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How To Repair A Rotted Door Bottom And Weatherstrip

A wooden door exposed to the outside environment is more susceptible to rotting. Wood ingesting fungi can thrive in wood that constantly absorbs moisture. If you have a rotted door bottom and weatherstrip and don't know how to fix it, worry not. We researched how to fix it, and this is what we found.

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To repair a rotted door bottom, thoroughly remove the rot from the affected areas and apply a polyester wood filler to the gaps. Then, smoothen the wood surface and coat it with a protective layer. Lastly, replace the weatherstripping with a new one.

It is worth the effort to repair the rotted door bottom and replace the damaged weatherstrip. The rots may cause leaks that can significantly affect the temperature setting inside your house. In effect, your energy consumption may rise. Moreover, repairing the rotted door bottom is much cheaper than buying a new door unit. 

A blue door with a blue wall with motorcycle outside, How To Repair A Rotted Door Bottom And Weatherstrip

Repairing The Rotted Door Bottom

The rotting starts at the bottom of the door and the weatherstripping. Before the rot starts traveling upwards and infesting the whole door unit, removing the rot and repairing the damaged part immediately is best.

If you plan to restain or repaint the door after the repairs, clean the whole door unit first. You can use a wood cleaner or make your own cleaner using a dishwashing detergent. Let the wood dry for 48 hours before repairing the rotted part.

Abandoned cafe snack bar in the city center with an old door

The following are the steps in restoring a rotted door bottom. 

Step 1: Eliminate The Rotted Part

Remove the rot thoroughly from the door bottom using a sharp tool. Make sure to remove every rotted area before applying the filler but try not to damage the good parts.

The rotten wood is softer so it should be easier to remove and not require so much force. Additionally, remove the existing stain or paint, if any, so the filler can strongly adhere to the wood.

Step 2: Apply The Wood Filler

Using a putty knife, fill the gaps with a polyester wood filler. If you plan to stain, use a filler that matches the wood. Press the mixture inside the wood and add more until the filler levels with the wood's surface. Scrape on the excess fillers immediately before it hardens and becomes hard to remove.

Check this wood filler on Amazon.

Step 3: Let The Filler Dry

Sealing cracks in old garden table with acrylic putty

Let the filler set and dry based on the amount of time indicated by the manufacturer. 

Step 4: Smooth Out The Surface

The surface may be left with excess filler due to over-application. Remove thick residue carefully using a putty knife. Then, sand the surface. Use coarse sandpaper to even out the rough parts brought by the excess fillers. Then, transition to finer sandpaper for a smooth finish.

Step 5: Clean The Wood

Use a blower to remove most of the dust. Then, wipe the wood with a clean damp cloth. Make sure to cover the entire wood, especially when you plan to stain or paint because the particles may greatly affect the end result. Use a tack cloth to wipe away all the remaining dust residue.

Step 6: Apply Desired Finish and Sealer

Focused mid adult carpenter varnish a wooden board with protective oil

When the door bottom is completely free of dust and other dirt, you may proceed to staining or painting. Then, dry it for at least 48 hours before applying the sealer. The sealer is necessary to protect the wood from moisture. Without the sealer, the moisture can easily soak into the wood grain and will eventually promote rotting again.

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How To Prevent Door Bottom From Rotting

After repairing your rotted door bottom, you want to prevent it from rotting again. Here are a few tips to help maintain your newly patched door in good shape.

  • Rotting is caused mainly by fungi that live in moist wood. Thus, it is important to keep the door dry. Put a protective cover that prevents the door from water splashes. 
  • Address problems such as clogged gutters particularly those that are near the door unit. The water may overflow and drip through the door's surface. 
  • When you notice peeling or minor cracking, fill it with wood filler and seal it immediately to minimize the possibility of moisture getting in through the cracks.
  • Install sills near the door bottom so the water is directed somewhere else.
  • Wet debris such as leaves should be removed right away before the wood absorbs the water.

When Should A Rotted Door Be Replaced?

The outside appearance of the door may not always represent the situation inside. The wood surface may seem repairable but there are times when the inside of the wood is much rotted than the outside.

See if the rotted part constitutes a significantly large area of the wood. If it does, restoring the wood can be more costly than replacing it. In this case, it may be more practical to remove the whole affected wood board instead and replace it with new wood of the same type. 

Replacing The Weatherstrip

The weatherstripping under the door is likely affected as the bottom becomes rotten. The weatherstrip should be replaced immediately when it shows signs of damage such as cracks and peeling as it may no longer be able to seal the gap between the door and the floor properly.

Here are the steps in replacing the door bottom weatherstrip.

Step 1: Detach The Door

This step applies only to those whose weatherstrip is difficult to access. You may need to take the door off its hinges to replace the old weatherstrip with a new one.

Step 2: Remove The Old Weatherstrip

If the strip is an adhesive type, you may use a knife to scrape the strip while you pull it off the door bottom. If it is attached by nails or screw, remove them using a hammer's claw. You can use a staple remover or a flathead screwdriver for a stapled weatherstrip.

Step 3: Clean The Door Bottom

Scrub the door bottom thoroughly using soap and water. Remove the remaining adhesive completely. Let the wood dry before attaching the new weatherstrip.

Step 4: Know The Measurement

Run a tape measure across the door to get the exact width. Then, mark the new weatherstrip to match the door's width. Cut the strip and make sure it fits perfectly. You may need a metal saw for metal reinforced weatherstrips.

Step 5: Attach The New Weatherstrip To The Door Bottom

Read the manufacturer's instructions on how to properly attach the weatherstrip. The stripping should seal the gap between the door and the floor. However, ensure that the door can still be pushed and pulled smoothly after attaching the new strip. 

How Long Does The Weatherstripping Last?

The weatherstrip's life depends on the material it is made of and how frequently the door is used. Friction speeds up the deterioration of the weatherstrip. 

Adhesive-backed Tape

Sealing tape for insulation

The adhesive-backed tape is the cheapest weatherstrip on the market and the quickest to wear out. This requires replacing more often compared to the other types of stripping. This is recommended for inactive doors or doors that are not used often.

Check this adhesive-backed tape weatherstrip on Amazon.

Felt Weatherstrip

This weatherstrip is either plain or metal reinforced. This is more durable than the adhesive type and can last up to 3 years. However, this stripping absorbs moisture easily. This is not advised for wooden doors as moisture may promote rotting.

Click here to see this felt weatherstrip on Amazon.

V-Strips

V-Strips commonly come in metal or vinyl and are simple to install. This is recommended for high-traffic areas since this is durable and can last longer than the other types of strips.

Click here to see this V-Strip on Amazon.

Tubular Rubber

This type of weatherstripping lasts up to 5 years. This may be a little harder to install but is useful for gaps requiring more sealing.

Check this tubular weather strip on Amazon.

In Closing

A blue door with a blue wall with motorcycle outside

A rotted door bottom can be restored by removing rot from the affected area and filling it with a polyester wood filler. On the other hand, the weatherstrip should also be replaced with a new one if it shows any damage that may affect its sealing functionality. 

For more helpful tips about door maintenance, check out these posts:

Door Hitting The Frame - What To Do?

How To Replace Door Frame [While Keeping The Door]