How To Repair and Restore Termite Damage and Dry Rotted Wood

damaged wood on an abandoned house in much need of repairTermites love wood, it’s their food source. And while that is natural in their own wooded environment of fallen or rotten trees, it makes for a lot of problems for homeowners. Being that most of our homes are made from wood, there is a likelihood that it will at some point have termites or wood rot damage. In this article we look at how to repair and restore wood that has been affected by these pests.

In California, this year has produced an unprecedented amount of rain. I’ve seen plenty of roofs covered with tarps to protect the structure from leaking. Along with this rain, decks have also been pummeled with seemingly constant moisture. These elements make a perfect breeding ground for wood rot and termites to flourish.

Procedures for Restoring or Repairing Termite Damage or Dry Rot

Depending on the type of wood you’ll be repairing and where it is at, will help to determine the exact procedure to fix it. For instance, some of the more common places that we see dry rot are on facia, decks, shutters, and patio covers. So, for the purposes of this article we’ll focus on solutions for just these.

1. Clean the Affected Area

Depending on where it is you could use a paint accessory like a power washer or some solvent solution (or combination of both). Power washing helps to prepare the surface for repair work but also works good to strip older paint from the area affected.

2. Repair the Termite Damage or Dry Rot

Sometimes it just isn’t possible or practical to repair all the damaged wood. In that case, you’d need to replace the boards. It’s important that you understand though whether you have termite damage or dry rot. If you have termite damage, you’ll need to treat the area first and leave it to work for several weeks (killing off the termites in the area).

Otherwise, you could just make the repair and find that a few years later its all messed up again. Treat the termite area with either a professional termite company or you can also get some treatment from a hardware store. Be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear (such as safety goggles, gloves, etc.).

After the wood has been treated and given time to work it’s magic, you can then begin to repair. The repair process involves stripping all the wood rotted or termite damaged areas until you get it all out. This is vitally important, remove all the dead wood.

Next, patch the wood that needs to be repaired. I use either water putty or bondo. The water putty takes some getting used to and can be messy, but when it hardens, it’s like a rock and it seems to bond very well. Once you get the general shape of the repair work completed, it’s time to let it dry. Give it a couple days to set, depending on outside temperature. When dry, start sanding to shape.

3. Refinishing or Repainting the Wood

refinished deckOnce the repair work is done, you can now begin to restore the area. I usually add a good primer coat, then finish off with paint or a decent finish.

Depending on if you are repainting say the entire facia, you can use an airless paint sprayer for trim. I like the Graco X7 for this purpose.

If the area repaired is the only place you plan to paint, a roller or brush can do the job just fine.