felt comfortable with leaving the rotted wood in place. To deal with it, I first chipped out the softest spots. Then I treated the remaining wood with wood hardener, a liquid product I applied with a paint brush. After the wood hardener dried, I applied wood filler putty in the deepest holes, then joint compound over that.
After letting things dry for a day, I sanded the joint compound and the rest of the area I planned to paint, taped off the area with painter’s tape and applied two coats of exterior latex. I kept a damp sponge handy to wipe away any unwanted drips; it works well with the water-based latex. I let the paint dry for about three hours and applied a third coat. The third coat probably wasn’t necessary, but I had paint left over and didn’t want to have to store it, so I used it up. After the paint dried completely, I removed the painter’s tape and admired my handy work. It was time, and about $35, well spent.
3” Soft Paint Brush
1/2 Quart Wood Hardener
4 oz. Wood Filler Putty
2” Painter’s Tape
½ Quart Exterior Latex Paint
1 Quart Joint Compound Pre-mix
3” Drywall Spreader
1 Sheet 120 Grit sandpaper
1 Damp Sponge