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filler on exterior trim


John Dirks Jr
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I've been running into alot of wood repairs utilizing types of fillers on exterior window and door trim. Most of the time it's a lame attempt and easy to call.

Are there any valid filler materials out there that can be used to repair or patch rotted trim? How do you feel about this approach as opposed to replacement of the damaged trim? Do you call it out for replacement or judge the apparent quality and go from there?

So far I've been calling it out as prone to repeated failure leading to further damage from water intrusion.

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So far I've been calling it out as prone to repeated failure leading to further damage from water intrusion.

Forget the repair.

How did the water get there to begin with?

Preventing a recurring condition would be my concern.

Epoxy works great for repairs. If you can't stop the water from causing damage, the repair won't matter. Right?

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Yep, Abatron

They've been using it at Colonial Williamsburg for years and when the repair is done right you can't detect it.

Gouge out the rot, drill 1/8-inch holes in the punky stuff, inject wood hardener into it, let it set up, trowel in Woodepox, let semi-harden, form with a surform file and/or knife, let fully cure then rasp, file and sand to shape and then prime and paint.

10,000 years from now some archaeologist will find that formed piece of Woodepox and puzzle over it for days wondering what the hell it is.

http://www.abatron.com

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!!

Mike

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Repairs done to rotted wood are always quick, temporary patches to hold paint 'till closing.

The only properly done, adequate repairs are the ones that you wouldn't even have noticed were repairs.

If you mean that epoxy repairs are not satisfactory, that isn't true. I've done repairs to my wooden boats that are still working after several years in the water. I repaired my Mom's 1850 Georgian porch columns with Abatron; still there and working after 20+ years.

It's a steenkin' miracle.

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Yeah, most of my sash are about 50% epoxy. They're incredibly strong and so far, completely rot proof and they're holding paint very nicely. I use Abatron consolidator, then I use the consolidator to make a putty by adding solids like wheat flour or saw dust (they make micro bubbles to add but they're very pricey) fill, file and finish. the repairs are completely invisible. Even though I know I repaired the sash, I can't find the repair once it's painted. All that said, it takes me about the same time to repair a sash as it takes to build a new one. It's not fast but I think the epoxy filled rotted wood is better than new wood.

Katen turned me on to Smith Systems epoxy out in California but I haven't yet used the product. The quirky but brilliant owner has me convinced that his product will penetrate better than Abatron. I'm trying his stuff next.

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I agree with the others about replacement being the best way to go, but on small areas where it's not practical to rip everything apart, we used to use Bondo. Sets up quickly, sands very easily and accepts primer and paint very well.

Tony

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I've been running into alot of wood repairs utilizing types of fillers on exterior window and door trim. Most of the time it's a lame attempt and easy to call.

Are there any valid filler materials out there that can be used to repair or patch rotted trim? How do you feel about this approach as opposed to replacement of the damaged trim? Do you call it out for replacement or judge the apparent quality and go from there?

A well-executed epoxy repair is as good or better than the original material. Abatron, West System, or, my favorite, Smith & Company, all make excellent epoxy repair systems.

You don't use this stuff to replace a rotting piece of applied 1x4 trim. You use it to replace sections of wood that would be very difficult or expensive to replace with new material. I've used it on the base of 20-foot tall fluted columns and to restore old redwood gutters.

So far I've been calling it out as prone to repeated failure leading to further damage from water intrusion.

If the work is done properly, that would be a bogus call on your part. Of course, if the work is done properly, you shouldn't be able to tell that the work was done in the first place.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Repairs done to rotted wood are always quick, temporary patches to hold paint 'till closing.

The only properly done, adequate repairs are the ones that you wouldn't even have noticed were repairs.

If you mean that epoxy repairs are not satisfactory, that isn't true.
That's not what I mean - you missed my point.
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I agree with the others about replacement being the best way to go, but on small areas where it's not practical to rip everything apart, we used to use Bondo. Sets up quickly, sands very easily and accepts primer and paint very well.

Tony

I've used Bondo on interior work where it does fine. However, in my experience, it doesn't last outdoors. The wood expands & contracts with changes in humiditiy while the Bondo just sits there. Eventually, the Bondo separates from the wood because it's only adhered to a thin layer of wood cells.

The epoxy systems use a consolidator that soaks into the wood and provides a base that chemically bonds with the filler. They work much better and last much longer.

Check out Smith & Company's technical information page here:

http://www.smithandcompany.org/technical.html

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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You don't use this stuff to replace a rotting piece of applied 1x4 trim. You use it to replace sections of wood that would be very difficult or expensive to replace with new material.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

That was the point I was trying to get across when he specified windows and doors.

I'd want to know what's going on underneath the trim before I made a call to patch it with anything.

If it gets to the point where the brickmould at the bottom of a door or the corners of a window sill are rotted out, isn't there a real good chance the damage has gone beyond what's visible?

Do you call it out for replacement or judge the apparent quality and go from there?

If it's my house, I'm digging into it. If it's a house I'm inspecting, I'm diagnosing and reffering. Let the next guy write the prescription.

I wouldn't fall into a habit of boilering a fix every time I ran into it.

I'm not saying anyone here is suggesting that.

I'm reading the question to be more about reporting than repairing.

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Do the Bondo installation instructions indicate that it's an approved material for patching wood?

Bondo is a filler, says so right on the can. The epoxy products penetrate and stabilize the wood in addition to creating the chemical bond Jim mentioned. Both products have their place; bondo the ding in the steel or fiberglass door, epoxy the corbel or cornice.

Gary, brickmold has no asthetic or intrinsic value. It would be cheaper and easier to replace it than repair it.

I say report patch jobs when you can spot them. They were either poorly done and will be short lived, or they're already in failure.

Tom

Tom

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That's not what I meant - you missed my point.

OK, 'cuz I was surprised you said that.

Wood trim, yank it off. Column base, hard-impossible to remove wood, epoxy and repair.

The epoxy penetrates deep into the wood, filling the cell structure, killing the fungi, and reinforcing the wood cell wall structure. A chemical engineer friend of mine talked about epoxy as being one of the most aggressive "penetrants" there is; something about it just soaks in. He was insistent that I never get it on my hands because it will go right into the blood stream through capillary action.

So, the guy in California may have tweaked his material to be even more penetrating than "regular" epoxy, because they put stuff in there so it penetrates.

Bondo= garbage in my view. It's like crappy type N mortar on old masonry. It cracks out, water gets in around the cracks by capillarity, then the plastic holds the water in the wood. It makes stuff pretty for about 2 months, then it's accelerated deterioration with the pedal to the floor.

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I use Abatron consolidator, then I use the consolidator to make a putty by adding solids like wheat flour or saw dust (they make micro bubbles to add but they're very pricey) fill, file and finish. the repairs are completely invisible.

I've got a few pounds of cabosil microfiber. Try that stuff instead of the microballoons. I make a paste with the stuff that you can't break beating on it with a hammer.

I use cabosil fiber for structural; it's absolutely unbelievable how much stronger it makes the epoxy.

I use microballoons for fairing out lines on my boats and surfboards.

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