The wood below a few of our large windows (windows are 96"x36") is rotting. It's soft to the touch, and a mouse or rat took a couple chunks out of it last night. I called a siding company, who referred me to a window company, and both kind of scratched their heads. A carpenter told me it was too big a job for him on account of the windows.

What kind of service professional would be able to help me with this? What would be involved in a repair like this?

Here's a photo:


  • Looks like you need a glazier to take the glass out, then a finish carpenter to replace the rotted wood, then the glazier to put the glass back again. - See also youtube.com/… – A. I. Breveleri Jul 25 '17 at 18:55
  • Find a different carpenter. That's routine work right there that any reputable tradesman would gladly take. Were it my house I'd be buying new windows with vinyl or aluminum cladding. – isherwood Jul 25 '17 at 19:11

There's an alternative to replacing the wood; there are several ways to repair it using resins.

  • One approach involves four steps. First, any loose material is removed, but intact, soft material can remain. Second, a thin resin is applied to penetrate deeply into the wood, seal it, and provide a solid surface. Third, an epoxy putty, often filled with wood fibers, is used to fill and restore the original shape. The last step is sanding and finishing. This link illustrates the process: http://www.hereandthere.org/oldhouse/fixing-decayed-wood.html.
  • A simpler three-step process is to grind away the rotted wood down to good, solid wood. The void is then filled with a special epoxy putty that strongly bonds with wood, remains a little flexible, and expands and contracts similar to wood. The putty is shaped and contoured to match the original. If the original isn't a simple flat surface, the shape can be reproduced on a plastic scraper that is then used as a template to shape the putty. When it hardens, it is sanded and finished.

    Here's a video of this type of repair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3l5q0xaQEf8. As noted in the comments, the video uses an extremely expensive material. But you can accomplish the same result with much cheaper materials. For example, Bondo and others make special epoxy putties designed for rotted wood repair. Here's a link to the Bondo product: http://bondo.com/bondo-rotted-wood-repair-kit-20178.html, and a link to one sold by Home Depot: http://www.homedepot.com/p/PC-Products-Rotted-Wood-Repair-Kit-084113/100664090.

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  • Excellent answer... thanks, I appreciate it. I did end up using a wood hardener similar to the one you linked to. Seemed to work great... luckily there was enough wood to save it without replacing it. Thanks again – Kid Oct 16 '17 at 13:48
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    @Kid, please use votes to reward helpful answers. Accept or provide an answer to resolve the question. Take the tour if I'm not making sense. – isherwood Nov 14 '17 at 14:44

If the sash is the only thing rotted, it may be worthwhile to replace the sash only. It will take a mill shop that makes custom windows to copy what you have there. A cabinet and/or door shop comes to mind. The other trick is how it is installed. If it is screwed in through the jamb, it will not be nice coming apart. If it is held in with a stop bead the replacement will be a breeze, relatively speaking.

This is if the jamb is in good order. You may find that once the sash is removed, the jamb has rot as well, then you are needing to replace the whole unit. A set of fixed full view french door, comes to mind. They come in 8' heights although it will need to be ordered, perhaps custom ordered in most cases.

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  • Thanks for your answer, good advice. I dug around a little and it looks like it's a tongue and groove type of join so it's not coming out easily. The good news though is that there doesn't appear to be additional rot past the surface. – Kid Jul 28 '17 at 16:31

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