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We've recently moved into a house with two arched exterior windows that actually open more like doors. They are full sized and arched, but the bottom of the rails are rotten. I have received quotes from joinery companies to have them replaced but the prices are very high (because of the arch?). The areas around the rails are solid, including the sills. What is the best way to repair them; doing a bit of research online it seems I can fill the void with expanding foam, cut in new pieces of timber and sand and repaint. I'm a bit confused, I have basic DIY skills and and an even more basic toolkit. Is it worth attempting or should I just suck it up and pay for the replacements. Any suggestions gratefully received.
 

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Replacing is the best option,of coarse---However a skilled cabinet maker or perhaps even a finish carpenter could rebuild the rotten sections of those doors,

Forget about foam and fillers--that section is structural and must be replaced with sound solid wood or the 'quick fix' will fail.

A router .planer and some rather sophisticated skills will be required to save that millwork.--Mike---
 

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The expanding foam thing is laughable if it wasn't so stupid. I'd love to know where you read that.
That bottom corner is a structural connection, not a gap around a pipe or wire, it needs to be addressed as such.
If the damage is restricted to less them 20-25% of the connection, you can get away with an epoxy repair if you treat the damaged wood.
Remove as much as the damaged wood as possible and access the damage percentage. If it's less then 1/4, you can treat the wood and fill in the gaps with and epeoxy wood filler. When you're done, sand, prime and paint.
You should get quite a few years out of the repair if you do it correctly and address why the issue happened in the first place.
 

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Ron hit the nail on the head, you have a mechanical/support integrity issue, not an aesthetic one. Those are large, heavy and movable, there is a lot of stress on them. Look at where the damage is at the bottom of the hinge rail, the weight of the window bears right on that point the most.

First, go and price replacements so you truly appreciate how cheap repair will be.

Then, if it wuz me, I'd find a local metal shop and have 'em fashion some braces that could be installed on those corners out of something heavy enough to take the load. You could install them on the inside of the windows, basically gusseting that corner and transferring the load from the old wood-to-wood joint to a diagonal one held by steel. Wouldn't show from the outside, and then you could do an "appearance" fix that didn't need to support any weight. Something along the lines of a regular lil corner brace, but larger.....



A relatively small amount out routing would allow this to set within the frame of the window so as not to interfere with the surrounding. I'd do something with all three square corners just so you don't stress something somewhere else and have to start the whole thing over again next year.
 

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For many years now I have used the restoration systems offered by Abatron for projects like yours. The first part of the process is to carve out as much dead wood as you can and saturate what is left with resin. You then fill the voids with a structural epoxy. You can tool it with standard woodworking tools and then prime and paint. You can try matching wood color as well.

Definitely watch the video on wood restoration offered by the company and look at some of the projects to see if it might work for you. I will warn you that it gets a bit pricey but I case not when compared to trying to gind a cabinetmaker to patch the doors and do the joinery for a splice or something. And do not get the material confused with other products that are not structural. As mentioned, foam fillers will do nothing for you and offer no structural properties.

www.abatron.com

They have an excellent customer service department with people that can actually discuss your project coherently.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your quick responses guys. I'll have a good look at the epoxy resin idea, and get some more quotes on replacements. The damage is really just at the very bottom of that rail, and nowhere else so I guess it falls within the '25% rule'. These doors/windows don't allow any traffic through so they pretty much just exist to let light and ventilation in...If it was a major thoroughfare and was being constantly open and shut then a replacement would be a no-brainer. Will look into Abatron products, I live in Australia so will have to check it's availability here. Thanks again...
 

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Thanks for getting back to us----Lot's of good suggestions for you. Good luck!
 
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