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Repair Rotting Window Trim

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Bonnie in Maryland listening on WJFK. What can we do for you today?

    BONNIE: Well, I’ve got some window problems on the outside and I wanted your help to know whether or not I’m going to need to replace my windows or just replace the trim. The outside is rotten. Obviously, eight – six or seven years ago it wasn’t painted correctly. And the trim around the outside of the window is falling off.

    TOM: OK.

    BONNIE: And you know, it’s just – the window is perfect inside, but outside – not so good.

    TOM: Well, the window trim can easily be removed and replaced. The key is going to be that when you take the trim off, is the window frame itself rotted? How deep does that rot go? The window trim can be removed and replaced. If you get to a wood windowsill and you find out that the windowsill is rotted …

    BONNIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: … there are different levels of repair. You can either cut out the rotted wood and rebuild it – a good carpenter can do that – or if you have rot spots that are just sort of pocketed out, you can use like an epoxy filler and fill those in; sort of pack that like it’s a cavity.

    How old is the house?

    BONNIE: Well, this addition is eight years old.

    TOM: Mm. Yeah. Well, I would try to save the windows if I could. They’re probably double hung and they’re probably thermal panes.

    BONNIE: They’re fine. And what I’m worried about is that a, you know, contractor’s going to tell me I need new windows and I just wanted to …

    TOM: Well, then you’ve got to – you’ve got to find – you’re not going to hire a contractor. You want to hire a carpenter because this is a …

    BONNIE: I want to hire a carpenter.

    TOM: This is a carpentry project.

    BONNIE: So don’t call a window replacement company.

    LESLIE: No, no.

    TOM: No. Oh no, no, no.


    TOM: You call a window replacement company, guess what they’re going to sell you?

    BONNIE: Right.

    TOM: Replacement windows. (chuckling) OK? No, this is a carpentry job.

    BONNIE: Would it help, at this point, if I’m not getting it done right away, to spray with a mildew or mold inhibitor?

    TOM: Painting it may help; might slow it down a bit. But …


    TOM: … what I would suggest you do is, you know, get to the worst ones first. They’re probably going to be on the east and the north side of your house.

    BONNIE: It’s exactly right. Yes.

    TOM: At least try to get – that’s the cold, damper sides and that’s where you get more of the rot.

    BONNIE: Right. And this climate is very humid in the middle part of Maryland …

    TOM: Right.

    BONNIE: … near Washington, D.C.

    LESLIE: And it’s even got your dog upset about it. (chuckling)

    BONNIE: Yes. Yes, he’s very upset. He’s barking at the window because he sings (ph). (chuckling) Thank you so much.

    LESLIE: You’re so welcome.

    TOM: Thanks, Bonnie.

    LESLIE: You know, a good national company is something called Mr. Handyman, which is a national chain of people that are carpenters specifically for all types of handyman. And they’re licensed and bonded and they’re pretty good in every state. And so if you don’t know of somebody offhand, you can generally call them and they’ll be good.

    BONNIE: Perfect. OK, well that’s a good hint. Thank you so much.

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