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Banish Wood Rot from Your Main Line, Philadelphia Exterior

Spring has arrived and most homeowners in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs now take the time to inspect their home’s exterior. Frost from this past winter typically settles into your exterior woodwork and turns into rot over time. You can usually see if moisture is getting into the wood because, even if your paint hasn’t failed yet, it will probably start to peel away. In extreme cases, you can see fungus growing out of the wood—a very clear sign of rot. If rot is taking over your exterior, don’t hesitate to call Nolan Painting. Our team services Philadelphia, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Bucks counties and can professionally replace and repair your wood with moisture-resistant alternatives that will hold their color in every season so that you can enjoy those snowfalls without stressing about your house.

Locating Problem Areas

The first step towards eliminating wood rot from your home is finding it. Most wood rot we find is exterior, especially on northern and eastern exposure lines. These areas are getting the least sun, so when they get wet or snowy, they stay wet for a longer period of time. Any part of your home that is consistently shaded is going to be more likely to show signs of rot. Additionally, flat areas like window sills or door frames are much more likely to collect and hold precipitation, giving that moisture time to soak in. Water, snow, and ice can cause problems in wood located near the ground—especially if snow builds up several inches in the winter.

The Nolan Fix

If you’re starting to notice your paint peeling away, or suspect wood rot on your exterior, don’t stress—Nolan’s team is experienced with the seasonal issues particular to the Main Line, including wood rot, and we’ve got a fix for you. What we do is actually replace the wood component – whether it’s a door frame, window frame, window sill, or any other exterior component – with moisture-resistant composite materials. These composites are impervious to the melting snows, rain, and other moisture that would usually seep in and cause rot. They also hold paint better than natural woods!

If the rot is showing up on a section of trim on an older home where it would have to be custom-built to match the existing trim, we can rebuild the section with wood epoxy. This is a seamless fix that we can actually carve and sculpt like real wood once the epoxy sets. We’ll chisel and root out the decayed wood, then refill and rebuild the problem area with a two-part filler that hardens in a chemical reaction.

This window sill is beginning to rot. Filling the area with a moisture-resistant epoxy will keep similar problems from cropping up in the future.
Image: Flickr user Ken Mayer

Advanced Fillers Eliminate the Problem for Good

To actually eliminate the problem (rather than just patching it over with a temporary fix), you want to choose a high-quality filler that reacts to the elements like a natural wood does. Not all wood epoxies are created equal—other contractors use materials like Bondo, or one-component epoxies that harden into a hard, rock-like substance. Those one-component epoxies that don’t expand and contract with the motion of the substrate can become a problem. High-end fillers like Flex-Tac (the filler that Nolan Painting uses), are designed to harden like wood; you can sand, shape, and chisel it, but it has a certain amount of flexibility with changes in moisture and temperature. In the Main Line, you can see weather go from 90 to 20 degrees throughout the year, and that’s going to make your woods move! You need a wood filler that moves along with it, instead of failing as soon as the temperature changes.

Likewise, to prevent wood rot, it’s important to take care when painting your exterior to make sure that the job is done properly. A really good, high-quality exterior paint is going to be especially moisture-resistant and prevent a lot of problems that would otherwise crop up with a cheap paint. A lot of today’s woods have a naturally high moisture content, so they tend to rot more easily, making the paint layer especially important for protection. Once the wood is installed, all of the joints between wood and other surfaces need to be caulked very well. Even a sixteenth of an inch gap can let moisture in, resulting in rot.

Moisture-resistant composite materials can prevent unsightly rot on your home’s exterior.
Image: Flickr user Russ

Enjoy the Winter Months: Rot-Free!

Keep rot away from your home by taking the necessary steps to replace, repair, and protect the woodwork on your exterior. Nolan Painting carpenters can help assess your woodwork for rot, and then replace problem areas with composite woods that will save you from future rot. We’ve been providing comprehensive painting and carpentry services for families and businesses along the Main Line, Philadelphia and surrounding areas since 1979, and we’re confident that you’ll be very happy with our solution to exterior wood rot. For more information, contact us today for a free consultation!

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