How do I save these benches with rotted legs?


we finally had a nice spring like weekend in upstate NY! I went through our sheds and under our porch to see what the previous owner had left. Besides two lawn mowers (yes!), there’s some sling chairs from like the 70’s (which I’m definitely going to update later), and I pulled out some wooden benches from under the porch. My plan is to clean them and re-stain so that they look new. The problem is that the legs are rotted, most likely due to moisture (I think). Is it worth it to try and fix it by cutting off the legs? Are there any rubber caps that I can put on the legs so this doesn’t happened? currently I have the benches on their sides so the legs can dry out as much as possible.

q how do i save these benches
q how do i save these benches
q how do i save these benches
  17 answers
  • You may be able to cut off the rotten wood, but your benches will be shorter! I'm thinking you could replace them with new wood. I would seal the wood with outdoor or marine grade poly. What about coating the ends that touch the ground with something like Flex Seal?

  • Gk Gk on Mar 08, 2020

    You can definitely replace those legs! Looks like they are just bolted on so it shouldn't be too hard. Take the rotten legs off and cut new ones, and put it all back together. I would use green treat for the legs. The rest of it can be lightly sanded and you could cover it with some marine spar varnish that resists moisture and outside conditions. You can leave them natural or stain them before you use the varnish. Another trick I have used for wooden outside furniture like these benches and picnic tables is to paint them with a good brand of exterior house paint. My outside wooden tables have lasted for years with house paint on them! I do store them inside the garage/shed for the winter.

  • William William on Mar 08, 2020

    I would replace the legs. You don't know how far the rot goes. Cutting the legs would shorten the benches.

  • Cindy Cindy on Mar 09, 2020

    You could take the legs off and use them as a template to cut a new piece of pressure treated wood. (pressure treated is only for outdoor use.) Once you have the new piece of wood cut, just attach it back on the bench. The bolts and other hardware should be OK, but if it isn't, put them in a crock pot set on low. Cover with water and let them go 24 hours. They will come out just like new.

  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor on Mar 09, 2020

    Composite wood though more expensive will not rot like wood. I am not sure if that consideration would be in your budget for replacement.

  • Tom Stuart Tom Stuart on Mar 09, 2020

    I like quick, inexpensive, and functional.

    Trim off the rotted wood.

    Cut a piece of 2x4 to fit on the bottom of the leg.

    Marry a piece of 2x3 (or trim down a 2x4) on the back of the leg to support the extension. Use 2-1/2 inch deck screws to secure it.

  • Holly Lengner - Lost Mom Holly Lengner - Lost Mom on Mar 09, 2020

    You could always trim the rot off the bottom of the legs and just have shorter benches. You'd have to trim all legs to be even.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Mar 09, 2020

    Hi there,

    Cut off the legs that have rotted trim the others to make a lower bench or replace the timber that has rotted...........Then use a wood preservative on the lot!

  • Rymea Rymea on Mar 09, 2020

    Looks like just 4 carriage bolts in each leg. Replace the legs with ground contact treated lumber. And you should still seal the bottom of each leg.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law on Mar 09, 2020

    If the legs are rotted, the other wood is probably not far behind. You can use them as a pattern for new ones built of pressure treated lumber and you can also use the hardware from them.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Mar 09, 2020

    Rot is one thing, termites are another.

    After trimming, I would examine them carefully to see what there is to worth with.

    You can try spraying them, in excess, with termite killer and see what kind of critters come crawling out of them.

    Then you’ll have an idea on how much time & money you want to put in them.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Mar 10, 2020

    The legs need replacing for sure, I would use the best one as a pattern for making the new ones. You might want to use pressure treated lumber and put a coating on the bottom of the replacement legs to hold off ground moisture induced rot to the wood. You might want to consider sanding and painting when done.

  • Janice Janice on Mar 11, 2020

    If you chose to do simply, just cut off the current legs to get rid of the rot and ensure they are the same length so the bench doesn't tip. You can stain as you please and add a metal cap by using a thin pieces off aluminum pop cans cut to the appropriate size and attached with upholstery brads. You can cut immediately below the rim of a soda can and then again near the base and likely get enough "metal" to make caps for the legs so they don't deterioriate in the future. The benches would be a conversation piece. Very thin brass wold work as well and would age well. Cool!

  • Simple Nature Decor Simple Nature Decor on Mar 13, 2020

    Measure the rotten ones and replace them with new 2 by 4

  • Kmdreamer Kmdreamer on Mar 13, 2020

    Scrub them down good replace the legs were there rotted then use a weatherproof stain to preserve the wood and do a couple of coats to protect it.

  • Dee Dee on Mar 14, 2020

    I you do not want to replace the legs, you can use Bondo to reconstruct and reseal them.