Fixing Damaged Redwood Window Sills

Water damage has stained
the wood so it looks gray

Many walls and window frames in Our Care-free Home are old-growth redwood. This beautiful, durable lumber is no longer available to builders (unless it’s been reclaimed), as the old-growth redwood forests were logged to near-extinction and are now protected.

The former owners damaged every single wood window frame (beyond repair in some places) by allowing water to collect on the lower wood panel. This likely has happened due to misuse of a humidifier (which our inspector forbid us from ever turning on, for this very reason) and simple neglect (when you choose not to clean, things ultimately get really dirty).

As we work to bring the home back to its former state of glory, this means fixing these stained wood sills. We completed a test and believe we’ve found a solution.

Here’s what we did:

Sand the sill using a simple powered hand sander with a corner attachment
Find a clear satin wipe-on poly that (when dry) matches the redwood frame
Apply a test patch with a Q-tip, choosing a small area just in case things don’t work out
Allow the test patch to dry, and if it looks good, apply poly to the rest of the sill
In the end, this is how the board looks! After drying, the test patch matched perfectly. We’ll be doing this to all of the lower window sills in the home.