Rx for Weather-Damaged Windows

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    Harry Whitver

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    Untreated, soft juvenile wood in window frames and trim will rot quickly if its in frequent contact with puddled rainwaterespecially if the area cant readily drain or dry out. End grain is particularly prone to soaking up water. And in hot, humid climates, the risk of rot increases.

    Harry Whitver

    Untreated, soft juvenile wood in window frames and trim will rot quickly if it’s in frequent contact with puddled rainwater—especially if the area can’t readily drain or dry out. End grain is particularly prone to soaking up water. And in hot, humid climates, the risk of rot increases.
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    It only takes a little air space to allow the base of a window or door unit to drain and dry when it gets wet. Use plastic shims to hold the foot of the unit up from the waterproofed sill framing. And cut brick mold or trim just a tad short to leave a drainable space at the bottom.

    Harry Whitver

    It only takes a little air space to allow the base of a window or door unit to drain and dry when it gets wet. Use plastic shims to hold the foot of the unit up from the waterproofed sill framing. And cut brick mold or trim just a tad short to leave a drainable space at the bottom.
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    Borate-based wood preservatives such as Tim-Bor or Bora-Care protect wood from rot, but are nontoxic to people and animals. The effect isnt permanent (the materials leach out of the wood), but it will buy some time. Borate crystal rods (like the brand-name product Impel) will protect for longer.

    Harry Whitver

    Borate-based wood preservatives such as Tim-Bor or Bora-Care protect wood from rot, but are nontoxic to people and animals. The effect isn’t permanent (the materials leach out of the wood), but it will buy some time. Borate crystal rods (like the brand-name product Impel) will protect for longer.

Modern wood windows are more energy efficient than the windows of days gone by. But they’re built with today’s lumber: softer, younger wood with wider grain and more open pore structure. As such, they’re more likely to soak up water and support wood-destroying fungus.

In a hot, humid climate, juvenile wood is exposed to lots of rain, heat, and atmospheric moisture—and that’s a recipe for rot. In the New Orleans market, restoration carpenter Michael Davis told JLC, BUILDER’s sister brand, that he’s “guaranteed a steady stream of jobs repairing rotten windows and doors.”

Whether it’s a repair or a full replacement, Davis has a prescription for protecting new or old windows and doors against the onslaught of fungus. Priority one is to reduce the unit’s exposure to standing water that puddles during or after a rainstorm. He says to back prime any wood you can reach, seal all the end grain with a quality primer or an epoxy-based coating, and raise the units slightly with plastic shims so they’re not sitting directly on a horizontal surface where water could collect. This also creates an air space for drying when wetting occurs.

For extra protection, Davis treats windows with wood preservative—applying a borate solution by dipping or brushing, or inserting borate crystal rods into holes discreetly bored into the bottom edge of the unit.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: New Orleans, LA.