Carpentry Repairs

You must add carpentry repairs to your to-do list if you happen to live in a Victorian house.

Plinths Under The Weather

The front of this pretty terrace never gets the sun. The wood stays damp. Neville Street,Norwich.

The original plinths are gone – not surprising when they are so vulnerable to the rain.

Plinths are the decorative parts that connect to the window ledge.

The columns are concrete with a timber cladding and the plinths sit at the bottom of these columns.

When you look at houses close by this one you'll notice their plinths have all been replaced at some time. All have a different designs. Few are original.

This plinth is almost finished.

Use beading on the top to discourage rain water and paint the plinth to protect it.

New Carpentry Repairs

The challenge is to make good what you see here. There is no need to fill the gap as this will be covered over. From the sketch you can see how the new plinth covers the rather ugly hole.

The job entails:

1) Taking off the existing battens - these were not mine.

2) Treating the exposed cladding with preservative.

3) Making good the area of cladding to the sides or “returns”. The “holes” do not require filling in

4) Transfer the exact position of the columns corner onto the window ledge. This will help you find the angle for when you mitre the plinths.


5) For the plinths - allow extra width to allow for mistakes when you are cutting the mitres. Cutting accurate mitres is the most difficult procedure in the whole job.

6) Screwing and gluing on the new plinths to the face and only then use battens for the returns.

7) Pin and glue window glazing battens on top to complete the job.

8) Protect the timber using primer, undercoat and topcoat. It should then last for years to come.



At another Norwich house further down the same road the carpentry repairs required a different treatment. Rotten cills - probably due to a leaking gutter. Neville Street Norwich.

When rainwater is continually dripping onto woodwork you are going to get wet rot. So what’s the solution? Well first, repair the leaking gutter if you can. Without your attention a leaking gutter can do a lot of damage to your house.


One way to repair rotten cills is to chisel out the crumbling, rotten areas until you get back to solid wood.

Treat with preservative and when dry use a wood hardener.


Wood filler makes timber renovations easier than using wood but not any cheaper. I use Ronseal Wood Filler but you can use any make that’s got a good name.

It dries within the hour and you can sand it down to a neat finish. Ideal for all house renovations. You may well have to use small pieces of wood to help fill the larger voids.

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