Preventing damage to the exterior of your house from environmental forces.

As a General Contractor, I am involved with many repairs of sun or water damaged wood on the exterior of homes. Most wood repair work is preventable with some basic maintenance by the homeowner.

Step one is to just pay close attention to your house. Walk around the exterior carefully examining all the wood surfaces. Note any cracks or deterioration in the finish. Even the smallest cracks will allow moisture to penetrate the exposed wood. This allows further cracking and peeling as the wet wood releases its hold on the paint, thus causing even further paint deterioration in a vicious cycle that leads to decay or sun damage of the material. Pay particular attention to the glass/wood connections on your windows or glass doors.

These are very vulnerable areas. The paint should cover any gap between the two materials to keep water out. Inspect the window and door sills. These surfaces get a lot of sun as they face upward. Check the surfaces of your doors for any cracks, especially in the joints of any mouldings or other details.

Due to expansion and contraction the joints are the first areas to crack on a painted or finished wood surface. And check the door bottom and edges for de-lamination of the veneer. Once this starts it can quickly destroy the door. Check the spots where wood trim joints stucco or other materials. These areas need to be keep sealed with caulking compound.

The good news is that if the problems you find are relatively minor their correction should be something you can do yourself, especially if you have any leftover paint from a prior paint job. Mix the paint thoroughly then use an artist’s brush to touchup cracks. Keep any work you do confined to as small a profile as possible in case the touchups do not perfectly match the surrounding paint. Maintaining the paint will not only save potentially thousands on future wood repairs but will also extent the life of your existing paint job.

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