DIY Outdoor Repairs: Garage Door Frame.

Saturday, July 3, 2021

repaired doorway frame

Summertime summertime, sum sum sum summertime and we all know what that means!  Scary frizzy hair  but it also means oodles of outdoor DIY maintenance and repairs.  Especially fixing rotting wood damage around a garage door frame. 

Woot, real exciting stuff, riiiight?!  I've got hot tips for you that you can use in various scenarios so this will be worth it even if you don't have this exact problem.

Ok, so the door leading into the garage faces south and with that comes weaaaather pummeling it season after season.  Sun, rain, heat, snow, ice, clouds beating it daily.  I'm surprised it's still attached.

The flipper, oy the flipper, so he hired an outside company to build this garage, right, and while it's not the best craftsmanship ever, it's pretty well the best craftmanship on this 25' x 125' plot.  


So what we're going to get here today is not a complete tear-out replacement as I was not interested in that task, we're going to get some band-aid repairs that will extend this particular area's life.

Which is totally reasonable.  Not always are the funds, time, and/or abilities available to do a full replacement so we have to buy ourselves some time.  No shame in that.  But don't make a situation worse or totally cheap out with the repairs; be smart.

Oh and forewarning....there is not a single pretty picture in this entire post.

First, examine the situation at hand as this determines the repair route.

damaged door frame before
Before.  Left, the east facing side of the frame.  Right, the west facing side which obviously takes the brunt of the weather head on.
Us?  Rotting wood at the bottom of the door frame, about six to eight-ish inches up.  The sill was wiggly.  Some carpenter ants were sauntering about, cocktails and fancy hats on.  Water leaks onto the garage floor during bigger storms.  

Yikes, that's a handful, eh?  Yeah.  But let's get at it.

All right, first things first, I whipped out my swanky new reciprocating saw* and hacked out some of the rotted frame wood.  It's not really the frame per se, more of the stop for the door.  Either way, out the damage came.

damaged wood cut out
Yiiiiiiiikes, bad, I know.  But, it's not the end of the world.
This allowed me to wriggle out the sill which had been plopped loosely atop a piece of water-wicking one-by something, the water-wicking one-by something glued to the concrete, the sill sorta held in by the door stop framing.  

Mmk, no problem but ew, the ants flew into a drink spilling tizzy, hats flying, yuck!

door sill removal
Lots going on here.  Sill there on the left, lookin' all rotty underneath.  The one-by-something still on the concrete.  Shards of rotted wood about and powder which is.....
Best way to handle carpenter ants?  Diatomaceous earth.*  This powder is a miracle, is cheap, and solves many a bug problem instantly, pet-safely, and all naturally.  Highly highly recommended.  Fleas, ticks, ants, roaches, bed bugs, many an unwanted character but keep it away from bees please.

view of the entire sill removed
What a mess.  Took a few tools to get 'er done too.
I launched into a rabbit hole search for a replacement sill but the only thing I could find without underside wood was whoo, like a hundred fifty plus bucks, aka unworkable.  So I improvised.

After cleaning up the leftover stuck adhesive on the concrete with a heat gun,* then mineral spirits* and a metal putty knife,* it was rebuilding time.

cleaning up concrete after sill removal
Not perfect but it's mostly cleaned up.
With leftover bits from the front door framing project and after removing the rotted wood, I lined the underside of the metal sill to fill the space, gluing with an outdoor construction adhesive.*  Then, with a piece of 1x6 PVC trim* instead of that water-wicking one-by-something plus more construction adhesive, slapped it all back together.

piecing together pvc under sill to prevent rot
Heh, Finny's cutie giant footie up there on the top left, haha.  Right, so, PVC to rebuild here instead of wood that rots.  So, glued the white piece down then glued the sill atop it.
weighting sill as construction adhesive dries
Use whatcha got, amiright?  Mike and his multiple tanks for the grill made for good weights while the adhesive set up.
Whew, ok!  Part one done!  

Meanwhile, while I was working on this, wood hardener* was being slathered on everywhere I could reach in and around the frame.  What this does is sort of petrify the wood to prevent further rot and keep the wood from falling apart.  Quite cool, eh?  Yeah, I thought so.

wood hardener on damaged wood to prevent rot
The wood hardener.
A couple coats and we're good to go.  It really does work too, even on this soft pine.

A stick of 1x3 PVC,* some stainless steel or galvanized or deck screws,* any of those will work, and the bits were attached.  Be sure to pilot drill a nice countersink hole* for your screws to sit snugly within.

filling in the cut area with pvc trim pieces
The garage builders used some magical sized wood not known to man so I had some creative building back up to flush to do.  Two deck screws, and voila, plastic that doesn't rot instead of rotty wood.
Next came filling and patching.  Lots of filling and patching because at the time, it was a bazillion flippin' degrees outside and I wasn't performing at my most patching best.  Heh.  I used DAP Platinum Patch but there are others.*

outdoor patch product and tubes of caulk
Nice blurry shot for you to go along with all the terrible photos in this post, of course.
Lots of filling, patching, then sanding and patching and filling and sanding.  And patching.

I got so tired of the filling, patching, and sanding, I kinda gave up so it's far from as seamless as I'd like but alas, patience was thin, weather was predicting rain, I was hot and tired.

Lots of caulking ensued thereafter.  Like literally everywhere I could caulk, I caulked.  Where the 1x6 PVC meets the concrete inside, in and around every edge I could reach, up and around siding edges, wherever, anywhere, everywhere.  Every. Freakin'. Where.

finished door stop framing patch on garage man door
The remainder of these photos are pretty well exactly one year later.  And obviously I didn't clean up for you either, shrug.  But, you can see how it looks after four seasons.  And my piss-poor messy caulking.  The patch has cracked at the seam.
While this DIY garage door frame repair patch didn't completely solve the pelting storms from pushing water into the garage in this area, it did cut it down by a good 90%.  So mission almost accomplished there.

showing the finished bottom of the door frame
And my sloppy paint job.  Yikes, I've got a lot of cleaning up here to do.  Or, in time, the door and frame may get replaced and none of that clean up will happen.
Lastly, some outdoor paint and whew, done!

another view of the finished DIY door frame patch
Oh ok, the flowers are pretty!  
Is it pleasing and lovely and gorgeous?  No.  Does this do the job?  Yes.  Maybe when I touch up I'll fix it up nicer but in the meantime, it's good enough.  Wood rot handled.

one year later after outdoor door frame repairs
In all, it has held up through some very difficult weather.  I'd look this beat too if it were me so a wee kudos pat on the back!

*The heat guns, putty knives, outdoor construction adhesives, wood hardeners, and outdoor screws are Amazon affiliate links.   The reciprocating saws, diatomaceous earth, mineral spirits, PVC trim links, countersink bits, and outdoor patch are Home Depot affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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