The Rot Doctor


Subject: I've read it all - well almost. (column repair)
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999

I have three of four wooden Doric columns that after 30 years have acquired damp rot around their bases. Poking around the base I've removed about 2-3" of wood vertically within the flutes. I've read all your product information and before I order, I still have three questions. These are load bearing columns.

1. The Lay-up solution; after treating the infected area with the penetrant, and before the epoxy filler to restore the original appearance - the use of the lay-up? Since the missing material is vertical, and your specs indicate that the Lay-up is a "thin" consistency will it not run to the base - away from the upper sections of the damage, and puddle around the base?

The issue is a bit tricky -- and confusing. The L&L Resin we recommend when strength is required. It is a very slow-setting compound and even when brushed on vertical surfaces will penetrate the CPES-treated wood. True, it will run a bit and tend to puddle at the bottom, but enough will bond to the upper portions to add substantial strength. Of course, on a horizontal surface then gravity makes all the penetration down and it is most effectively used in these situations.

Whether you need the L&L Resin application is something only you can determine. We certainly do not want to encourage you to buy something you do not need, but neither do we want to suggest that in all cases the CPES alone is sufficient treatment. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. The Epoxy Filler is itself very strong and will also bond with the CPES-treated wood fibers and add substantial strength. If I were to make a guess based on your description and my own work on columns, I would say that the CPES treatment and the Epoxy Filler for vacant areas would be sufficient.

2. In order to effect a worthwhile "guesstimate" on how much product I should purchase: Do you folks have a chart or information that X amount of penetrant covers Y amount of area. And along with that Z amount of Lay-up or Putty covers how much area.

It's almost impossible to estimate the amount of CPES required, because everything depends on the amount of product the wood absorbs -- and you do want to allow the wood to absorb all that it will. That said, in your case I would guess that a 2-quart unit of the CPES would be sufficient to treat the bases of the four columns. As for the L&L Resin should you want to add a coating of that, I would guess that the 12 oz unit just might do it, although the 2-pint unit would be a more sure thing. For the Epoxy Filler, it is strictly a volume issue. Look at what you plan to fill and estimate how much product in volume you will need to complete the project. If timing is an issue, the CPES must be shipped surface because it is a Hazardous Material, but the L&L Resin and Epoxy Filler can be shipped by First Class Mail or UPS air.

3. And finally, Shelf Life ? for each product.

Shelf life for unmixed and capped CPES is indefinite. We are still testing a 1990 batch and it works just fine. CPES must be stored in temperatures above freezing. The shelf life for the L&L Resin is 2-3 years. The Epoxy Filler has a shelf life of about one year, at which time it starts to thicken. It still will set and cure, but it just gets a little harder to work with.

Thank you guys for being there I do need your products, just need some questions answered. Will order this weekend.

Richard S.

Thanks for your interest in our products and come on back if you have additional questions. When you order the CPES, remember we have a Cold Weather formula for temperatures between 70F and 28F, and the Warm Weather Formula for temperatures between 50F and 100F.