Rotting wood outside is like tooth decay -- unless it’s properly taken care of, it’s going to get worse. But rather than hiring a carpenter and a painter to fix a decaying exterior, you’ll likely be able to find a contractor who offers both trades. The extent of wood rot can vary like the severity of a bad tooth, however, so before hiring anyone, arm yourself with knowledge to help you accurately assess the problem.
Hiring a Painter
Just as a dentist has to prove his accreditation before he can perform dental work, a good painter should gladly prove his painting and carpentry skills, if he touts both. Ask him for referrals, so you can check out his work, and ensure that he carries liability insurance. Then query the Better Business Bureau for red flags or complaints from previous customers. Checking for complaints can confirm any doubts or simply put your mind at ease before hiring anyone to care for your costly asset.
Depending on the type and extent of rot, your tradesman may approach the repair similar to the way a dentist chooses to either fill or pull a bad tooth. If the wood rot hasn’t spread too much, he may be able to clean out the bad portion and fill it wi tha wood epoxy or filler. When dry, the painter sands the filled area and paints over it. A good tradesman can make the patching job look as though it never happened.
Although you can cut out just the rotten parts, the finished result turns out better by replacing entire boards, no matter if it affects part of a window’s frame or an entire section of siding. Your painter should prime new boards on all sides, even the ones against the home. When discussing your job with a contractor, let him know how you’d prefer him to handle the job, but ask for his input and a quote either way. Rot can lead to structural damage, however, if it has spread too far or deep. If this is the case with your home, it’s probable that a painter with basic carpentry knowledge won’t properly understand the problem. Seek the advice of a building engineer, if you suspect the damage is more than a basic repair or cosmetic fix.
To maintain your home’s exterior after repairs and painting, caulking is a necessity. A silicone, acrylic-latex caulk preserves exterior paint in most climates, deters insects from nesting in or chewing through your home and helps to prevent future rot. Discuss the caulking procedure with your painter. After the entire job is done, make it a regular practice -- maybe every spring and fall -- to inspect the caulk for cracks or loose or missing sections that you can cut away and replace. Maintaining your home’s exterior is like taking regular trips to the dentist for checkups -- only less agonizing.
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