Exterior siding adds substantial aesthetic value to your Oakland County home, lowers the utility bill, and keeps the weather out. Siding can last up to five decades, but only if its installed properly, after which it begins to rot. Rotting of the exterior wood is common, even amongst the best of houses. All it takes to turn the solid lumber to mush is warmth, water, and of course, the wood. Unfortunately, exterior siding doesn’t have to be very old to be attacked by the rot fungi.
Improper sealing, poor drainage, and poor circulation are the major causes of rot — basically, anything that makes it possible for the wood to absorb water. It doesn’t matter how well-maintained your Michigan house is, you will have to deal with the problem of rotten exterior wood at some point. Not to worry though, rotten exterior wood is relatively easy to repair unless it affects a supportive column, post, or any other major structural item where safety is compromised.
Locating the Rot
Rotting occurs when part of the wood that makes up the exterior siding of your home absorbs water. With that in mind, it’s extremely easy to locate the rot. However, that depends on the nature and extent of the rot. Look for parts of the exterior where drainage is likely to be a problem. Sometimes, items such as plants could block circulation. In general, target areas that don’t drain well.
Touch to look for soft spots; you can even try to push susceptible areas with a screw driver and see if it goes through. Wood that is close to dirt, masonry, or concrete is susceptible to rot. Horizontal wood or wood that is part of a joint also tends to rot more often. Cracking paint is also a major indication of rot. You should also look for areas that look green or are generally darker than the rest of the house as it is also an indication of organic growth.
The rot must be removed for any repairs to be done. Removing the rot can be an easy or difficult task, depending on the extent of the damage. If the problem isn’t widespread, the rot can be easily removed with simple tools such as a flat head screwdriver, a chisel, or a claw hammer. You can use a die grinder or any other appropriate power tool to remove the remaining rot. The repair material needs to be applied on a dry surface for it to work, so make sure that everything that seems abnormally wet is removed.
Prepping the Surface
You can use an epoxy primer to prepare the damaged surface for repair, just paint it over the area you want to fix. There are wood products that are made specifically to deal with the fungi or rot, you can apply some of that to the damaged surface. Applying wood hardener on the damaged surface before repair also helps. If you want to increase the lifespan of the remaining wood, drill some holes into it and inject wood preservative.
Before you embark on the actual repairs, take as many steps to protect the remaining wood from rot as you can. There are so many products that can be used to do that, just make sure that you give each product sufficient time to dry before you can apply the next one. Undamaged wood needs to be protected throughout the repair process since its exposed.
Epoxy wood filler is one of the best rotten wood fillers there is. As a result, epoxy wood filler is the most commonly used material when it comes to repairing exterior wood that has been attacked by rot and fungi. But if you are planning on using epoxy filler to repair, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you have a limited time to do your repairs before the filler hardens. The epoxy must also be mixed with its catalyst so that it becomes chemically active. Also, you have to wait until the epoxy cures before you start using it.
It only takes about 24 hours for epoxy to cure and become ready for use, do not touch uncured epoxy with bare hands. Heat can expedite the curing process, so you need to factor in the weather component before you start your repairs. Use a putty knife to build a form to shape the epoxy to fit the certain parts of the wood. After you are done with this part, apply a fresh coat of paint as an extra layer of protection.