Repair or Replacement of Dry Rotted Logs & Beams

RS emailed the following question; How do I replace/repair a log beam that has dry rot damage?

Bryan Olmsted answered; Not knowing exactly what the rot consists of or where it is located, it would be difficult to say. Replacing large areas of damaged logs and beams is not something that I would generally advise a homeowner or layperson to undertake. Since most logs in a log home make up the structure, replacing them can be a challenge and could cause irreparable damage or structural failure if not done correctly.

My first recommendation if you have areas where large sections of log need to be replaced, would be, to leave this to a professional. Since I don't know what area of the country you are in I cannot recommend anyone for the project and would suggest that you consult the Yellow Pages in your area for a contractor that does this type of structural repair. You can also contact your local home builder's association, local log home dealer or look in the classified section of a log home publication.

To repair small sections of rot in logs you can use an epoxy wood repair product such as the Staples Epoxy Wood Hardener and Epoxy Wood Rebuilder that we sell. The epoxy wood hardener is a liquid that is poured over soft wood to stablize the rot and form a base to begin the repair. Once the wood hardener has been applied the epoxy wood rebuilded can be applied to fill the void caused by rot. This product is a two part epoxy that when mixed together forms a workable putty that can be molded to fit into rotted areas and once hard can be sanded or machined to match the contour of your logs. This is great for small areas of rot, however, for larger projects it is probably more cost effective to replace the log itself.

Before you hire any contractor, be sure to thoroughly check their references, ask how much experience they have in this type of work, and request certificates of insurance for general liability and worker's compensation coverage. You might also want to enlist the services of a licensed structural engineer if the damage is extensive.

Posted August 27, 2006- This article was written and provided by; Bryan Olmsted, President Ozark Log Home Supply, Inc.

Bryan has well over 20 years experience in the construction industry, and has been involved in the design and construction of numerous projects from medical facilities to log homes. He has worked as a estimator, job superintendent, construction manager, general contractor and retired as President and CEO of Olmsted Construction Co.,Inc. in May of 2006. Besides the knowledge and experience gained through 20+ years as a commercial/residential general contractor, Bryan has completed training and been certified on NFPA's Life Safety Code, overseen the renovation and retrofitting of Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains, Missouri in it's accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations, and has extensive knowledge in the application and use of Sashco Log Home Products, as well as the construction and finish of log homes and structures. Bryan is also a two term past president of the Southern Missouri Homebuilder's Association, located in West Plains, Missouri and has served on the organization's board of directors, worked on the committee in charge of construction of the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center and volunteered with the West Plains Area Habitat for Humanity.

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