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Plz help--wood columns mildewed and cracked!

We replaced the wooden columns on our front porch about 5 years ago. We primed and painted them. They have splintered around the bases, and there are large mildew spots in places, and the wood has split and cracked. We really can't replace them again.

 

How can we fix them without breaking the bank,  but also, how can we keep them from splintering and mildewing so badly? 

 

It really makes the front of the house look bad. 

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Posted 2012-04-29T15:19:06+0000  by kbrich1218 kbrich1218
 

Hey kbrich1218,

 

Thanks for your question and welcome to the community!

 

Depending on how much the cracks and splits you have will determine how you can repair them effectively. 

 

If you have long, lengthy cracks; you can drill a small hole around twice the width of the crack at the end to prevent further splitting.  For all cracks, you'd need to inspect and carefully remove any loose or rotted pieces of wood. You can do this with either a sanding sponge, or for larger areas, you can use a palm motorized sander (that can be rented out). Either way, you are using high numbered grit sandpaper (150 or higher) to ensure you are just smoothing out any rough surface areas. 

 

Make sure that any dust and debris from the splintered wood and dust from sanding is completely off the columns. Inspect to see if there is still any loose or rotted pieces of the column before continuing. If the wood is holding firm, but some areas are soft to the touch, you may need to use a Wood Hardener and Petrifier to harden any of the damaged areas. This will be a needed step if any areas are rotted to ensure your new items will be held securely onto the surface.

 

After the area has been treated, and is clean of dust and debris you are now ready to eliminate the mildew spots. While you can do this first, depending on how much is there, I find that taking out the bad pieces of wood first helps you to get access to all the areas that need to have mildew removed. Work with gloves and safety goggles whenever dealing directly with wood and mildew removal. The best thing we sell in our store to get rid of mold and mildew and prevent it from coming back is an item called Concrobium. This amazing product is easy-to-use, and has no harsh chemicals like ammonia or bleach in it. 

32 oz. Mold Control by Concrobium

 

Next, you can use a high-quality Interior and Exterior Wood Filler to cover and fill any gaps. After applying the filler in the cracks, you'll need to use your same sander/sanding sponge to even out the excess on the surface. 

 

You would need to use a high-quality exterior grade primer of your choice to coat the entire columns, and not just the repaired areas. That way, your new topcoat of paint will look even and perform at its best. 

 

Also consider using a high-quality caulk sealant to make sure any future moisture won't get into any existing joints and crevices after painted is completed. Any mildew spots you see further down the road, you can simply spray and wipe off the areas using Concrobium...it acts as a mildew preventer as well!

 

All of these items, including the paint supplies, can be found in-stock at your local Home Depot store

 

Your columns will be looking good as new again, and your wallet won't be damaged either.

 

Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

 

aboveaveragejoe

Posted 2012-04-30T17:40:42+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL

Great advice from Joe here - no doubt. 

 

I just wanted to chime in with couple more (hopefully) helpful tips to prevent this problem from happening again.

 

*** Trick is to keep wood of the ground. Regardless of the repair, if wood is in contact with ground or concrete it will keep sucking moisture from same and deteriorating.

 

Typically structural support columns are installed on something called standoff  post base. These bases are designed with 1" clearance to provide capillary break. You haven’t specified if your columns are structural and if they are installed with such but if they are not, an experienced and knowledgeable contractor could temporarily support existing ones and slide these in.

 aba.jpgaba66.jpg

http://www.strongtie.com/products/connectors/ab-aba-abe-abu.asp

 

These post bases feature 1" standoff height above concrete floors, code-required when supporting permanent structures that are exposed to the weather or water splash, or in basements. They reduce the potential for decay at post and column ends.

 

If you already have standoff bases installed and you are referring to “skirt” that’s rotting than you can simply replace 1x boards around the bottom of the base with “plastic” (PVC) boards and call it a day.

 azek.JPG

If these are decorative wood columns (wrap around) then you can cut an inch of the bottom, shim the gap with composite shims or piece of PVC 1X and install new fiberglass or PVC skirt around the bottom of it to cover the gap.***Make sure you have enough room around the bottom of the base for new skirt.

 

Hope this helps.

 

George

Posted 2012-04-30T19:14:59+0000  by George_HD_CHI
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Posted 2018-10-13T09:27:55+0000  by ashwin
 
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