Stronger than wood?
April 8, 2013 5:27 AM   Subscribe

I have an ongoing issue with a area of my house that involved moisture, mold and heartache as outlined here I have found a small piece of 2x4 in the wall that is moisture damaged, it is sponge-like. It is a small area and I am wondering if there is anything I can do,, like inject it with some super stuff, that would avoid me having to dismantle the area and replace this section of 2x4. It is at the bottom of a wall, the sill beneath it is fine, it is just about 18 inches of 2x4 that appear to be damaged. Thanks oh thanks for the continued support. Henry
posted by silsurf to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
If it's just one area of wall (and the water infiltration issue is done) once the wood has been thouroughly dried for a few days with a fan you can "sister" the 2X4 with a sandwich of boards on either side of the damaged area and extending a bit beyond it, best if you can sandwich the whole length.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:32 AM on April 8, 2013

There are polyester wood resins that I've seen used for repairing small areas of dry-rot - for example, on an old window sill where repairing would be easier than replacing - but what you're describing sounds a little large for that sort of thing, and I'm not sure I'd trust it for a support member.

What is it about the way it's situated that makes you not want to replace the bad part? I think that'd end up being the best way. You're going to have to end up opening the wall to apply the filler anyhow, and as along as it's open, might just as well saw out the piece of 2X4 and replace it with a new piece, repair the drywall and carry on.
posted by jquinby at 5:34 AM on April 8, 2013

Response by poster: thanks, I imagine replacing the piece is really the way to go.
posted by silsurf at 5:44 AM on April 8, 2013

Yea, if you're going to open the wall to apply the filler, you should just replace the wood. And if you're worried about continued moisture issues, you can safeguard against future issues by using pressure treated wood.
posted by moviehawk at 5:56 AM on April 8, 2013 [1 favorite]

No, there's nothing you can inject the wood with that would restore the wood's structural value. There's stuff you can apply to the outside to harden and reshape it, but it's entirely cosmetic. Replace the wood or add more wood next to it without removing the old stuff.
posted by jon1270 at 6:11 AM on April 8, 2013

Once you get in there and excised the moldy wood I'd think you'd want to clean all the surfaces you can reach with some sort of biocidal like a bleach solution, especially if you can't do anything about the source of the moisture.
posted by XMLicious at 6:13 AM on April 8, 2013

What about Git Rot? It's an injectable epoxy frequently used to repair wooden boats and claims to restore wood to its original strength.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:16 AM on April 8, 2013

An epoxy might be effective if you were able to fully infuse the entire section. But it would be very expensive. The use on boats is not uncontroversial and often a get by step, or a small area that would be insanely expensive to replace.
posted by sammyo at 6:32 AM on April 8, 2013

[I am posting on behalf of my partner in crime, who is a fine finish carpenter. NYFFC disclaimer, etc.]

As someone who does structural framing reinforcement on a regular basis I'd say your best bet is to take out a chunk of drywall, cut out the rotted section of stud, spray it down with a bleach solution to help prevent future dry rot etc... and then sister the remainder of the existing stud with a new stud. I don't remember code for 2x4's off hand but two 10p nails every 12" should be quite sufficient. You can use structural screws if you prefer. Depending on where this is you may need to cut off the ends of the siding nails before you can put the new piece of wood in (end nips would work, angle grinder is fast but sends sparks around). I would recommend cutting the new piece to fit tightly length wise, otherwise it won't really be supporting the load. If you can't fit the full length piece in there then I would cut two pieces that fit tightly (don't forget to account for the @1/8" of the blade kerf). And then put in a 4-6 foot mending piece across that joint and use long (at least 4" structural screws) to go through the mending piece and the sistered sections and into the remainder of the existing stud.

Also the sill is fine because it's PT and so shouldn't be an issue. And while opened up I would check the adjoining studs as well to make sure there are no additional issues.
You can find structural screws at most lumber yards and home centers. Fastenmaster Timberlok or Simpson Strongdrive or similar would work fine.

Good luck!

[Here is a drawing he did to illustrate the above instructions.]

[Feel free to MeMail me with any follow-up questions.]
posted by sunusku at 10:48 AM on April 8, 2013 [2 favorites]

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