Anyone that owns a home with even a little bit of age to it (and quite many times, even much newer homes!), is susceptible to the idea of opening ‘Pandora’s Box’ any time they go to repair a piece of rotted exterior wood on their home.
When taking off the rotted components, there is a chance that the wood behind the wooden trim (the structural framing) has rotted on some level.
Unfortunately, there is no way to tell the degree (if any) that rotted structural work exists behind rotted trim work, until the rotted trim work is removed.
This makes planning for these types of circumstances extraordinarily difficult.
I have seen situations in the past where something looks like a simple cornerboard replacement, turn into a massive repair situation beneath it (including leading to an entire roof needing to be jacked up and its entire framing system shored up).
I have also seen many occasions where something on the surface looks shot beyond belief and the structural items behind it ended up being in very good shape, with no additional structural corrections necessary.
Although there is no surefire way to know for certain when one is more likely to stumble upon structural repairs needing to be done than others, there does often seem to be a common thread – areas allowing moisture to get in behind the trim work for extended periods of time!
When moisture is allowed to get behind the exterior finished areas of the home, it can gradually deteriorate the structural components that they are attached.
This is because of a variety of reasons.
The moisture itself, without being able to properly dry out, can lead to decay, mold growth, etc.
The moisture being there is also a sort of a magnet for carpenter ants, termites, and the like which are constantly searching for damp, wood areas that they can make home and utilize for sustenance.
When structural rot is discovered behind any rotted trim work, the first thing we always look for is signs of insect damage.
If it is found, we urge the homeowner to get things treated as soon as possible, we are at a standstill in terms of correcting the rotted structural members until any wood-damaging insects are eradicated.
Once it is assured that any existing tiny guests that are causing this type of a ruckus are no longer a threat, it is ok to begin to properly replace the structural areas that have rotted.
It is important that these types of repairs and corrections are only conducted by someone who knows how to properly stabilize them.
While this may seem like common sense, you may be surprised to learn how many repairs we come across in the field that we have to re-correct what someone else had previously done to structurally “fix” something.
Opening up Pandora’s Box and discovering a plethora of items that one was not counting on addressing is bothersome enough.
However, having to correct a structural repair that was not done properly in the first place, is astronomically unsettling!
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