The Rot Doctor


Subject: columns
Date: Wed, 07 Aug 2002

Dear Dr. Rot. Thanks for your prompt reply to my question regarding our old columns. The columns are 17 ft. long, approximately 16 inches at the base which is wooden and rotting. Unfortunately the sprinkler watered this column frequently for several years before we recognized a problem. The columns are hollow but discs were inserted into both ends of the columns when they were rebuilt. I understand that this may shorten the column life by sealing it and preventing escape of moisture. We are at a loss as to how to proceed with column rejuvenation; local builders have no experience with columns and are unable to help. Sincerely, Calvin M.


Okay, that's what I needed to know.

First, remove all paint from the affected areas and directly adjacent. Next, saturate the dry wood with our CPES (Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer). The CPES will be easily absorbed through the wood, going wherever it can find voids, cracks or crevices. IF there are holes all the way through the column, we suggest getting a garden sprayer and spraying the inside of the column with CPES. This hole can later be closed using our Fill-It Epoxy Filler.

We suggest that you make the CPES application two times, allowing a couple of days (or longer) between applications. Within a week the wood should be fairly hard, and it will certainly be free from all active fungi and bacteria. If for any reason the wood is not as hard as you would like it to be, then we suggest going back and apply a layer of our Layup & Laminating Resin. After the CPES (and L&L resin if required), you can fill all holes, cracks and gaps with our Fill-It Epoxy Filler. In 24 hours the filled areas can be sanded smooth and the columns repainted.

The end result of this type of restoration is a rot-free structural repair. It is permanent and that wood will not rot in the future.

It's hard to know how much of the products you would require. Certainly the wood should be allowed to absorb all the CPES that it will, and that is unpredictable. My best guess would be around a quart per column for two applications. For the filling it's strictly a volume issue...enough to fill the vacant areas.

The above is the procedure that many have used to restore hollow columns. You may want to consider drilling access holes to the upper interior of all the columns and wand-spraying the inside with the CPES. CPES does give wood very good protection against future deterioration.

Come on back if you have additional questions, and we'll do our best to give you honest answers.