Having a wood porch can be really nice. You might enjoy relaxing on the porch in the evening while you read the paper or sitting on the porch to eat dinner with some friends. But as nice as they are, wood porches do require some maintenance. In particular, the floorboards will eventually start to rot, and when this happens, those particular boards need to be replaced. Here's a closer look at how to detect rot and what to do when you find it in your porch floor.
People often assume they will see rot. But if your porch floor is painted, the rot may not be visually obvious right away. So, you will want to examine the porch every few months for more subtle signs of rot. Start by pushing on the floorboards with your thumb. Do this on the end of each board—the rot always seems to appear on the ends of boards first.
Also walk across the porch, paying close attention to how each step feels. If there are any steps that feel softer than usual under your feet, then look at those areas more closely to see if they're rotten. Remember, the rot may be hidden under the paint. But if the board feels at all soft, it is rotting.
Dealing With Rot
The best way to deal with rotten floorboards is to replace them. Yes, you should replace the entire board. Cutting out the rotten part and trying to "patch in" wood in its place won't look very good.
Use a pry bar to lift the rotten board off the porch floor. It may break as you do this since rotten wood is brittle, but that's okay since you're just throwing away the rotten board.
With the old board removed, put a new one in its place. This is usually simple if your porch floor is made with standard 2x4s, as many are. Drive two long nails into each place where the floorboard passes over the porch supports. For extra durability, you can use porch screws.
Once the new boards are in place, prime them and paint them to look like the rest of the porch. Now you've addressed the rot, and you have a safe porch once again.
Always be on the lookout for rotten porch floorboards. They're a safety hazard, but they are easy to replace.
Contact a professional for more information about wood rot damage repair.