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Ideas From Ed: That Rotten Stickin’-Out Thing

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Ed is a do-it-yourselfer who is happy to share some of his ideas and experiences in this monthly column.

Along the underside of my sunroom roof, there is a series of shaped wooden protrusions that (I think) add class to an otherwise bland part of my house. You may never face this same issue, but I hope you at least enjoy reading about my work to repair things. Here’s what it looked like before doing anything:

The one nearest the house is the issue. I knew something was amiss because it’s the only one that paint is flaking off, and when I put my finger against it, it felt “punky” and rotted. Here’s a close-up:

I didn’t know exactly how it attached, but it turned out not to be an issue, because one gentle tug on it removed it from its recess, and displaced a kazillion black ants who were not very happy with me. The hidden side of the wood looked like this:

Notice that there’s a shaped aluminum “cap” on top of this piece. I made them many years ago to prevent water from soaking into the level top of the wood. It has worked, but apparently the end of the gutter there must leak a bit and keep the wood wet. Here’s the cap:

Obviously, an easy first step was to seal the gutter end. (Sorry, no picture, but pretty straightforward…) Then I found some scraps of a pressure-treated 2 x 12 and made a tracing of the shape onto it.

At first, I thought I’d need to glue/screw two 2 x 12s together and plane them down, because the original was quite a bit thicker than a single piece, but a lot thinner than 2 pieces. However, I found that using pressure-treated 1 x 6 boards attached to a single 2 x 12 made the overall thickness mighty close to what was needed. I cut the 2 x 12 to a rough triangle, and fastened 2 pieces of 1×6 to the other side using ceramic-coated screws, and a lot of them. The screws can stand up to the chemicals in the wood. The screw length was just enough for full penetration, but with a teenie bit of “space” at the end in case a little bit of planing was still needed. Since only one side of this piece is visible once installed, I didn’t get concerned too much with appearance — I just wanted to build up the thickness.

Then, over to the bandsaw I went…

I used some paintable latex/silicone caulk on all the joints between pieces to prevent water entry.

Next came a good coat of primer. I also drilled a hole through this piece since my plan was to attach it using a single Tapcon screw into the brick on the house. The “butt end” would go into the house recess, and all should hold tight. I like Tapcon screws because they are strong and can be driven right into brick or concrete after drilling the appropriate sized hole, without using any other anchor.

I did a test fit and then put a lot of caulking into the house recess to be sure no water could get in anywhere.

The moment had arrived for actual attachment! I used a hammer drill to make the hole in the brick, aligned with the pre-drilled hole in the wood. Then I carefully drove the Tapcon in using an impact driver.

I used some outdoor-rated adhesive caulk to glue the metal cap back on, caulked the wood-to- wood joints all around, and applied the final paint.

I hope all your projects go well. Thanks for reading, and happy restoring!


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