Answers to Your Exterior Improvement Questions Answers to Your Exterior Improvement Questions

Siding - Decks - Roofing - Exterior Projects
Q. I pulled apart an old shower room some years ago and stripped everything out as there was clearly damp in there. I came across rotted wood with what looks like white hairs. What kind of rot is it and what should I do with the wood that seems OK in the room, i.e., the floorboards?

A. This is a mold or fungus, but it can be a problem for people with allergies, and it provides a food for dust mites. It will grow back if not allowed to dry completely, and the moisture problem is not corrected. This was wet, as borne out by the white growth on the wood, but now is dry. This damaged wood will need replacement or sintering for structural value. If the wood is dry, the mold can be scrubbed off with detergent and water. If the wood looks fine, and is not soft, then it should be suitable for leaving in place.

Q. We just bought a 1950's ranch and are replacing the roof next month. After that, we'd like to replace the siding and windows, but probably cannot afford to do both at the same time. What is the correct order for this work?

A. Replace the windows first.

Q. I need to clean the green funky stuff that grows in the corners and shadows of the house - anywhere the sun doesn't reach. What can I use that will do the job, yet not harm surrounding plants or damage the tile and grout on the porch?

A. Use a solution of bleach 25 percent in water with a dash of laundry detergent. Wet the surface with the solution and let it sit for about five minutes, then rinse. Wet any nearby plants before the application and rinse thoroughly afterward to prevent damage. This will kill the mildew; a dab of scrubbing may be needed to remove the residue. If you rinse afterwards, there should be no damage.

Q. I'm developing a mild case of rot around the bottom of my T-111 siding and have been contemplating replacing the worst sections. Of course the rot is occurring on the sections where my electric and telephone utility boxes are mounted to the house. The siding is original and it appears as though the utility boxes were mounted to the house following completion. I've done minor siding repair DIY projects in the past, but have never attempted to replace a full sheet around utility boxes. How do I go about removing/re-inserting a sheet of siding behind/around these boxes, or is this a job best left to a pro?

A. Don't try to attempt this while it is still hot. Call the utility company and they will come out, kill the power, and pull the meter so you can do what you have to do, then they will come back and re-install everything after you get the siding back on. Some states require that only a licensed electrician handle boxes and meters.

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Siding - Decks - Roofing - Exterior Projects

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