Exterior Maintenance: Right and Wrong Ways to Deal with Wood Rot

Here in the Northeast, most of our homes have exposed exterior wood, whether that be the siding, the fascia, the stairs, the deck, the window and door frames, or all of the above! Additionally, most of our homes are likely, at some point, to experience symptoms of wood rot.

Wood rot can happen because of two main reasons: sun and moisture. Wood that is continuously or frequently wet will begin to rot in one way, while wood that is exposed to lots of sunlight can split and crack, displaying a different kind of rot.

The best ways to prevent wood rot include regular exterior painting, and preventing exposure to unnecessary moisture (such as from poorly-aimed sprinklers or leaking gutters). Maintaining the exterior paint and caulking on your home provides an effective barrier against sun, rain, ice and humidity, protecting it against rot.

What Are the Wrong Ways to Deal with Wood Rot?

  1. Ignore it! This is sure to lead to further water intrusion and rot, which will spread to the surrounding wood, and could lead to leaks, mold, and insect intrusion.
  2. Paint over it! While this may mask the problem for a little while, the wood is still rotten. Water may continue to leak in, and the paint will definitely fail prematurely.
  3. Use cheap fillers and paint! This is slightly better than the other options, but if the wood is really rotted, it has lost structural integrity. Wood filler or spray-in foam insulation will not resolve the problem in a helpful way.

What Is the Right Way to Deal with Wood Rot?

Minor damage can be dealt with by careful treatment of the affected wood. This could include applying a wood hardener and quality wood filler, then by adding primer and exterior paint.

Another way to deal with rotted wood is to cut out and replace only the affected part of the board. If it is a long deck board or a piece of siding or trim, this can save time and money compared to replacing the whole piece, but it only works in cases of minor rot.

The best way to deal with exterior wood rot is to replace the whole affected board. This ensures that the new wood is completely sound, and it reduces the number of seams in your home exterior. Before the wood is installed, it should be primed on all 4 sides and both ends, for maximum water repellence. After installation, it should be painted with 2 coats of premium exterior house paint.

Exterior Painting and Maintenance for New York and Connecticut

If your home has any exterior wood rot or if it needs paint maintenance, A.G. Williams Painting would be happy to serve you. We employ expert craftsmen who can evaluate the state of your woodwork and help you determine what steps are most necessary to restore, protect, and beautify it.

In addition to exterior painting, A.G. Williams offers interior painting, wallpaper services, pressure washing, color consulting, and more. We serve Westchester, Fairfield, Rockland and Putnam Counties, as we have done for well over 100 years!