How to Repair Wood Columns

When repairing wood columns, consider the goal of the repair: whether to make the column look new again or to be architecturally consistent with a historic building.

Historic Repair of Column

If the former, you have some more leeway in the method of your repair. If the latter, then you are limited by the necessity of using as much of the existing material as possible in the repair.

Prepare the surface of the column. To create the best surface to which the two-part epoxy can adhere, remove any paint or rotted wood. Use a sandblaster, scraper, chisel or sandpaper. Clean the surface of the exposed wood with a damp rag and allow it to dry.

Apply liquid wood to the exposed wood of the column. Use a paint brush to apply the liquid wood to the surface. If the column is badly damaged, you may need to drill holes in the wood, then use a squeeze bottle to inject the liquid wood. Allow it to dry before continuing.

Mix the liquid wood and the wood epoxy together in a disposable container with a paint stirrer or a clean stick. Let the mixture harden according to the manufacturer's instructions before using it. This time can be from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the amount of epoxy or liquid wood used as well as the conditions, such as humidity or temperature.

Apply the two-part epoxy (liquid wood and epoxy) to the area that needs repair with a putty knife or a trowel. If necessary, sculpt the epoxy into the shape you need with your hands, wearing gloves to protect them. Allow the epoxy to set before continuing. This can take up to three hours. Consult manufacturer's directions for a more definite time.

Carve, cut or sculpt the hardened epoxy into the shape you need with a saw, knife or similar tool. Smooth the surface of the epoxy with sandpaper and finish it to match the rest of the column using paint, stain or another finish.

Non-historical Repair

Prepare the surface in the same manner as Step 1, Section 1.

Decide the method of repair. You can use epoxy, a patch of wood or fiberglass column sections that are available at local building supply stores.

Apply the epoxy with a putty knife or trowel. If repairing with a wood patch, use a saw to cut the wood to the size you need and secure it in place with wood glue. If using a pre-made column section, choose the profile that most closely matches that of your column and cut it to size. Secure it in the method recommended by the manufacturer.

Finish the repair so that it matches the rest of the column with paint, stain, or whatever you choose.

Things You Will Need

  • Sandblaster
  • Paint scraper
  • Chisel
  • Sandpaper
  • Damp rag
  • Paint brush
  • Liquid wood
  • Drill and drill bit
  • Wood epoxy
  • Stick or paint stirrer
  • Disposable container
  • Trowel or putty knife
  • Disposable gloves
  • Saw
  • Paint, stain or finish of choice
  • Wood (cut to size)
  • Wood glue
  • Fiberglass column section
  • Squeeze bottle

About the Author

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.