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Best Quick Fix for Rotted Window Sill

Hi! I love you guys! I was hoping to get some ideas on this. I have a wood-framed window in my tub/shower. We had a tub surround installed about 15 years ago, and the wood frame of the window on the bottom ledge of the framing has rotted away, and water can get between the tub surround and the wall. Besides that, it looks HORRID. I intend to have the whole thing torn out and redone next year, but I would like to know if there is anything I can do quickly that is a safe, relatively inexpensive, aesthetic fix. Thanks so much for any suggestions!

Our Answer

Water and wood certainly don't mix. It does sound like the frame eventually will have to be replaced. Rotted wood is quite common with these frames. However, if the rotted area is limited, you can try filling it in. One product that might help is 3M Bondo Home Solutions Wood Filler. Another product you might try is Abatron WoodEpoxy Wood Replacement Compound.

It would be a good idea to take that extra step and replace the window, and when you do, you should consider using a PVC trim such as PVC Composite White Colonial Casing Moldings from Royal Mouldings.

In any event, you might want to consider adding a small waterproof  shower window curtain to stave off as much water as you can. Good luck with the project.


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woodshop, tools

Transform Dirt Floor Barn into Woodshop

We have an old barn that is about 30 x 40 feet in western Massachusetts. The first floor of the barn is open and has granite footings under the the posts. There is currently a dirt floor, but we want to make the bottom level of the barn the woodshop and are wondering if it would work to pour a concrete slab or if there is better option for transforming the space into a usable shop.

Our Answer

Your barn sounds like a great space for a woodshop.  A concrete floor would probably make the most sense. Since the building is self supporting, the floor will have no structural purpose so would not need to be any thicker than around 6 inches or so.  To make sure the slab doesn't crack, I'd be sure to use a good quality mason.  Preparing the grade and stone base is key, as is being sure its tamped down to eliminate any settlement under the slab.  Wire reinforcement will also be needed.  And given that you are in Massachusetts, I'd also insulate under the slab to make it a bit more comfortable to work on in colder weather.

Also, plan to apply an epoxy floor paint after it is complete, so that the slab is easy to sweep and keep clean.  And think about whether you might want to run wiring for present or future tool, outlets or other electrical connections, and have an electrician prewire the floor before the slab is poured.

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How to Reinforce Roof to Avoid Storm Damage

I live in an area prone to hurricanes and want to strengthen my roof. My house was built in the mid 1980s before local codes were updated after Hurricane Hugo. One solution would be to screw the roof decking to the rafters, but I am still five years away from needing to re-shingle my roof. Is there something I can do from the attic side?  My roof is not insulated, the insulation is in the attic floor.  Would applying a spray-on insulation to the underside of the roof have the added advantage of strengthening the attachment between the decking and rafters?

Our Answer

Pace, in a severe storm, combined wind forces will try to lift your roof off the house.  Adding spray foam insulation, while a fantastic way to lower your energy costs, will have no effect on that.

The best option for an existing home is to reinforce the roof by adding strapping and other forms of hardware design to connect the rafters to the exterior walls of the house.  There are a wide array of options for this but many straps and ties are made by Simpson Strong-Tie.

This type of retrofit project is best left to pros.  It's difficult work requiring access to tight spaces and solid workmanship to assure the reinforcements are effective. Much of this would be easier when you replace your roof, but if you don't want to chance it -- have a pro tackle the project sooner.

Popular Mechanics also has an excellent story on how to reinforce your home for a storm that  you might find helpful.

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