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Hey New Hampshire! – Here’s a Wood Decay Checklist for Your Home

By Chris Williams on July 16, 2014.

wet woodHere in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, two of our biggest wood-destroying pests are termites and carpenter ants. Both like moist conditions and usually begin their infestations in wood that is damp or that has been damp and has decayed. Check around your home for moisture problems that could lead to wood decay.

  1. Plumbing leaks. Look for leaks behind washing machine, at top of built-in tub, or in shower stall.
  2. Flower beds against house. Don’t let soil touch wood siding.
  3. Lawn sprinklers. Avoid persistent wetting of exterior wood.
  4. Soil grade. Untreated wood should be at least 8 inches above adjacent finish grade for framing members and 6 inches above finish grade for siding.
  5. Wood junctions. Where boards or beams are joined end to end, water can get trapped in the joints. Metal caps can prevent decay.
  6. Ends of exposed beams. Treat exposed beams with preservative since cracks can open as wood dries out.
  7. Roof overhang. If overhang is too short, rain can run down exterior walls.
  8. Roof dormer and chimney. Flashing must be used between roof and dormer or chimney.
  9. Roof-siding intersections. Use flashing between wood siding and roof surface so that the two do not touch.
  10. Roof edge. If shingles do not extend far enough beyond fascia board, water will curl under shingle and wet wood trim at roof edge. Use metal edging to allow drip line from roof to clear wood trim.
  11. Splashing rain. Install rain gutters with downspouts to direct drainage away from home.
  12. Porch areas. Porch surface must slope away from house so water doesn’t collect against wood.
  13. Wooden porch posts. Be sure post doesn’t touch porch surface. Direct water away from posts.
  14. Condensing moisture under house. Some houses with crawlspace underneath need vapor barrier or other special measures to prevent condensation.
  15. Water collecting under house. Fill any holes and make sure water drains away from house.

Photo credit: edward_rooks / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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