Paint over or fix dry rot?

marilyn_2008April 11, 2008

I started preparing to repaint my 600 ft cottage, which has old wood siding. I found quite a bit of dry rot, the largest being a strip about 3 feet wide and 2 inches tall. The siding is horizontal boards. I asked a contractor friend and he said, just fill it in an repaint, it will buy you a few years, but that was before I found out just how big the holes are. Also, in at least one place, the hole goes all the way through the wood. I am not able to do the work myself so am hiring someone to do the prep work. Based on advice from the hardware store, he is filling in the holes with this bondo stuff that has a hardener. MOney is an issue for me and I have spent $300 so far just on scraping off the old paint. Should I go this route, or what the contractor said was the other route, removing all the siding and completely redoing with Hardiboard or something and painting it? The guy who is helping me used up one quart of Bondo- should I get more and continue this route? Also, in some places, the bottom is touching the ground. The contractor said I should have this part made into a concrete pathway next to the house, which he said would cost $1000- is there another way to do this, such as just replace the bottom boards with boards of this hardiboard stuff? Thanks so much for your help.

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A Bondo type product will work well if the substrate (e.g. the underlying wood) is still in good condition. If your wood is not solid, I'd look into a penetrating epoxy type of solution.

Usually there are two components. I liquid type penetrating epoxy that is absorbed by the wood to consolidate and remediate the punky wood. You use this to consolidate the wood fibers and assure the structrual integrity of the piece of wood.

The second component is an epoxy filler. This is similar to the bondo type products but epoxy based. Use this to fill the wood to build up to a smooth surface ready for painting.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 11:35PM
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It would be much better to obtain some new wood siding that matches to old and replace.
But, you can buy bondo in gallons, too.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 9:03AM
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Sounds like your comntractor is digging for work. Yes, it would be nice to completely re-side w/ hardie, but you stated you are on a budget. I would replace the damaged siding pieces w/ matching. Pouring conctere where the sididng is making contact w/the ground is not a solution. Concrete holds moisture just as the soils do and will not rectify the siding rotting out. You need to have that dug out and sloped away from the structure.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2008 at 2:27PM
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Search the Internet for penetrating epoxy products, and get some advice from those folks. It could save you a lot of money, and that kind of thing is easy enough that most people can do it themselves, or hire an inexpensive handman [and closely supervise them and make sure you have read all the product literature and that they have, too, and are doing what they are supposed to and not something else]. You don't have to be a carpenter to do wood restoration.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2008 at 8:28PM
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There's a pretty amazing post on restoration on the City-Data house forum:

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 7:12PM
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