DIY Tutorials Home Maintenance One Room Challenge

Replace the Rot

May 11, 2015

We last left you all with our big playroom reveal that took us a good ole’ 6 weeks to complete, but there was one thing that we didn’t post about that occurred as part of the makeover process: replacing the rotted window stool. We noticed, about a year ago, there was some discoloration on the window stool. When I took a closer look, I noticed that there also was a part of it that looked like it had a small crack. When I pressed on it, my finger went right though the surface. The rot was about 2 inches in length, and very, shall we say… unsightly.

rotted window stool

There are (at least) 2 different ways to fix wood rot. There is the wood filler route or removing and replacing the whole thing. I’m sure we would have had a nice result with the wood filler when it was all said and done, but there was no telling what other places were susceptible to rot. Not to mention, using wood filler actually requires many more steps than just replacing the whole thing. One of those steps being, would be sanding down the wood filler. Read the warning labels on those things, and you’ll see why it’s not my favorite idea. So in our minds, replacing it was the way to go. We’ve done this once before in the kitchen, when we were remodeling it. It’s actually fairly simple. We did learn one lesson, though: Use the old stool as a stencil. You can measure the old one and do all that jazz, but trust me it’s just easier to use the old one as a stencil.

We went to Home Depot and purchased an 11/16″ x 5-1/4″ stool. I know a lot of people call these things sills (Guilty!), but if you go to the hardware store looking for this under the name “sill”, you are not going to find what you need.

replacing a window stool via

They sell them by the foot, and they’re in 12 foot pieces at Home Depot, but you can cut it down to the size that you need. I used the hand saw there to cut it. I had to refine the cut at home, because it was a little jagged. (I had cut it slightly longer than needed to account for this.) I suppose I could have had them cut it there, but no one was available at the time to use their electric saw; the downside of shopping on a Sunday, I guess.

After refining the edge at home, I carefully removed the old stool using a box cutter and a crow bar. The only thing holding the stool in place is caulk and a few nails. The first step is to use a box cutter (or any razor) to slice through the caulk between the stool and the wall and the stool and the window. It took a few passes with the box cutter to get through all of the caulk.

replacing a window stool via

After I cut through the caulk, I carefully tried to wedge my crow bar between the stool and the drywall. We have a trim piece under the window stool and I was also trying to keep the stool from breaking (to use as a stencil), so this was a pretty slow process. The stool did end up splitting, but not completely.

replacing a window stool via

replacing a window stool via

Once I had the old stool removed, I took it into the garage and placed it on top of the new one, and marked where it needed to be cut on the sides. I cut through my traced lines using the jigsaw. Presto! The exact same piece!

replacing a window stool via

Same piece or not, it’s often during these times when you discover just how uneven your walls are. The piece fit, but there were huge gaps between the wall and the L-shaped sides of the stool. I took it back into the garage and lightly sanded the side that meets the window. This made is slightly shorter in depth, but it brought the stool closer to the wall. There were still gaps, but at least now they were a size that we could caulk. (Before the gap was too big, and the caulk would have just fallen through the gap.)

replacing a window stool via

I used our nail gun and 2″ nails to secured it. After that, it was a matter of caulking it, letting it dry, and then putting a fresh coat of paint. Blair used her tried and true method of using a grouting sponge to get a perfect caulk line. She tried to video it for you guys, but only using one hand and trying to caulk with the other – it didn’t turn out very well. We will post a how-to soon enough, because it’s something everyone needs to know!

replacing a window stool via

Here is a little secret for you: we still need to paint it. The trim in the playroom is painted a softer white, so if we painted it a crisp white (which is the color we want it to be), it would have stuck out like a sore thumb. Painting the stool means needing the paint all of the trim in the room. I’m sure we’ll get around to it sooner or later. We actually need to repaint all of the trim in our house, so it will happen. Painting trim is just such a time suck! That aside, it was pretty painless process, but also something that I hope we won’t have to do again. If you’re wondering what caused the rot in the first place, it has to do with the vent in the room blowing directly towards windows and resulting in condensation. I plan to keep an eye on it. We may need to turn the vent to prevent the problem. Unfortunately, it’s not the type of vent that allows you to adjust the direction of the air flow.

Hope this article helps anyone going through the same thing!

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