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How To Repair A Rotten Wood Garage Door

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A solid garage door can cost between $1,200 and $4,000. This means you should do your best to maintain the expensive door if you have opted for a wood variety. Thankfully, many doors are made from rot-resistant materials like cedar, cypress, or redwood. The natural oils in these woods can substantially reduce rot concerns. However, the oils will evaporate over time and you may start to notice some rot spots after many years. If you notice this, then you can remove the rot without completely replacing the door. Keep reading to learn how to do this.

Remove The Rot

As you begin your repair, you will need to locate all of the rotten areas of the door. There are two types of rot you are likely to notice. These include wet rot and dry rot, or brown decay and white decay. Wet rot, or brown decay, is typical rot that occurs when wood is exposed to moisture for long periods of time. During the first stages of rot, you will notice a slight brown or gray color around the exposed areas. You may start to see the wood starting to warp as well. As rot sets in, the color will turn to dark brown and the wood will crumble. Look for all of these signs of rot to locate wood in various stages of decay.

You will also need to locate areas of dry rot. Dry rot occurs when an area of your garage door becomes wet and the tissues of the wood become infested by fungus. This fungus devours the wood and causes significant deterioration. Signs of dry rot include patches of crumbling wood that are covered with white or gray fluffy patches. These patches of fungus may also appear gray and fibrous.

Once you complete an inspection and locate all of the rotten parts of your garage door, you will need to remove them. This is necessary to keep the rot from spreading. Use the pointed or square end of a five in one painter's tool to gouge the majority of the loose wood out of the door. For areas where wood is discolored and soft, but not crumbling, use a rotary tool with a core box router bit. This bit has a small rounded end that can eat through wood in a controlled manner. 

Once all the rotten wood is released, you will need to make sure that mold spores are no longer present on the door. Otherwise the fungal spores may continue to damage the wood. Place some rubbing alcohol in a small spray bottle and spritz the areas of the door where you have removed rot. 

Fill In The Holes

Once all the rotten wood is released, you will need to fill in all the holes. This should be accomplished with a polyester filler product that is specifically made for outdoor wood. If you decide to use this type of product, make sure to work with small amounts since the material will begin to harden after only a few minutes.

You will need to get a putty knife ready before you begin. Place small amounts of the wood filler on a piece of plastic or scrap metal. Squeeze a small amount of the hardening compound on top of the filler. Read the directions on the packaging to see how much you need. You probably only need a few drops of the hardening agent. Mix with your putty knife and use the tool to scoop up some of the putty. Force the filler into the holes and make sure to overfill so a small heap can be seen sticking out across each repair. Wait about 20 minutes for the filler to harden and use a piece of 80 or 120 medium grit sandpaper to hand sand the filler. Do this until the filler is flush with the door.

After the sanding is complete, use a wet rag to wipe down the door to remove filler residue. The filler will be white and noticeable if you leave it alone. Thankfully, most fillers can be stained or painted. Just wait a day or two after applying the filler to make sure it has cured fully. If you want your garage door to have a consistent color, then painting is your best option. The filler and the wood will absorb stain differently and you may see noticeable patches across the door where your repairs were made. 

For more information, contact a company like A AAA Allstate Door Company