One of the most common structural problems we encounter in Topeka and Lawrence is exterior wood rot. Even for homes built with aluminum or vinyl siding, or all brick homes, there are many components of the exterior structure that are made of wood. Window and door moulding, trim work, fascia and soffit are typically made of wood.
All of these items are particularly vulnerable to weather extremes and water. When exterior wood damage is left unchecked, it can lead to higher heating and air conditioning bills, termite infestation and a decrease in home value. Also, it is a lot easier to repair some minor damage than to wait until there is a serious problem, which may require major replacement work. Let's go through some details that can help you avoid any big problems down the road.
Fancy names, but it's just exterior trim...
First, what exactly are the surfaces we're talking about? If you look at the exterior windows and doors on your house, they all have wood trim around them. The tricky part is that what you see is only part of the trim – the outermost layers are typically decorative mouldings. Underneath, more framing exists to hold the window or door in place. Catching a wood rot problem early often means we can fix just the outer moulding.
The fascia includes the horizontal boards that connect the bottoms of the roof rafters. The fascia provides stability to the structure and is often used to support the gutter system. The soffit is the finished layer covering the fascia. We usually consider this part of the structure the “eave” of the house.
Bugs, water and weather - watch out!
All of these areas are susceptible to water and weather damage. As exterior paint wears and weathers, small cracks may appear. Water can (and will) seep into the tiniest of these cracks. As the water sits on the wood surface it will not only saturate the wood, but can also grow mold and attract insects to the softened wood. Winter time makes the problem even worse. If water gets into small cracks in exterior wood surfaces and freezes, the expanding and contracting of freezing and thawing water can wreak havoc on the trim work. Often time, problems that are small and unnoticeable in the Fall emerge as major issues in the Spring.
Get it fixed now, before it gets bad...
In order to protect your home from wood rot and all of the associated problems, you can do a simple inspection to identify any problem areas. First, walk around your house and visually inspect all windows, doors and soffit. Keep an eye out for small insect holes, out-of-place soffit vents and cracks. If you have a two story home, you can perform this visual inspection from the ground. If you decide to use a ladder, be sure to follow all precautions associated with safe ladder use. Make a note of any areas you see that look like they may not be structurally sound. Second, you can use your fingers or a blunt object to check the density of the wood. Wood that is has water damage or wood rot will be much softer than normal. Being careful not to damage good wood, press on any suspected areas – if the area feels spongy or soft, there could be an underlying problem. Often times, we see trim work that looks okay at first glance, but will fall apart just by being touched.
American Perma-Coat Painting can handle any exterior painting. Before every job we fully inspect all of the surfaces to ensure structural integrity. If any wood needs repair or replacing, our team of skilled carpenters will handle the work before painting, and you can expect nothing but the highest quality work.