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Old 06-06-2019, 01:07 PM   #1
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Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Hello again guys,

I've gotten good knowledge and advice from here before and I'm in an unknown area again and I'd appreciate some help again.

I'm painting my living room trim and I ran across a crack in the paint at one corner of a window sill. The crack was almost an eighth of an inch wide and about an inch long. The wife keeps a potted plant on this sill and I assume watering the plant and a failure in the caulk was the start of the problem.

Paint/wood around the crack was mushy and when I opened up the crack and cleaned out the bad wood you can see what I found from the two attached pictures.

I'm assuming this is not related to termites at all and that the hole can be filled - although the hole(s?) at the top of the opening puzzles me.

I would appreciate thoughts and advice on how to deal with this repair as well as product recommendations.

With my regards,


Andy
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Repair wood rot - interior window sill-window-rot-front-window.jpg   Repair wood rot - interior window sill-window-rot-front-window-1.jpg  
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Old 06-06-2019, 01:38 PM   #2
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


I'm having a hard time seeing the damage in the pics but if any wood is soft/mushy it needs to be removed before any patching material will have a chance at succeeding.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:29 PM   #3
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Thanks Mark,

Point taken. I'm uploading a modified copy of both of the original photos. I hope they are helpful.

Since my original post, I've dug out more of the bad wood and I've found that there is a larger area than I first thought. The hole extends under the window itself and also goes back under the wall side.

Also, most of the chewed up wood that I've dug out is like powder. Now I'm suspecting termites. I believe I need to call an inspector in.

???

Andy
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Old 06-06-2019, 03:36 PM   #4
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


It could just be dry rot. Do you see any of the tunnels that termites like to make?


It sounds like it would be best to remove the window stool and replace it. That will also let you investigate further to see if anything else needs to be done.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:20 PM   #5
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Today we except the fact that windows leak and get condensation and provide ways to deal with that when we install windows. There is no why to tell what you will find but best you do some destructive surgery and find out if it is a major problem or just some surface rot.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:00 PM   #6
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


I am having a tough time orienting your pictures correctly.

However, it the damage on the window sill, or on the side jamb? It appears to me to be on the side jamb. If so, my guess is that you need to re-caulk the outside 9f the window.

In any case, I would recommend allowing a few days for the wood to dry, before attempting to patch it.

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Old 06-06-2019, 07:14 PM   #7
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Debris is staying down, so I guessed it is a sill. Then the window is a slider? You need to check where the water is coming in. Could be the window track itself. These should have drain holes but often they don't work, even if clear. Also check the frame corner joints.
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Old 06-07-2019, 03:33 PM   #8
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


My thanks to all of you - carpdad, jeffmattero, nealtw, and mark.

I'm having two pest company inspectors come in on Tuesday - might have another one come in. If it turns out that they are sure it isn't a termite problem then I'll probably get a carpenter involved.

I do have a concern about structural integrity because there seems to be a gap in a vertical support abutting the window. There is also a void under the edge of the window frame itself. I don't think that either of these 'problems' would be such of a structural weakness that they need to be taken care of - color me wrong? Of course if the problem is termites, then the whole situation changes for the worse.

Actually Jeff, the whole area of the void is dry. I really don't know what that indicates. If I had to guess, I would say that that's probably an indication of it being termites.

Yes carpdad, it is a slider. I can't see anything obvious that would indicate a source of a leak - other than my wife watering a plant that sits there.

Neal, I'm waiting to talk to the exterminators before I start digging any deeper into the problem.

Mark, I'm hoping it's just dry rot - there didn't appear to be any of the tunnels indicative of termites - but I don't think I'm qualified to make that judgement. I don't want to get into replacing the stool just yet - but I'm tempted.

Thanks again guys - stay tuned. I'll let you know what happens on Tuesday.


With my regards,

Andy
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:03 AM   #9
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


It could also be carpenter ants (very large black ants), which do not have tunnels like termites do. I had a 2x10 beam that rested on a 6x6 post and was supporting a roof overhang. The aluminum capping came loose, and I went to nail it back, and found there was no wood behind it. When I removed the capping, that 2x10 was completely destroyed for about 2 feet of a 10 foot run. Carpenter ants were the cause. We jacked it up and replaced the 2x10 with pressure treated, so I hope to never have that problem again.

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Old 06-08-2019, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Home Depot has several Bondo products that will harden punky wood and fill voids.
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Old 06-08-2019, 09:28 AM   #11
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Thanks for your comment Jeff,

I've not seen any large black ants around here but one never really knows.

Your story could have ended much worse than it did. Thank goodness that it ended without any other major damage.

Guess we'll find out what the source of the problem is on Tuesday. I'll let you guys know what the inspectors day.


Andy
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Old 06-09-2019, 10:44 AM   #12
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Thanks PPBART:

Good idea - I've used this before with good results. That was a long time ago tho.

I would appreciate it if others would give their recommendations. I certainly hope that I will need to fill that hole - it's a fairly big one.

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Old 06-11-2019, 11:27 AM   #13
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


To all,

A qualified termite inspector just did an inspection and left - water damage was the verdict. My thanks to all for your thoughts and comments.

Now, I need to fill that hole. Does anyone have a product recommendation other than the Bondo? I know Bondo is good but I don't know what else is out there.

With my regards,

Andy
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Old 06-11-2019, 11:46 AM   #14
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


Not sure how deep it is.

If deep, you might want to consider either plastic wood or Elmers wood filler.

If plastic wood, rather than sanding it, I dampen a thin rag with acetone, wrap it around a flat block of wood, and rub it over the patch. That will dissolve any excess material. I would follow that with a coat of joint compound (I use the powdered type), which can be sanded very easily and, once painted, becomes invisible.

If Elmers wood filler, I would build it up in a couple of coats, and sand. For the final coat, again, I would use the powdered type of joint compound.

If it istill not deep, just use the joint compound.

You may think I am crazy, but joint compound gives a far better final surface than anything else that I have ever tried.

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Old 06-11-2019, 12:26 PM   #15
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Re: Repair wood rot - interior window sill


For any type of patching compound to work you need to either remove ALL the rot or chemically harden it. Soft areas next to the patch will weaken the patch and make it fail over time.
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