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Exterior of the house we discovered rodents had chewed through the rot and were in the walls. Because it was the end of season (last fall) and we were closing down for the winter I just sealed it off the best I could but now I need to fix it permanently. I don't think this board is structural but I'm not sure. I'd prefer not to rip the entire board out so I'm looking for suggestions on how to address this. The baseboard? has to be replaced for sure because of the hole and it's all rotten. The board/baton could probably be replaced too but that could also be patched. Can I just cut this entire section out (2' worth) and patch it with a similar size board?

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  • Looks to me like the rot starts above the "baseboard" here (which may have received a previous repair).
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 23 at 12:44

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If I was to replace just a portion of that skirt board, here's how I'd go about it. I'd replace the entire section over the deck rather than creating two new joints. It's really no more work and will look better.

  1. Procure a length of rough-sawn 1x10 or 1x12 cedar, as is appropriate. You could use fir, but it's not as rot resistant. You could even use rough-surface plywood in a pinch, but you'd have to fur it out; it won't be as thick as a solid board.

  2. Rough-cut the new board a few inches long, then seal it on all sides with your house stain. Just apply one coat at this time. You'll apply another on the face later.

  3. Optionally uninstall the decking in the area. It'll be a bit challenging to remove the skirt board with so little clearance. Removing the decking would make it much easier.

  4. Use a framing square to strike a line at a sensible location where you'll cut the existing skirt. Consider the framing behind and how you'll attach the new board. Ideally both board ends will be well secured.

  5. Using a circular saw set to depth (just less than the thickness), or an oscillating tool, make a cut at a consistent angle. This could be 90°, but generally a 30° or 45° angle is used to better mask the joint. Whatever you decide it needs to be flat. Don't let the angle change across the cut. Stop short of the metal flashing so you don't damage it. Use smaller saws or a knife to finish carefully.

  6. Remove the board. Use nail pullers or drive the nails through the board to release it. Use a utility knife or small saw to clean up any wood not already cut so you're left with a clean end to fit against.

  7. Measure, mark, and cut the new board. Consider the height of the original board and its notch, as well as the overall length to your new joint. Try to emphasize a tight fit at the end joint over anything else. That's what'll be most conspicuous when you're done. Start slightly long, then dry fit and adjust as needed.

  8. Seal the cut ends with stain. You don't need to let this dry to continue, but get the end grain soaked well.

  9. Locate and mark your backing framing, then nail the board in place. Use splitless siding nails of adequate length. Set them just flush.

  10. Do any caulking you like. You could fill any imperfect joints. Don't worry about under the flashing--that's not typically caulked.

  11. Apply another coat of stain over everything. This will improve the appearance of the nails and caulk and provide more protection from weather.

  12. Reinstall your decking, if removed earlier.

While you have things apart, look over the deck situation in general. This is a very common decay area, either because flashing was done poorly or because space for ventilation wasn't allowed. Consider fixing any issues you find while it's open.

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