CASE study

Old House Journal - - Restore -

The fail­ing can­tilevered porch on a Span­ish Colo­nial Re­vival house in Los Angeles looked to be be­yond re­pair. Crit­i­cal el­e­ments like the sup­port­ing rafters and porch posts were so badly de­cayed they were pocked with voids. One dec­o­ra­tive cor­bel was so eroded, only a sin­gle screw held it in place.

When Mark Sauer of Mark Sauer Con­struc­tion took on the project, the goal was to pre­serve the most crit­i­cal wood el­e­ments, es­pe­cially the sup­port rafters—which fea­ture sculpted cor­bel ends. The team sal­vaged and reused as much of the orig­i­nal ma­te­rial as pos­si­ble. Tech­niques in­cluded strength­en­ing and fill­ing old, punky wood with Aba­tron Liq­uidWood and Wood Epox, and mak­ing Dutch­man re­pairs with and without sup­ple­men­tal use of those pro­pri­etary wood fillers. As a last op­tion, any el­e­ment be­yond re­pair was re­placed with in-kind wood (of the same species, shape, and di­men­sion).

Be­fore work be­gan on the sup­port rafters, Sauer and his team in­stalled ¾ " all-thread epoxy an­chors for struc­tural in­tegrity. As a last touch af­ter all the wood was sta­bi­lized and re­paired, team mem­bers ap­plied a tex­ture to patched ar­eas to re-cre­ate the ap­pear­ance of wood grain.

ABOVE The wood on the can­tilevered porch of a Span­ish Colo­nial Re­vival house was so dam­aged, the porch posed a safety hazard. LEFT One of the cor­bels was de­com­posed, and barely held to­gether.

RIGHT Once sup­port­ing beams were se­cured with an­chors, the cor­bel ends were re­built us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of Dutch­man re­pairs and wood fillers from Aba­tron. FAR RIGHT The re­stored porch is seen from be­low.

RIGHT A close-up of the WoodEpox re­pair: the ma­te­rial can be cut, sanded, painted or stained, and even scar­i­fied to cre­ate the ap­pear­ance of wood grain, be­fore fin­ish paint­ing.

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