The front of our house has a rather unique feature: the foyer is a 12 ft. tall floor to ceiling cedar beam and glass wall. The glass had water penetration issues between the panes (the seals had broken) and were foggy and needed to be replaced. We scheduled a company to come and replace the glass, but first we needed to address some rotted areas at the bottom sill.
We had already dug out the rotted wood just to see how bad the damage was. (I had stained to area just to protect it in the meantime). All of the vertical beams and the bottom sill are pieces of wood that go beyond the glass and continue into the interior of the home.
We had the glass guys scheduled for the next day, so the project needed to be finished by the next morning. Spencer started removing the old sill with the multi-tool.
Slowly whittling away at the area to get an idea of what we were dealing with:
The very bottom of the cedar beams were starting to be compromised.
A better looks at the undersides of the discarded material:
When you can’t find your chisels, get creative with a paint 5-in-1 tool!
Some off the nails we pulled out: pretty corroded by water:
The rot getting close to the glass unfortunately.
Even though they look like they are floating in mid-air, the beams are still supported on the other side of the glass.
Down to good wood directly under the glass. The plan is to simply replace the old rotten portion of the sill. This would have been a bit complicated for a full replacement: the entire interior portion of the sill is structural: the vertical beams sit on it on the inside of the house. I don’t believe the portion that we removed was structural as it was dangling in the air at the very edge of the wall. Our best bet is to keep the good portions and add a new exterior sill that will be properly pitched to shed water… that and a lot of caulk.
Since the glass is still in the way and these are not traditional operable windows, we couldn’t nail from above. (There was nothing to nail into.) It may not be the proper solution, but it is a work-around: we used a Kreg jig to mend the two pieces together.
Izumi is a good construction kitty.
We cut the new pressure treated board at the proper angle to shed water, supported the board with shims and glued & screwed it to the old cedar.
Adding additional wood glue:
We then added exterior caulk to the seam and screw holes:
We will address the bottoms of the vertical posts at a later date… the next day was new glass installation!
I am not an expert and I am not saying that this is the perfect way to mend a rotted sill for a storefront window, but it is probably the best we could do given the situation. I am also definitely not a fan of relying on caulk as the only water barrier either. (However, this is how the entire window system is made to begin with: just framing, caulk, and glass). At least this is an area of the home that is easily accessible and we can keep an eye on the caulk to make sure it isn’t failing.
Short of removing the entire assembly and having to somehow support the roof – this is an exterior wall – I am not sure what else we could have done. Looking forward to the new glass and being able to finally see out of these giant windows!