Rotted windowsills are a problem for homeowners that could end up being very costly if not taken care of right away. If the rot is left to sit, it could eventually cause problems for other areas of your home including the foundation, causing you to have extreme problems and major renovations on your home.
One of the first signs of a rotted windowsill is the presence of peeling or chipped paint. The moisture that settles in it eventually gets underneath the paint causing it to push away from the surface. If you have actual cracks in the paint or in the wood, more moisture will be allowed to enter, causing even more damage to the wood. Because paint is used as a sealant, it can actually seal the moisture underneath your sill rather than keeping it out, once it has entered through the cracks.
Another way to determine if your wood is rotted is simply by gently pressing on it with a screwdriver or other hard tool. When you tap the wood you should hear a hollow sound. If there is no sound and your tool simply taps right into the surface, chances are it is rotted. In addition, the wood might seem discolored or look different than its original color, giving you more indications that there is damage to the wood.
Reasons for Rot
There are a variety of reasons that rot is present near your windows. Taking the below precautions will eliminate the risk, giving you less home improvement projects to worry about:
- Trees or shrubs that lean on the windows or leave debris behind should be trimmed back. Any debris can cause rainwater or snow to accumulate on the sill.
- Cracking or missing caulk should be replaced or repaired.
- Remove any chipped paint and if the wood is not warped yet, give it a fresh coat of paint that will help to keep the moisture out.
- Check all gutters and flashing to determine if they are installed correctly and are not overflowing with debris, causing the water or ice to fall on your windows.
Rotted windowsills can become a very dangerous issue for your home if not properly fixed. It is best to do a periodic check of the wood around your windows to ensure that all structures are sound and no rotting has settled in. In addition to periodic inspections, taking the above precautions to reduce the risk of moisture should help eliminate moisture issues around your windows.