Advice needed concerning wood rot.

claudia4November 29, 2006

Not sure how much of a disaster this is, but here goes:

We are going to put in an offer on a fixer upper. It's 12 years old, stucco/syn stucco.. it looks like everything that needs fixing is mostly cosmetic. House is being sold as is (corporate seller)and we don't have a lot of extra money but this is a fantastic deal. The carpeting will be replaced and a few coats of paint should make the place look pretty decent for now until we can afford to do better. The one huge problem I see is in the kitchen by the patio door entrance. the wood is soft and rotting.. not sure why. We had plans to redo the floor and I'm wondering if this is a serious issue or if it can be repaired without costing thousands of dollars. Don't know if you can tell anything from the photo but I thought I'd give it a shot. It's only soft and rotted in the area that's showing through.

Thanks so much for any input!!!

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Get a good home inspector. Make an acceptable report one of the conditions of your offer. Don't even consider an offer without this condition.

You will probably also need an estimate of how much it will cost to fx this problem. That will depend on the source and the extent of damage.

It may be minor and you can fix it yourself, but if it is structural, especially if the source is longstanding leak from overhead, the solution may cost more than you want to spend, unless you get a really good deal.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 7:25AM
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Have you done all your research on synthetic stucco? I've heard of many problems with synthetic stucco, it allows moisture to become trapped beneath the stucco without any egress if it's not done properly. This results in significant damage to the home which may not be totally visible. Get a good inspector, especially one that is familiar with what to watch for in synthetic stucco. the rotting wood you see visible may only be the beginning of your nightmare. Check it thoroughly before you buy this home. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2006 at 7:10PM
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Coincidental timing... I'm taking a lunch break from tearing out some rotted wood near what used to be a door to the deck. They didn't flash the ledger board for the deck, so it trapped water against the siding, both of which rotted. It stayed wet enough to even attract some termites (no live ones, but tunnels and pellets, even in the redwood siding) and rot some of the rim joist. Our damage is mostly on the outside, but the same lessons are to be learned.

Water is the enemy when it comes to buildings. It's very persistant, spreads and wicks in ways you wouldn't think possible sometimes, and will silently damage wood, sheetrock, non-galv. steel, etc. And if it sticks around long enough, it will bring its friends, mold, mildew and insects.

I would guess that the patio door is at fault, either tthe flashing below it, the door itself not shedding water correctly, or if you're really unlucky, the flashing above it ("Mommy, why's it raining inside the door?"). It's important to find the source of the water and stop it before you do any other repairs, or the repairs will just get wet, too.

From the looks of your picture, it's been fairly wet for a long time. The subfloor planks need to be replaced obviously, but check very carefully in the joists below for rot. If there is just a little, you can scrape it out, make sure it's dry, and fill it with bondo. If it's a little worse, you may need to do that and then scab another board along side the joist to strengthen it. If it's really bad, well...

But be sure to fix the source of the water first.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2006 at 4:43PM
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Take a look at the info below.

Frankly from what I have read about synthetic stucco I would not touch a stucco house unless I was absolutely certain it was "real" old fashioned cement stucco.


Here is a link that might be useful: EIFS Legal Network

    Bookmark   January 2, 2007 at 1:11AM
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A new door, replaced flooring are not cheap. I have been through it. The door is not installed nor flashed proprerly. Do you want a home with one very obvious quality defect? What other not so obvious defects do you not know about? Be leery of under estimating the cost of repairs.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 11:03PM
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