Repairing Rotted Wood in a Deck

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How do I repair decaying wood in a deck?

Repairing Rotted Wood in a Deck

Did you neglect to read up on tips on deck protection and repair? Too late, the damage is done. What now? Water can do a job on a deck that hasn't been properly protected against the elements. Fortunately, you can usually repair this situation by following these ten steps:

1. Remove all wet, loose and unsound wood, using a wood chisel, an electric drill with a spade bit, or other suitable tool.
2. Probe the area around the decay with an awl. If it feels as solid as unaffected areas, drill a lot of closely spaced holes of 1/8-inch (3-mm) diameter in the wood and inject a liquid wood hardener as directed by the manufacturer.
3. Mix two-part epoxy or polyester wood filler as directed. Don't mix more than you can apply and shape in a few minutes. This stuff hardens real fast, and once it does, it's useless.
4. Fill the hole or build up the affected area with the wood filler, using a putty knife or flexible plastic spreader. Press hard to work the initial layer into the surface for a good bond.
5. Clean off the applicator and mixing container immediately.
6. Use a rasp tool to shape or level excess filler as soon as the filler sets up, but before it dries completely.
7. Use medium or coarse sandpaper to further shape and blend the patch when the filler is completely dry. For flat surfaces, use a rubber sanding block or power sander. On contoured surfaces, use wood dowels or other appropriate shapes to back the sandpaper.
8. Blow off the dust and apply freshly mixed filler to any remaining depressions or pinholes, or to build up more material as needed get the shape you want.
9. Use medium, then fine sandpaper, to smooth the patch and feather it into the surrounding wood.
10. Touch up the patched area with primer and paint.

   

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