Dry Rotted Wood Beam Repair and Paint
Install Shade Cloth over Beams
October 24, 2013 - work put on hold
Work continued June - July 31, 2014
The wood beams outside of the
front entrance have been peeling paint for years.
I guess I was hoping that mother nature would
complete the paint stripping job for me. However, I
do want to try and save the wood before it is too
As far as we could tell, the painting that was done, was
NOT done properly. We believe that in an attempt
to sell the home quickly, paint was slapped on
without proper preparation. This paint started
peeling about a year after we moved in. This
was confirmed when a neighbor told me that they
remembered seeing the son-in-law of the previous owner
painting the house before they put it on the market.
End detail of the wood beams
The beams are decorative and do not support the
house. I like them because they provide
shade to the front patio. There are a total of seven
6-foot long beams and the 16-foot long beam that holds them up.
Beams with pealing paint
The steps that I
want to follow to
repair and paint the beams:
||- Peal the
remaining paint off
||- Sand down the
wood to fresh wood..... if possible
||- Treat the wood
||- Paint beams
with oil based primer
||- Paint beams
with latex paint
||- Cross my
fingers and hope that the paint will
stay on this time
- Peal the remaining paint off......
On October 24, 2013, I started
scrapping off the paint that was loose. What I
discovered was, that these beams are really in bad
shape. Really in bad shape.
I have three choices at this
3) Remove the paint and leave them bare for a
June 2014 - I have resumed
this project as part of my overall task of repairing
and painting the entire outside of the house.
Part of the backyard areas of the house have been
painted the new beige/green color as part of my
backyard wrought iron door projects.
The front entrance area has also been painted the
new color. I am continuing the front area of
the house that includes the terrible beams.
As of June 21, 2014, I am trying to get all of the
paint off the beams. I figure this will take a few
months, working a few hours a day, in temperatures of
90-105 degrees perched on a ladder..
I have peeled off most of the paint that came off
easily with a scraper. I am now using a
striper to get the rest of the layers of paint off.
Photographs of the beams on June 21, 2014 are below.
If you think they look almost the same as the
photographs taken above 8 months ago, yea they do,
just less paint.....sigh.....many hours were spent
just getting to this point.
of first beam nearest the house which has almost
been stripped down
to the original white primer
July 4, 2014 - It
finally looks like I am getting somewhere with
this project. In addition to the beams, I am also
working on the roof soffits and fascia boards which
need the old caulk and cracked paint removed before
re-caulking and painting. I am also replacing
the soffit vent (undereave vent) covers. The
old vent covers have disintegrated.
The beams are being stripped to bare wood.
Then sanded until there is fresh wood and I can
smell the pine. The knots in the wood that
have popped out or actually... not have shrunk as much
as the surrounding wood, are being leveled out. Two coats of oil
based primer were used before I placed one coat of
latex paint on. I will paint a second coat of
latex paint after all the beams are done.
Why don't I just finish stripping, sanding, and
prepping before painting? Simple, I get
bored doing just one tedious task over a long period
of time. My muscles get fatigued too quickly.
By varying the tasks, I am using different muscles
over shorter periods.
beam finished along with the surrounding roof areas
beam done. Second beam stripped to the wood, still
needs to be sanded before priming
July 5 - 17, 2014 -
I finally finished removing the paint and sanding down beams 2
- 4. On these beams, there were some chunks of
wood missing from the beams or holes where there was
a knot in the wood. I filled these with Bondo,
which I had on hand. I then sanded the Bondo down.
These are the gray areas on the wood in the photo
sanded and ready for priming. Gray spots are
Bondo to repair damaged wood.
with first coat of primer.
At this point, I am officially
half way done with this project.
July 18 - 26, 2014 -
I finally removed all of the old paint from the last
three beams. They were sanded with a few holes
repaired with Bondo. The beams were then
July 27 - 30, 2014 -
I have finally finished painting the beams with my
latex paint and the surrounding roof area.
Below are the photographs of the finished paint job.
I hurried to get this finished because rain is being
predicted the next couple of days. In fact,
when I took these photos, there were a few thunder
clouds forming. Fortunately this paint dries
finally painted with the last coat of paint
of the beams from the street side looking in
While the paint job is now finished, I want to
do one more thing to protect my two months of
I will be placing a shade cloth over the top of
the beams. The reason for this is twofold.
First, working on this for two months in heat
ranging between 90 - 105 degrees, with very few
cloudy days, you discover how brutal the heat and
Second, on top of the beams there is the most
damage to the wood. 5 of the 7 beams have
deep cracks running along the length of the
beams. To have sanded this all the way
down, I would have lost 1/4" - 3/8" of wood.
Great attention was made to the top of the beams
to make sure the paint was oozed into each
crack. However, because of the sun, this is
where I fear the paint will eventually fail
the beams from the inside facing toward the front of
To prolong this paint failure
from happening any time soon, the shade cloth will
be attached to the beams with a piece of moulding
that completely covers the top of each beam.
The moulding will be screwed on with 1 5/8" cement board
screws (rust proof) on the top.
Installation of Shade
July 31, 2014
Coolaroo shade cloth
The shade cloth that I used was
the Coolaroo Shade Cloth in heritage green that
I bought at the Home Depot online. I
bought the 6' x 15' roll for $37. I had
wanted a tan color but this particular color
appears to have the most UV protection of 90%.
It comes with a 10 year UV warrantee. If I
get at least 5 years of use from it, I will be
The fabric is finished along the long edge but
is not finished along the 6 foot edge. For my
purposes I needed to sew a hem along one edge to
accommodate a 1" x 6' long steel bar to weigh
down the cloth over the first beam closest to
the house. I sewed this hem on a sewing
Since we have wind storms in El
Paso, I needed to secure the shade cloth firmly to
keep it from flopping around and tearing. I
purchase six pieces of 3 1/4" primed base moulding
which just about covers the top of the beams.
After cutting the moulding to fit each beam, I
painted them with two coats of the same latex paint I used
on the beams. As mentioned above, the moulding on
top will also protect the top part of the beams from
more sun damage.
I started installation on the beam closest to the
house. The edge with the sewn hem was placed
here and the spay painted steel bar was inserted to
weigh down the end. I let it overlap the beam
The reason why I did not permanently fasten the
shade cloth to the first beam is because of roof
access. The safest access to the roof is
between the first and second beam. We need to
be able to access the roof several times a year to
maintain the swamp (evaporative) cooler. (See
ladder in place here...) When I need
to get on the roof, the shade cloth will be moved
out of the way to make room for the ladder then
placed back over the first beam when done.
I then draped the shade cloth over the second beam,
flattened it out and stapled it in place on top of
the second wood beam.
I then placed the moulding on top of the
cloth. Sliding the end nearest the roof
under the roof flashing.
I then secured the flashing to the beam,
moulding, and shade cloth with a screw.
The moulding was then secured with one screw in
the middle and then another 2" from the end of
For the remaining beams, the shade cloth was
stretched firmly and then stapled.
Moulding slipped underneath roof flashing.
Flashing then hammered down and secured with
As I installed each piece of
moulding on top of the beam, I placed some caulk on
top of the center and flashing area screws and
dabbed a little paint on. I want to prevent
any water from seeping in around the screw holes. I
needed to do this as I went along because I would
not be able to easily reach this part of the beams
after the shade cloth was installed.
cloth installed over beams 1 - 4. Moulding
screwed in place
For the last beam, I stretched
the cloth, stapled it in place, and then cut off the
excess cloth about an inch past the beam. I
then folded up the 1" excess onto the top of the
beam and stapled it in place. The moulding was
then placed on top and screwed into place.
To change the cloth in the future, it is just a
matter of scrapping off the dab of caulk and
unscrewing the moulding. The staples would
then need to be removed before remove the cloth.
cloth installed on beams
beam with shade cloth draped over and weighed
down with a metal bar inserted in sewn hem
I admit, I am not exactly thrilled at the look
of the shade cloth. But it will protect the
beams and provide some much needed shade in this
area. For less than $100 (shade cloth,
moulding, and screws), this did the trick.
There is a little space between the cloth and
roof as seen in the photo at left. This is
because the edge of the roof was not exactly
straight. This is ok because rain can run
If the steel bar does not keep
the shade over the first beam in heavy winds, I may
need to tie it down. I will need to wait for some
high winds to see. (Yes,
I did need to tie down the ends)
As for rain...we had some rain the day after I
installed the shade. The water seems to pool
toward the center of the shade between each beam
before it drips through. As long as the water
is dripping away from the beams, I am happy.
Update April 2015 --
In February 2015, I needed to remove the shade cloth
when I had the garage roof torn off and replaced
with a new roof with a higher pitch.
See the construction on this page...
The construction was done with the wood beams in
place. After all of the work I had done on
these beams, they were going to stay in place!
beams supported in place during roof construction
As I had planned, the moulding on
top of the shade cloth was removed fairly easily.
The only problem I had were some screws that did not
come out easily. The shade cloth was still in
great shape. I will be placing the cloth back
up later this month.
Also the entire soffit area at the end of the beams
was re-done. Styrofoam ceiling tiles were
placed on to give the soffit a unique look.
Also, the fascia between the beams took a beating
during construction. Scrap pieces of ceiling
tile were used to cover up the damage.
after garage construction April 2015. Ceiling tiles
placed on and new aluminum soffit vent covers