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Condensation rotting wood below display window of a cooler.

drw158's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 4

03-09-12, 11:44 AM   #1  
Condensation rotting wood below display window of a cooler.

I've attached a few photos.

It's safe to say that I don't have a lot of experience in home improvement.

I need help!

My dad owns a flowers shop where he has a cooler for the flowers. The cooler has a display window and water is forming and rotting a horizontal support beam directly under the glass window. You can't see the rotted wood from the photos because the beam is in the wall, directly under the glass. I think it's supporting the glass. The white beam you see in the photo is fine and not rotted.

Below the window, a lot of the wall was rotted out, so my dad ripped the wood out and replaced a couple of vertical 2by4s. It doesn't look very good, but he said that the wet wood needed to breathe, so he left a gap right below the window so air could circulate. He just used some thin sheet wood to cover it up.

My plan was to take that all out and replace the vertical 2by4s. I wanted to throw away all of the fluffy insulation and replace it with thick foam insulation board that is moisture proof. Then, I would cover it in plastic. Next, I would cut a piece of wood to fit the open space, seal it off and paint it. This was the plan before I knew about the rotting horizontal beam. Should I replace it? If I seal it off will it just keep rotting? Is there water proof wood? If it does need to breathe should I install some kind of metal vent? I was thinking about installing a metal grill of some kind so that the air could circulate.

The source of the water is the cooler. You can touch the glass and tell that it's wet and condensation. It's always wet. My guess is that the water is dripping down and collecting on that horizontal beam that is below the glass.


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marksr's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2005
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03-09-12, 01:12 PM   #2  
Welcome to the forums!

I'd replace all rotten or suspect wood while you are at it. PT wood is more moisture resistant than regular white wood but I'm not sure that's the best way to go. I'd fix all the framing and then figure out how to cover the wood so the moisture never gets to it. Plastic sheet goods might be an option along with tile or metal. Once you can keep the water from getting to the wood, you shouldn't have any further problems other than wiping up the moisture as needed.

retired painter/contractor avid DIYer

XSleeper's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,298

03-09-12, 02:13 PM   #3  
The air gap is the problem. When warm air hits the cold air, it condenses, causing a lot of moisture. IMO, it should all be sealed up completely air tight once you get the repairs completed. When sealing to glass you almost always want to use silicone... since it probably needs to be painted, maybe you could find GE Silicone II paintable caulking.

Also, if that is single paned glass, I'd recommend getting rid of that and replace it with a double paned IGU... that will reduce the amount of condensation on the glass. A glass company would have to make one for you. If you could get them to put it in a frame, that would be best.

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