Ok, here you are. Wondering how to know if that funky looking piece of wood is really rotted. How to know if the large crack in the trim is really an indication of a repair. So how do you know?
One way is to get an expert to tell you. There are way too many contractors out there that give FREE (yes, FREE! As in no cost to you!) estimates to leave a potential repair unchecked. If you're local in the Wake Forest/Raleigh area and have the nagging itch to know if something needs to be repaired, give me a call and I'll be glad to arrange a no obligation free estimate. If you're not in our area, find a contractor that gives free estimates and give them a call. The experts can tell you if it's needing repair or not. Why not let them?
If you're a DIY, then a great way to know if you have rotted wood is to get a solid object and poke around on the siding and trim. I use a larger sized nail set to check, like this red one sticking in a piece of fascia. If you use a smaller nail set, it may penetrate the wood like an awl and not necessarily be so accurate in revealing areas of concern.
You might have noticed I said the nail set is sticking out of the fascia. If you did, congratulate yourself! You're a sharp reader! And you might have thought, "I don't think that's good". And in that case, you'd be right! Another high five to you!
That's not normal. No, not giving yourself a high five (well maybe), but the nail set stuck in the fascia. And I didn't have to hammer the nail set in. I just used my hand and poked around. It stuck. SHAZAAM! I found the water damaged wood! So easy, a cave...well, you get the picture. And that phrase is probably copyrighted or something anyway.
The wood is soft, and that's a pretty good indication that it's taking on water. And that is bad. BAD! Bad because the back side of the board looks like this. ANd that's not black paint on there. (And that's a lot of words beginngin with "b".)
That's where water damage comes from boys and girls! The water runs down the roof slope, and the unpainted surface of the cut on this fascia board soaks it up like having a sponge installed on your house! No one really wants that, unless you live in the ocean. To avoid this problem, we prime all our cuts on our material, even on HardiePlank (but not on PVC).
We almost always take it one step further and replace rotted trim wood with a PVC/vinly piece of trim. It's a little more expensivie than wood, but if it's already rotted once...
Here's the same area of fascia with a new shiny (well, it was shiny before it got painted) PVC fascia! There's some squirrel chewing going on at the edges of the siding under that fascia, but we had to leave that for another day and another dollar...dang squirrels! SHOO!
Left unchecked, rotted wood can be inspiring! For instance what can you make out of this beauty to the right? Not much anymore! It's a rotted 2x4 subfascia (the stuff behind fascia) that came from a small side porch roof.
And all because a previous contractor decided to simply put the last piece of flashing ON TOP of the existing and try to caulk it shut. NOT GOING TO WORK! And hopefully neither will that contractor again. Don't hire him folks!
So get outside and poke around your house! If you're not sure, give us a call and we can poke around areas we see as well. I might even let you take my nail set for a test drive.