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Old 06-04-2012, 10:39 AM   #1
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Rotted window sill


I have a 20+ year old house with nice large wooden double hung double pane windows. I am going to install custom storm windows and need to replace some rotted brick molding and window sills on some. I can do the brick mold ok but I have some questions on the sills. I don't want to remove the windows so my initial plan is to remove as much of the rotted wood as possible and then insert new wooden sill until it matches up with the remaining solid wooden sill under the window. Nail, caulk, paint and then measure and install storm windows. Would Pressure treated wood be a good idea for the sill replacement? I would appreciate any advice and comments on the plan. Thanks.

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Old 06-04-2012, 10:50 AM   #2
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Rotted window sill


Post a picture---are just the outer sills rotted or have the bottoms of the window casing gone bad also?

What tools do you own?

Do you have a table saw? Multi tool? Sander?

Treated wood is usually to wet to use---unless you have some old stock that has dried for at least 3 months--stick with Fir--Cyprus or redwood.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:16 AM   #3
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Rotted window sill


I will post pictures later today as I am not currently at that location. The outer sill is what I see currently as rotten. Don't know anything about the bottom of the window as yet. Inside appears OK. I have all the tools, table saw, multitool, sander and will buy tools I may need. I have replaced windows in another house and completed several remodeling projects. I think I am up to the task. Just don't have all the knowledge and tips yet. Any help will be appreciated.
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:44 AM   #4
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I replace a lot of those outer sills---it is best to replace the entire length,rather than patch in a section.

You have the tools you need --the outer sills are applied to the window casing--so removal is simple enough--

then create the replacement using your table saw--sand for a nice shape---prime well and install.
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Old 06-04-2012, 12:11 PM   #5
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Treated wood is usually to wet to use---unless you have some old stock that has dried for at least 3 months--stick with Fir--Cyprus or redwood.[/quote]


I'd like to throw Spanish Cedar out there as well.
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Old 06-14-2012, 08:32 AM   #6
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What caused the window to rot in the first place? Best to correct that!
I had a rotted outside sill on the west side of my house replaced last year. I corrected the eaves trough issue above it, then I cut down the big shrub that was growing real close (2 ft) to that corner of the window. I think the rotted section rarely saw any sun, so never really dried after a rain.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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Rotted window sill


Here in S. Ga. this is a common call for my business. I do believe that here the high humidity we have is a common culprit for these window sill rotting out. I see more of this on the north side of houses also as the sun has somewhat of a pattern of being on the southern side of houses here. At all four (4) businesses for lumber here they all sell pre-shaped window sills and the "nose" parts for those that are two-pieced. Removing the entire sill is not that hard. I find that inserting some tool to spread the sill from the vertical runs of the window frame helps to get a hack saw blade in there to cut the staples used at the factory. I have a couple of those handles which hold the hacksaw blade so that one end sticks out, I have wrapped a blade with duct tape when necessary. I prime the new stock of window sill with a good primer as soon as I get to a job so that it will be dry enough to work with, then cut and fit to length. A really good paint is important to these lasting longer also. One of the things I see too often here is that the trim of the house was spray painted with only one coat of paint before the brick/siding and roof are put in place. One coat of a sprayed on paint just won't do here.
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Old 06-14-2012, 11:18 AM   #8
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Rotted window sill


There was a This Old House that covered patching portions of rotted sills. Might be worth searching on their site to at least see what they did. If you have one window that's considerably worse than the others you might find it useful to remove that one just to see how they're put together.

But you definitely want to address why those rotted out in the first place. Barring serious neglect, there's no way a window should rot out that fast unless someone put it in wrong (like failing to properly flash/caulk, etc).
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Old 06-14-2012, 04:57 PM   #9
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I encounter failing wood windows a lot---many start to fail at about 12 years--

Republic and Weather Shield are two brands I see frequently.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #10
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+1! 20 years is twice as long as many wood windows last around here. The other day, I looked at some casements that were the brand that is "viewed to be the best". They were about 10 years old and the lower rail of the sash had actually rotted and fallen off on several of the windows... Newer wood windows are not made of the "old growth" hardwood of yesteryear, nor do the even contain some of the preservatives that they did in years past. They can last, but vigilant maintenance is a must.
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Old 06-14-2012, 07:34 PM   #11
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I could tell stories all night about rotten casements--some funny and a few sad---

Keep up the paint and varnish--watch caulking --and curse the builders that use crummy windows.

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