Many areas of your home / investment could be doomed to a future of rot and destruction.
Wood rots, plain and simple, it's only a matter of time and location. True, treated lumber wont rot, but then homes are not built with treated lumber as part of the main framework. And cedar will rot, because it is a soft wood, its just that the insects don't seem to enjoy the taste of cedar. The north side of your house will collect more mildew and less sun, and even under that real nice layer of paint, the wood will rot from the inside out and unless you be sure to inspect around your homes, you just won't see the problem until it has infiltrated the deeper - inner parts of the main construction. Then comes the insects, feasting on all that deteriorated, moist, rotten wood and you have a recipe for expensive repairs; often times NOT covered by home owners insurance if you are planning on letting it go and making a nice fat claim.
I've been replacing rotten wood around my 15 year old home for about the last 8-10 years, mostly trim boards, and I could not tell you why it happend. I've had builder friends of mine tell me to check ot the caps over the chimmeny, and I have, solid and sealed as could be so it wasn't that. If anyone keeps after his house, I do, and yet every spring I walk around the house and make a list of repairs I need to make over the coming season. I do have a theory, for I remember living only a block away in a rental when my house was being built. It was a very rainy spring and summer in 1996, and as soon as the rain let up, the builder went around and painted the whole house in record time as I was due to close in a few weeks. I feel that the wood was soaked, and then painted, and all that moisture sealed in. Then it was only a matter of time, and when I would remove the rotten parts years later, it was always very heavy and literally soaked with water. I'm saying that this wood would weigh 10-20 pounds for about an average 8-10 foot length. That's a lot of water. It's been a big job keeping after this, and even as I write this blog, although I feel I've just about completed all that is to be done this year, I'm seeing some areas that will probably need to be checked out in the spring. If you passed by my house on any Tuesday morning over this summer when the garbage goes out, you would have seen bundled planks of grey and brown rotten wood ready for pick up.
So I've learned a lot during this process that I wanted to pass onto some of you it the hopes that you might be able to avoid some of the extensive repairs that I've gone through. First, it takes time, but walk around your house and check things out. If you tend to cut your own grass as I do, you might see some things just from the time it takes to go around and around your house. But I know that landscapers do most of the work around the houses now a days and they sure don't care much about looking out for your interests, although they should because in most cases they would be able to generate new business for themselves. But if you do the inspecting, and you see what looks like wrinkled paint, and dark areas in the wood, usually at the drip caps (just under the shingles / siding, and above the face boards). Also the verticle boards, mostly around the bottom, and the trim boards around your windows. Sometimes it might take getting up on a ladder, but it is worth the effort. I will attach some pictures. This is a perfect example of how from the ground I saw a very small area as I just described that I thought only needed paint or maybe some minor repairs, and once I got up on the ladder I saw a giant hole up above the drip cap and when I started ripping down the rotten wood it went on and on until I went all the way down to the framing of that area of the house.
And by the way, this is one of the reasons/examples why I started www.bionicrehab.net. Everything or someone needs rehab to some extent. So if you need a hand, want to inspect that home, give me a buzz, or just go out and check around yourself. But whatever you do, never put off for tomorrow what you should do today. I know neighbors of mine who know they have a problem and have decided to just "let it go and deal with it next year"! I couldn't sleep at night knowing that the frame work of my house is getting more and more soaked and rotten with every rain we get and snow that freezes and thaws. Do you like the idea of water soaked wood, on and inside the framing of your house, freezing and thawing over the winter? I don't think that's a great way to keep the equity of your house safe. I know neighbors of mine who have had to have entire sections of their home removed from the outside straight down to the inner Sheetrock! That means the siding, inner sheathing, insulation, all of it. And this could be avoided given the time and effort to do the proper inspections. It's your home, it's your investment, protect it and be safe.
By the way, this all assumes of course that you like the wood look of your house. For an average size house in the area of Cortlandt Manor, if you can go out and spend $30 - $50,000 and have your whole house resided in vinyl or the new concrete board, good for you, but if you want to hold off on that or just don't have the money to spend, proper inspection can lead to very minor repairs and a quality home for years to come. Good luck.
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