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Common Exterior House Repairs

By: Danny Lipford
Gray house with white trim.

Historic home after exterior repairs.

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We’re tackling some common exterior house repairs on an 1885 historic home in Mobile, Alabama, that as in need of a little TLC to get it ready for painting.

Like many older homes, some of the wood on the eaves, siding, and porch have deteriorated over the years and are in need of replacement or repair.

Repair Damaged Eave Boards

Eave on corner of house with squirrel hole.

Squirrel damaged eave.

To repair a squirrel damaged fascia board on the eaves of your house, use a pry bar to remove the damaged board, cut a replacement board to match, and nailed the new board in place.

When repairing squirrel damage, make sure the squirrels and their young aren’t inside the house when the repairs are made.

Before working near power lines, contact the local utility company and have the power turned off.

Read How to Prevent Squirrel Damage and watch How to Replace Damaged Eave Fascia Boards to find out more.

Danny Lipford replacing damaged wood siding.

Danny Lipford replacing damaged wood siding.

Replace Rotten Wood Siding

To remove damaged siding, use an oscillating tool to cut through the nails in the row above the siding, then insert a flat pry bar under the bottom of the damaged siding and remove the board.

Siding exposure gauge held up on siding.

Siding exposure gauge.

Cut a new piece of siding to length, slide it in place, and secure it using galvanized nails.

To speed up the process of installing siding, make a siding exposure gauge from a piece of plywood or two scraps of wood attached together. Hook the gauge under the bottom row of siding, and rest the new siding board on top.

Auto body filler can be used to repair minor damage to wood. Here’s how:

  1. Dig out any rotten wood.
  2. Mix two-part body filler together.
  3. Fill the cavity with body filler.
  4. Sand the body filler flush.
  5. Prime and paint the repair.

Watch How to Replace Damaged Siding to find out more.

Repair Rotten Column Base

If the damage is confined to the trim boards mitered around the bottom of the column, remove the damaged wood, miter new boards from a rot resistant material, and nail the new boards in place.

Porch column base after removing and replacing rotten wood.

Porch column base after removing and replacing rotten wood.

If the column has a separate base, the column will need to be jacked up, and the base removed and replaced. If the column itself is rotten, it will have to be jacked up and the entire column replaced.

Watch How to Replace Column Base Trim Boards to find out more.

Replace Missing Window Screens

To replace a missing window screen, make a new one using aluminum screen frame stock and plastic screen frame corners. Here’s how:

  1. Measure the window to determine the size of the fame.
  2. Subtract the width of the frame corners from the measurements.
  3. Cut the frame stock to length using a miter saw or hacksaw.
  4. Insert the four corners in the screen frame.
  5. Cut a piece of screen wire several inches larger than the frame.
  6. Position the screen wire over the frame.
  7. Press the rubber spline in the grooves using a spline roller.
  8. Cut off any excess screen with a utility knife.

Watch How to Make a Window Screen to find out more.

Repaired newel post on outside stairs.

Repaired stair newel post with base, cap, and finial.

Repair Rotten Newel Posts

To repair the facing boards around a newel post:

  1. Remove the rotten wood.
  2. Check to make sure the center support post is in good condition.
  3. Make a four-sided box from 1” thick wood.
  4. slide the box over the end of the post, and secure it in place.
  5. Reattach the top and bottom handrails to the newel post.
  6. Make a cap with beveled sides, and attach it to the top of the post.

Watch How to Replace Rotten Newel Post Facing Board to find out more.

Other Tips from This Episode

Driving screw in wood with cordless drill.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Drive Screws Without Splitting

To keep wood from splitting when driving screws, drill a pilot hole and countersink the screw head before driving the screw. A drill driver bit has a drill bit with countersink on one end and a screwdriver bit on the other to speed up the process. (Watch Video)

Annihilator Wrecking and Utility Bar

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Annihilator Wrecking and Utility Bar

The Annihilator from Dead On Tools is a heavy weight 18″ wrecking and utility bar that’s great for demolition work. The multi-tool includes a hammer, pry bar, nail puller, chisel point, and wrench. The Annihilator is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Blond woman spraying house.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Exterior Mold and Mildew Treatment

Clean the exterior of your home thoroughly before painting to remove any mold and mildew, and make sure the paint you use contains a mildewcide. If mold reappears after painting, apply a mold remover, such as Wet & Forget Outdoor. (Watch Video)

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Common Exterior House Repairs