Patch Rotted Porch Slats

Home repair expert Henry Harrison shows a homeowner how to patch a bad section at the end of her porch slats.
Planks that have cracked, split or rotted may need to be removed.  Individual planks may be pried up and replaced with new lumber of the  same type. Although a structurally sound choice, newer wood will not  match older when using a clear sealer or a semi-transparent stain.

Replacing Planks

Planks that have cracked, split or rotted may need to be removed. Individual planks may be pried up and replaced with new lumber of the same type. Although a structurally sound choice, newer wood will not match older when using a clear sealer or a semi-transparent stain.

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

Home repair expert Henry Harrison shows a homeowner how to patch a bad section at the end of her porch slats. The slats go under the door and into the house and the repair will stand out like a sore thumb if not done correctly. On his elbow grease scale of one to four, Harrison gives this repair a two.

Materials and Tools:

vacuum
plastic container
caulking gun
mirror
spring clamps
tape
plastic bag
wood shim
putty knife
five-in-one painter’s tool
metal brushes
plastic knife
disposable paintbrush
carbide-tipped scraper
80-grit sandpaper
plastic gloves
work towel
dust mask
safety glasses
wood hardening solution
repair kit with two-part wood filler and hardener
caulk

Steps:

1. Put on safety glasses and dust mask and use painter's tool and scraper to scrape all paint and caulk off damaged porch slat to see how extensive the damage is. Remove carefully to leave as much non-damaged wood as possible.

2. Vacuum work area clear frequently so you can see what you're doing.

3. Once the paint and caulk is removed, use a metal brush to thoroughly clean surface.

4. Mask off area around damaged slat with a plastic bag. Paint on wood hardening solution with a disposable paintbrush. If necessary, use a mirror to make sure that even the underside of the slat is saturated. Allow the solution about two hours to dry.

5. Mix together wood filler with hardener. Cut small pieces of wood out of the shims to help fill gaps. Cover the wood pieces with filler and place in the hole. Fill and pack the hole with wood filler.

6. Cover a piece of wood with plastic and clamp in place to help the patched slat hold the desired shape.

7. Cover entire area with wood filler. Let dry and release clamps. Sand excess wood filler away using 80-grit sandpaper. Vacuum the area as you go so you don't grind residue into the new surface.

8. Fill any remaining grooves with wood filler and repeat the process of drying and sanding. Once all of the excess has been sanded off, fill any small depressions with caulk to help smooth out the area. Smooth caulk bead with a damp towel.

9. Allow the repair at least a day to dry and cure, then come back and prime and paint area.

Next Up

6 Ways to Humidify Your House (Without a Humidifier)

During the winter months, low humidity in your home can become an issue, leading to worsening allergies, dry skin, static electricity and increased susceptibility to colds and flu. Find ways to add moisture to the air without the expense of buying and running a humidifier.

How to Get Rid of Thrips

Thrips can damage your plants before you even know they’re there. Here’s how to spot thrips on plants and get rid of them.

How to Repair a Screen in a Door or Window Frame

Buying new door or window screens can be expensive. Save money by learning how to repair a screen in an existing frame.

How to Winterize Your Lawn

Learn what to do to prepare your lawn for winter. Taking the right steps in fall prepares your grass for quick spring greening.

10 Questions We Have for Mercury Stardust, TikTok's Famous 'Trans Handy Ma'am'

Mercury Stardust is a popular TikTok creator, author, speaker, LGBTQIA+ advocate and burlesque performer who wants renters and homeowners alike to feel empowered wherever they call home. Order her new book, Safe and Sound: A Renter-Friendly Guide to Home Repair, and find out what to keep in your tool kit and see which HGTV personality she would invite to perform in a burlesque show.

How to Fix a Leaky Showerhead

If your shower keeps dripping long after you’ve shut off the water, you’ve probably got a bad valve. It’s an easy repair you can do yourself in less than an hour.

Tips on Solving Common Toilet Problems

Learn how to easily fix common toilet problems such as a toilet that runs intermittently, a toilet that flushes slowly and a clogged toilet.

How to Clean and Repair Gutters

Clogged gutters can cause damage to your roof, cause your basement to flood, and lead to problems that can destroy landscaping and undermine your home’s foundation. Learn how to clean your gutters at least twice yearly — in the spring and fall — to prevent this damage.

8 Ways to Fix Drafty Windows

Save money and stay warm this winter with these DIY ways to insulate and weather-strip windows as well as doors.

How to Repair Drywall

A well-placed piece of art may be the quickest way to disguise a hole in your wall. But for a professional fix, follow our tips on how to patch a hole in drywall.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.