How To Repair Damaged Wood

Let’s just file this blog post under “really awesome tricks I learned from Colby (the PG-13 edition)”.  Although, that may be a bit excessive, so I’ll just stick with the good ol’ “construction knowledge” category.  So today we’re back on the porch remodel train and this time around we’re talking damaged wood and how to repair it instead of replace it.  I tend to subscribe to the “it’s not vented, rip it out” school of thought but Colby is sooo good at saving wood, windows, etc.  So when it came to the water damaged wood on the porch, we fought the urge to rip it out and put on our Nicole Curtis Rehab Addict hats on and opted to save it.  And our porch had it…water damaged wood…lots of it!  Damaged wood up the wazoo!  What exactly is a wazoo?!  Seriously?!  Actually, maybe I don’t want to know.

After removing all the old porch windows we had some repair work to get to before putting them back in (hence why we removed them in the first place).  Our main area of attack was the window sill which was riddled with water damage.

And peeling paint.  So…much…peeling…paint.  This is what we found underneath the old aluminum surrounding the porch window sill.  It’s a bit rough, but definitely worth saving.

The first order of business was scraping.  We had to get rid of the flaking paint and caulking and glue to see what we were dealing with.  And when it comes to scraping, I don’t mess around.  I typically pass on the wire brushes and go straight for the heavy duty scraper.  But do you see the window sill damage here?  All those dings, gouges and missing sections?  That’s what we’re looking to smooth out and repair.

Now this is where I’m going to teach you a little sumpin’ sumpin’ so listen up.  Do you all have your pencils sharpened?  Notepads out?  Ears…errrr…eyes at attention?  So they make this stuff called plastic wood.  It stinks.  Like literally stinks not like Miley’s dance moves stinks, so you want to make sure you use it outside or in a well ventilated area.  But this stuff is awesome!  It’s like taking wood putty to another level.  It’s a resin/sawdust mix which hardens just like wood.  The stuff is even stainable.

This is the stuff that good wood repairs are made of.  We’ve used it once before when we repaired our parlor floor, but this is my first attempt at blogging about it.  You use the putty to fill in any wood areas that are cracked, pitted, or generally full of holes or uneven.  In our case, the window sill was full of giant cracks, gappages, and all sorts of ginourmous holes.  So Colby attacked the sill with a vengeance, scooping the putty out with a wood shim (although the more traditional application route includes a putty knife) and smooshing it into the cracks.

Here’s the before after for plastic wood reference sake.  See how it fills in all the imperfections?  It’s just like your basic wood putty except it’s one thousand times more durable after it dries.  Don’t worry about being too messy with the stuff since you sand it down later.

As per usual, Goose supervised the whole process…once the putty dried of course.  No need to have Plastic Wood tracked throughout our whole house.

The putty usually takes a couple of hours to dry, longer for thicker areas.  Once dry, it’s fair game for sanding.  We’re lucky enough to own a belt sander in our tool arsenal so out it came for the sanding portion of this program.  But any sander would work (palm sander, orbital sander, etc.).

And voila…already looking so much better after just a good sanding.

Ignore the new piece of wood, the one building up the sill.  We’ll get to that later in a “how we fixed our damaged windows” post.  Until then, let’s just soak up all the glory that is a like-new, freshly painted, plastic-wood-ified new window sill.

And a shot of the exterior.  See the difference between the new sill and the old window?  What a difference a little Plastic Wood repair and some paint make!

And just so we’re comparing apples to apples, here’s the before shot of the same window/sill section.  You can see the light, tan-ish areas where the plastic wood was applied and sanded down.

Next up in the porch renovation series, a little window repair.  Spoiler alert…we totally trimmed the window sash on the table saw.  And by we I mean the global we (aka…Colby) and boy was it scary!  Let’s just say, measure twice and cut once has never been so important to us before.  But all eleven windows survived and somehow I did too!

Pssst…Project spoiler alert.  I’ve recently invested in some Annie Sloan chalk paint and may have just finished painting up a side table.  I’m not gonna lie, totally addicted!  Does Annie Sloan offer a 12 step program?!  Have you guys used her products?  Or milk paint? 

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