Do you have a rotting door frame?
Usually mold or wood rot is easily recognizable by the telltale dark, soggy patches that form around the door frame. These dark spots are caused by the growth of fungi as they feed on moist wood. But there are several less obvious symptoms you should be on the lookout for, such as:
- Drafts around the exterior door
- Gaps between the door and the door frame
- Trouble opening and closing the door without it jamming
It’s vital to keep an eye on the condition of any exterior door frames around your house. On top of being unsightly, wood rot can cause:
- Increased utility bills due to drafts
- Water damage due to leaks
- Structural issues due to mold breaking down the wood
If the mold damage is too widespread, you may need to replace the door frame entirely to make sure all traces of mold growth and residual moisture are removed and prevent further damage.
Should I repair or replace it?
Repair the rotted portion if…
- You prod the area with a screwdriver and the wood is soft but intact.
- You’ve noticed some dark spots on the door jamb, but the damage is clearly contained to one area.
Replace the full jamb if…
- The mold has visibly spread through the door jamb, causing it to bend or crumble.
- The damage has spread beyond the door frame into the surrounding structure of your house.
How can I repair it?
Once you’ve determined the damage can be repaired, you need to clear out all of the rotted wood and damaged material. Here’s how:
- Measure the damaged area
- Make sure to remove any weatherstripping before cutting into the frame
- Remove the rotted areas with a chisel, saw, knife, or preferred tool
- Confirm the measurements of the damaged area
- Restore the missing areas of the door jamb by cutting your own replacement piece or filling the space with an epoxy wood filler. If the cutout area is smaller than 8 inches, we’d recommend purchasing a replacement piece like these FrameSaver Rot Repair Pieces to save time and headaches on cutting your own.
- After securely installing the new material, sand the seam formed by the replacement piece to create a smooth, seamless unit.
- Once you’ve repaired the exposed area, prime it and paint it to match the door frame.
DON'T FORGET: if you leave any mold in the area, you’ll soon have another case of wood rot on your hands. If you suspect the damage is too severe to remove all traces of mold, contact a professional, as you may need to replace the whole door jamb.
While repairs are possible, it’s best to prevent the damage to your exterior door frames in the first place. You can stop the development of mold and prevent wood rot by regularly waterproofing and sealing your exterior door frames. Routine paint or stain touch-ups also help to seal and protect wooden door frames.
Have you tried repairing a rotted door frame? What’s your favorite way to prevent wood rot? Tell us how it went in the comments below!