The front of our home has a rather unique feature: the foyer is a 12 foot floor-to-ceiling cedar beam and glass wall. The jar had problems with water ingress between the panes (the seals were broken) and was foggy and needed to be replaced. We planned a company to replace the glass, but first we had to address some rotten areas on the lower sill.
We had already dug up the rotten wood to see how bad the damage was. (I had only tainted in the meantime for protection). All of the vertical beams and the lower threshold are pieces of wood that go beyond the glass and into the interior of the house.
We had planned the glass boys for the next day, so the project had to be completed the next morning. Spencer started removing the old threshold with the multitool.
Carve around the area slowly to get an idea of what we were up against:
The floor of the cedar beams was gradually compromised.
A closer look at the undersides of the discarded material:
If you can’t find your chisels, get creative with a 5-in-1 painting tool!
Some of the nails we pulled out: pretty corroded from water:
The rot is unfortunately approaching the glass.
Although they look like they’re floating in mid-air, the beams are still supported on the other side of the glass.
Up to good wood directly under the glass. The plan is to just replace the old rotten part of the threshold. For a full replacement, this would have been a bit complicated: the entire inner part of the threshold is structural: the vertical beams sit on top of it inside the house. I don’t believe in the part that we removed was structurally, as it dangled in mid-air at the very edge of the wall. Our best bet is to keep the good portions and add a new outer sill that is properly sloped to shed water … that and lots of caulking.
Since the glass is still in the way and these are not conventional operable windows, we could not nail from above. (There was nothing to nail.) It may not be the right solution, but it is a workaround: we used a Kreg stencil to patch the two pieces together.
Izumi is a good construction kitten.
We cut the new pressure treated board at the right angle to shed water, propped the board up with washers, and glued and bolted it to the old cedar.
Adding extra wood glue:
We then added an outer seal to the seam and screw holes:
We’ll deal with the floors of the vertical posts at a later date … there was a new glass installation the next day!
I’m not an expert and I’m not saying this is the perfect way to fix a rotten sill on a storefront, but it’s probably the best we can do given the situation. I’m definitely not a fan of relying on caulking as the only water stop, either. (In this way, however, the entire window system is first made: just framing, sealing and glass). At the very least, this is an area of the house that is easily accessible and we can keep an eye on the waterproofing to make sure it doesn’t fail.
Without removing the entire assembly and somehow supporting the roof – this is an outside wall – I’m not sure what else we could have done. I’m looking forward to the new glass and to finally being able to see out of these huge windows!
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