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I'm looking for some advice on repairing this beam on the front of my house. I'm considering trying it myself but am not opposed to hiring a handyman if it's over my head. I suspect this is due to water infiltration over time (and possibly some local birds and/or squirrels deciding to take advantage of it).

  • Should I look at filling the void with some sort of wood filler?
  • Cut out the rot and replace with a chunk of wood and then paint?

Beam photo

Thanks for the help!

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  • Is anything holding the beam up besides nails? No posts or stuff. Add in another picture showing more of the beam and any supports.
    – crip659
    Aug 3, 2023 at 15:56
  • Get a product called wood rot filler
    – Traveler
    Aug 3, 2023 at 16:22
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    Before doing any repairs, you need to determine how deep the rot goes into the beam. Not sure why the beam protrudes out like that but I'd be thinking about cutting that portion off. If it's decorative, I'd cut and replace.
    – JACK
    Aug 3, 2023 at 19:02
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    Please post the photo to a common image hosting service. I can't see it at whatever that URL points to.
    – isherwood
    Aug 3, 2023 at 19:12

2 Answers 2

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As @Jack says, you need to figure out how deep and how far back the wood rot goes.

You also need to understand how decorative versus functional this part is. (You can edit your question to show broader context.) Obviously, if it’s 2/3 rotten and holding something up, it needs a lot more work than a decorative element.

If you hire this out, be sure your trade gives you proof of insurance and workers comp. (Note that in some jurisdictions, sole proprietors don’t have to have workers comp.) Call the insurance company to make sure they are still current. The last thing you want is somebody falling off a ladder while wielding power tools and having the financial burden fall on you.

Safety matters if you diy this. I’d strongly recommend scaffold, rather than a ladder.

Anyway, to fix it, cut away until you’re mostly in solid wood. If you cut the sides off, get a new hunk of wood to fill in. If the void is deep, cut away a square-ish shape and find a hunk of wood. Before screwing and gluing the new wood on, use a 2 part wood hardener like Abatron or Restore-it (*read the instructions: they’re fussy) to soak the rotten wood that remains. Run a few long screws part-way in, so that part of the head sticks out. Bondo (or any other 2-part wood filler) the void. If you’re adding on a block of wood, attach that before the bondo sets. Bondo the cracks, sand, prime, and paint.

Bonus points if you add a galvanized cap (bonderized if you want to paint it), so that this won’t happen in the future.

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    Bonderized for those (like me) who aren't in the know.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 4, 2023 at 16:32
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    @FreeMan — Y’know, I didn’t actually know it was a capital B-bonderized. I just thought it was a generic description, like kleenex (with a small k). I learn something new every day. Aug 4, 2023 at 20:05
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Since it is a decorative part filling is easier option.

Cutting and replacing would involve more work.

There are specific compounds made to repair/fill wood rot.

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