Rot Repair in Older Building Restoration Projects
If your home has original wood elements that have rotted or are missing pieces, they can often be repaired with architectural epoxies. By repairing the original wood elements of a building instead of replacing them, you can preserve old growth wood and save money versus replacing the wood.
Architectural epoxies are specialized two-part epoxy wood conditioners and putties used to repair rotten wood. Originally, they were developed for use in the boating industry, but they are now frequently used to conserve historic wood. When used sparingly, epoxies have been proven to be sustainable.
Because architectural epoxies contract and expand well with the wood, they are best used on rotted wood and wood with missing material or large holes. The chemical reaction between the wood conditioner and the putty causes the epoxy to cure. Architectural epoxies can be purchased from most home improvement stores, and should be oiled, primed, and painted just like would be done with historic woods.
It is important not to apply epoxy to areas where it is not needed. As an example, a gap in the window sill caused by grain checks, should be filled only into the grain checks with epoxy, not onto the window sill itself. Epoxy also should not be used to fill nail holes or small splits in wood siding.
If replacing missing pieces of original wood elements, it is always preferable to splice in new pieces of wood that match the missing piece. When this is not possible, an architectural epoxy makes a great repair for old wood restorations and can be used to replace missing pieces or to repair rot.