Repairing Wood Damage by Termites, Ants, and Other Insects | Wood Rot
Discovering rotting wood and termite infested wood is never a good feeling. Unlike peeling paint, wood rot cannot be ignored. Even minor damage from termites, ants, and other insects can eventually lead to permanent structural damage of your home if not tended to correctly. Luckily, there are signs that can help you evaluate the health of your wood. Although severe wood rot should be handled by a professional handyman , there are ways to repair wood damage by termites yourself.
Termites will attack any items containing cellulose. Wood is usually 40-50% cellulose and cotton fiber contains 90% cellulose. Although mild termite infestations can be difficult to spot, there are things you can keep an eye out for. "Termite Trails" include digested wood residue (a powder-like substance), feces, eggs, and even dead termites. If you notice termite damage early enough, you can use a wood hardener to cover the decayed area.
First, remove the rotted wood with a chisel. Rotted wood can be identified as discolored or decayed looking. If you are unsure about how to identify wood rot, check out these 10 places to check for wood rot in your house.
Fill the gaps of the damaged wood with the wood hardener and wait for it to dry fully. To expedite the drying process, try using a blow dryer on the patched area. After the wood hardener is completely dry, sand the surface down to match the original shape of the wood.
If the wood damage seems to have long, hollowed out grooves, use a wood filler instead of a hardener. Steps to repair wood rot with a filler are the same as using a hardener. Make sure to get any air bubbles out of the filler by pressing firmly with a putty knife to ensure best results.
Another option in replace of wood fillers and hardeners would be to replace or restructure the wood yourself. Installing a new stability piece next to the rotting wood can be a good option. But always keep in mind that this change could alter the aesthetic look of the original work.
Whichever method you decide on, remember the importance of inspecting the damage thoroughly beforehand. These methods are only recommended for structures with mild termite damage. For professional advice, contact your local Mr. Handyman, a Neighborly company.