Thursday, August 03, 2006

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

No glamorous or flashy photos. But, I have been plugging along on my front door overhang. It's been one of those one-thing-leads-to-another projects.

Towards the end of last week, I drove down to Seven Corners Hardware to pick up a supply of LiquidWood & WoodEpox. They carry the large sized containers, so I figured I'd go down there and save myself some postage. If you have never visited this hardware store, you have been missing out (they also have a nice email coupon program). It is huge.

When I got home, I drilled holes into the rotted bracket. The holes were intended to help the LiquidWood sink further into the rotted area. Once dry, the rot would turn into solid material by the hardened epoxy. Well, immediately after the LiquidWood was in place, the temps soared to 101 degrees and the humidity levels reached 70%. Ugg. What normally was supposed to take 4 hours, has taken more than a week to dry out.

As the LiquidWood was curing, I began to notice a bunch of black specks on my concrete step & sidewalk. It looked like dark sand. On closer inspection it was a pile of carpenter ants that had hurled themselves out of the overhang when faced with the epoxy. Not good.

Facing carpenter ants and undrying epoxy (and a wee bit of hysteria), I gave the folks at Abatron a call. They were unfazed. Totally normal given recent weather they assured me. The sales rep. suggested using a heat gun to dry out the surface of the epoxy. And, I was given the go ahead to apply a borate based carpenter ant treatment on top of the drying wood epoxy.

Last night when the sun was going down and the heat abating, I went out and resumed stripping paint off of the overhang, brackets and door surround. I used my trusty heat gun. I also spent some time drying out the epoxy with the heat gun, as suggested. It made a very cool and satisfying crackling noise.

This afternoon (shh, don't tell work) I spent a nice chunk of time chatting with the kind & knowledgable folks over at Lesco. Lesco is the local distributor of two products I am familiar with to fight carpenter ants (remember, we have log cabins in my family): Bora-Care and Timbor. The diluted chemical is applies to untreated wood and acts as both an insecticide and a wood preservative. The borate remains in the wood, well, forever. They also sold me some "nuclear" ant bait to use on the nest in my yard (which I located a while ago).

So armed with my Bora-Care mixed in a spray bottle, I once again climbed the ladder to that overhang. I spent a couple of hours out there tonight applying a nice soaking spray of the borate mix to the now bare wood. The weathered wood soaked it up.

I also tore down the aluminum trim from the left hand side of the overhang (which we knew I would do because the curiosity of it all would have killed me otherwise) . Much to my relief, the wood there was a tiny bit soft, but not rotted. I was even a bit pleased to see that the paint just peeled off this side of the overhang.

I still have quite a bit of wood to strip of paint. Then I will add one more coat of Bora-Care and probably a few more spots of LiquidWood. Hopefully, I will get to the point where I can rebuild the rotted section of the overhand brackets with WoodEpox sometime next week.

.....and then prime and paint......


Greg said...

I've never encountered carpenter ants and I hope I never do. Our enemy here is powder post beetles. They devour anything that isn’t clear, heart redwood. Set a piece of wood on the ground and come back in a day and it has beetles.

Does that place sell Timbor to non-Pros. I had to find an unscrupulous dealer to sell me my sack of Timbor.

StuccoHouse said...

I think beetles would freak me out more. Although, ants look benign but can do a lot of damage in a short amount of time.

I used BoraCare for my house - I was told that the difference between that and Timbor was the glycol that allows the borate to sink into the wood deeper - that and the whopping price difference.

I'm familiar with Timbor for dipping logs - not sure if it is for pros only or not. I priced it out online at a bunch of places. I think the bags I've had were one pound - but I know it also comes in big buckets (maybe thats the pro size?). Not sure why it would be a pro only thing, as its supposed to be "green", but who knows maybe its a job security thing. Finding a pro that would be willing to go to back woods and treat logs would certainly be a challenge. Besides, my past luck with pest "pros" has not been good.

Lol...did you have to meet your "dealer" in some back alley?

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