Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fixing Woodpecker Damage

Yesterday morning, I heard a rat-tat-tat noise while sitting in my study. I thought it might be some nearby construction, but wasn't sure, so I went upstairs to check. The noise was coming from the back of the house. "That's strange," I thought. Construction noises usually come from the front of the house. The noise was clearly coming from the back of my dining room. Now that I was closer, I knew what it was---a woodpecker. My first thought was to try to scare it off. I quietly opened a door to the deck, then walked to the back of the dining room and made a loud noise. I barely caught a glimpse of the bird as it flew away.

It was clear where the woodpecker had been---there was a 1"x3" hole in my wood siding. He had drilled all the way to the plywood. Not sure what to use to fill the hole, I went to Home Depot. They recommended Minwax High Performance Wood Filler. I brought it home and read the instructions. It recommends gloves and eye protection, so I got some latex gloves and safety goggles from high school chemistry class (somehow I've kept them over all these years...). I used a plastic bowl to hold the stuff and a plastic spoon to mix and apply the stuff (they recommend a plastic putty knife, but I don't think it would have worked any better). You definitely want to use disposable things---don't use your good putty knife. The filler looks like a grey goop and isn't that easy to remove from the container. It took me a few minutes to remove enough to my plastic bowl. Also, you'll probably want to do this outside---the wood filler *stinks*. I scooped out about half the filler, then mixed in about half of the hardener, which comes in a little plastic tube. I stirred until I couldn't see white streaks from the hardener, then climbed my ladder to apply.

The mixture was a pain to apply. It was easy in a tiny hole the woodpecker had created, but in the main 1"x3" hole, the stuff just wouldn't stay---it would gradually slither out. What's the point if it won't stay in place? I kept trying to push it back into the hole and after a few minutes, it started to hold a bit better. Then I realized that the mixture in my bowl was starting to harden. I tried to put some of the semi-hardened mixture in the hole and my patch started to harden-up. After another minute of futzing with the stuff, it finally looked like it was going to hold. Phew! I suspect that I should have mixed the goop better and waited a few minutes before trying to use it---it was just too liquid-like at first. But, it appears to have done the trick. I'll report back sometime later to let you know how it hold up. One plus is that the goop perfectly matches the color of my shingles :-)