The Rot Doctor


Subject: Pier repair
Date: Sat, 18 Aug 2001

Hi Doctor:

We are buying a house which is supported on a moderate hillside by 24-26 pier pilings, 8-14 inches in diameter. Problem is that we have termite, dry rot and fungus rot damage to 10 or more of the pilings mostly at the joining to the 2' x 2' concrete pad footing or within a couple of feet above. (you can stick fingers inside the piling). How would you restore these pilings to original or better condition, and prevent any further deterioration? Please expedite. We're in escrow and the engineer is going to be making his recommendation soon. THANKS!

Drake Van C.

These types of repairs have been made using our system and our products. Here are the specifics:

We'll start with the assumption that the bases of these pilings are reasonably dry, or can be made dry. We have dried larger wood pieces by using one of the 80,000 btu kerosene heater/blowers that you can rent at most rental places. You must use the kerosene rather than the propane, since the kerosene puts out a much dryer heat.

The poles are tapped to determine the top level of the deterioration. Just above the top area, downward-sloping holes are drilled in toward the center of the piling. These should be at least 1/4", and a little larger is even better. These are then flooded with CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer). It is applied until it runs out the bottom of the piling. If you like, you can also after the initial flooding drill more holes lower down and flood these as well. This will assure you that you have completely saturated the base of the piling. This will basically sterilize the wood. It will pretty much eliminate all bacteria, insects and fungi. Also throughly brush the CPES over the exterior surface of the pilings.

Now wait for about a week, leaving the poles open to air circulation.

Next, wrap the poles from the holes on down and right to the concrete base tightly with kitchen wrap (Saran Wrap). Then, using something like a kitchen baster, inject into the holes out Layup & Laminating Resin. This will be a fairly slow process, as it takes some time for the resin to percolate down through the wood. You inject it into the holes, wait, and then come back and inject some more. You'll see at some point that it is starting to come out against the kitchen wrap. Fine -- keep injecting until the upper holes will accept no more. Wait 24 hours, and then remove the wrap above the second set of holes, and repeat the process. it will take much less resin because you are now filling just the odd hole or gap.

After this, you can finish the repair by filling any open holes, gaps or cracks with a mix made of the L&L Resin and fine sawdust.

All of this epoxy chemically bonds together. Epoxy is stronger than wood, particularly under compressive loads, which is what you have. For all intents and purposes, your piling bases area will be strongly resistant to any future rot or deterioration.

In terms of materials required, I would estimate that you will need about two of the 2-gallon units of the CPES, and probably two of the 2-gallon units of the Layup & Laminating Resin. We can supply the fine sawdust as well.

Hope this is helpful, and come on back if you have additional questions.