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Old 02-02-2017, 04:11 PM   #1
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Wood rot or termite damage?


Super annoyed. I was examining our outdoor door frame bc the paint is in bad shape. Since it was built in the 60s I was accessing if we should bother it since it COULD have lead paint. Not sure how often people would replace a door frame. The house did have new siding put on so maybe? Anyhow, I noticed damage to the bottom of the door frame. I don't want to poke around bc of the possibility of lead. Would one of those home test kits suffice to ensure its safe to investigate? Have a toddler so need to be precautious.

Just had our annual termite inspection which came back clean so this is surprising. Termite damage or wood rot? Untrained expert eye says termite.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:46 PM   #2
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Picture from further back please.

Can you replace part of the frame...yes. The test kits work fine, but the question is whether you really need it.

Don't grind or use heat on the paint and pick up and throw away the debris.

And...don't eat it.
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Old 02-02-2017, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Oh...and its wood rot via water.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:01 PM   #4
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Yup, WOW, is right. That is a CLASSIC place for rot. Water wicks its way up through the bottom of the door frame where, I'm sure, it was never coated with anything like paint so it's just bare wood. And, it doesn't necessarily have to be exposed out in the weather to have moisture issues. Condensation could be a big culprit with that metal thresh hold butting right up to the underside of the jam.
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Old 02-02-2017, 05:55 PM   #5
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Agree w/WOW, water damage from water. Wet wood Is also a termite attractant. They love not having to do the round trip back and forth for their moisture, and set up a family reunion and become squatters. If you don't cause dust or fumes, you'll be fine. replace the damage and remember to coat all 6 sides with good exterior paint, and I would give the rest a new coat as well. Maybe a little 40yr caulk. who knows, it could outlive us all...............


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Old 02-02-2017, 08:48 PM   #6
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I'll get another pic tomorrow. I've had termites at my out building and thought this looked pretty similar, but I would rather deal with rot than termites all day long.

I think this was an addition to the house added after construction so I may can find out when it was built to determine if lead is even a possibility. If it was built in 65 I'm figuring the door frame has been replaced before. The paint is chipping all around it, but not rotted like that so I would want to smoothe it all down and paint it, thus my caution with lead. This is the main entry point into the house so wouldn't want to track it inside.

If I rip that peeling paint off I should be able to know for sure if it's rot or termites right ?
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Old 02-02-2017, 09:26 PM   #7
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Wood rot.

Just so you understand....both are caused by critters. Termites are just bigger. Wood rot is caused by a much smaller pest.
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Old 02-02-2017, 10:53 PM   #8
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Termites leave behind their tunnels and if it's active you will see the white buggers. If it's a non-active nest, usually tapping on the exposed wood leaves small bits of what almost looks like brownish colored sawdust. The damage they do is really incredible. A piece of wood can ALMOST look normal yet it is so eaten through that it literally becomes paper like from the termite damage.
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Old 02-04-2017, 08:03 PM   #9
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


If the affected section is only a few inches, another possibility is to chip/grind out the rotten wood and fill back in with epoxy. There are at least 2 episodes of This Old House where they carved out rotten wood around a window and rebuilt with epoxy. The stuff is sandable, paintable plus water, bug, and mold proof.
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Old 02-04-2017, 09:44 PM   #10
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


-----------------------------Welcome to the forums!-----------------------------------

It looks like oil based paint to me, so thick that is breaks off in chips or shards rather than thinner latex. And judging from all the vertical cracks to let moisture out... Appears to be a knot-hole as the wood around it has gotten wet often enough to deteriorate; http://www.lsuagcenter.com/NR/rdonly...ecayLowRes.pdf

The almost flat sill was used in the 60-70's, then they arched them a lot more. Speaking of which; your door sweep may not be low enough to stop wind-blown water (close door, at night- look under for light reflecting off sill from exterior) and you may have extensive damage to the framing inside, via under that brown vinyl trim piece in front of finished floor... AND no caulking/sealant in the wood jamb/metal thresh-hold joint- ever. AND the pitched-toward-the-house first piece of Trex (?) decking to direct water under the sill...

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Old 02-06-2017, 09:08 AM   #11
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Well Gary, thats not too comforting.

I know you all said lead isn't a big deal, but that's not the impression I've gotten. If it looks like 60s-70's stuff that is probably bad news for me. I don't want to mess with it at all if its lead based. I def don't want to pay anyone either. I figured we probably did have some damage that we can't see.

Guess I'll just get a test kit and try it out for lead. I assumed that stuff would have been replaced before, but that's what I get for assuming.
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Old 02-06-2017, 10:44 AM   #12
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Another vote for wood rot due to water intrusion. This a typical spot for water damage. Instead of replacing the whole thing just find good wood and cut out the damaged part. Use PVC (Azek is a good brand) to patch in a piece. If you can, cut the good wood with a scarf joint to shed water. Don't know where you are but if you keep the area wet.....don't want to get any airborne dust, then you should be ok cutting the rot out. I've talked to local building inspectors and was told that a homeowner can work on a small lead painted area without having to use a certified lead remediation contractor......just avoid airborne dust.
If the rot goes behind the trim cut this out too and patch in some PT wood....get ground contact PT wood for longest protection.
You may see carpenter ants in this area.....they love damp wood.

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Old 02-06-2017, 10:44 AM   #13
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Re: Wood rot or termite damage?


Lead paint isn't a big deal unless you are breathing dust from sanding or grinding. Chips and chunks can't hurt you unless you eat them. (that's where the toddler danger is)
Better to remove the flaking paint chips now and sweep them up and toss in the trash than wait for a child to pick at it and put a piece in their mouth when you aren't looking!
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Old 02-13-2017, 04:34 PM   #14
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Curious on what you think of these lead test results. I used the 3m test kit. I squeezed the test solution pretty much out all over the surface. It turned it all what I though was orange. A lead expert lady says it looks slightly pink which would indicate lead, albeit lower levels I think. Does it look pink to you? I will test again. Just annoyed bc those little swabs are $10. The rain has since washed the orange coloring off so I can't double check.
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