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Preventing and replacing dry rotted trim

  • TOM WILMER
    Cracks like these are signs of dry rot. The keys to avoiding dry rot iinclude using quality wood, proper priming, sealing, painting, and flashing when applicable.

Dry rot is not inevitable but it is common on many homes, apartments and other structures with wood siding and trim.

The first key to avoiding dry rot is to select quality wood. But a second vital component is proper priming, sealing, painting and flashing when applicable.

Unfortunately, the quest to maximize profits on the part of builders, especially spec builders, often tempts them to use materials (such as exterior wood trim) that are vulnerable to dry rot.

Not to mention eventual twisting, warping and cupping — that also enhances the potential for dry rot.

An all too commonly used, inexpensive exterior wood trim material is called Hem-Fir, and the attraction is its low cost.

For example, a 1x4, 8-foot-long piece of Hem-Fir costs around $2.99, whereas a quality, treated and pre-primed board costs around $8.25.

The total cost savings just by using Hem-Fir on a new home project can add more than a $1,000 dollars to a builder’s pocketbook.

Unfortunately, it will be five to 10 years before you, the homeowner will pay the price — a second time — to repair and rectify the problem.

Whether you are commencing a new project, or repairing the wood trim around windows, doors and vertical corners, the following recommendations will serve you well.

Back priming new trim


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