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Panel outside house is rotting probably because of poor caulking

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Nov 23, 2013, 05:38 PM
Panel outside house is rotting probably because of poor caulking
All, I need some help in understanding what the issue maybe here and then if I can, then fix it.

The panels outside my house probably made of plywood seems to be getting mositure/water and is rotting. As you can see from the photos there is water gathering in. Some of them are damaged in one area while others need to be caulked. How can I fix this?

You can find the links here:

Please help

Sorry I am a new homeowner and still dont know many of the nomenclatures used here.
Nov 24, 2013, 01:39 PM
The good news: I've seen this many times and have fixed it so that it never happens again.

The bad news: It's not an easy or cheap fix.

Your house is the product of a bad design and a poor choice of materials. It is supposed to be a faux Tudor style - the real stuff is mostly masonry. In your case, the "stucco' is Masonite panels. The wood border is cedar.

The problem is that there are many, many flat places that can hold water. After a rain, water remains on all the horizontal surfaces where it weeps into the material and rots it out. The cedar is more resistant to rot than the Masonite, but both will eventually be destroyed.

The only long-term fix is a total siding replacement. You can go back with Tudor style or something totally different. If you go with Tudor, all your stucco panels need to be made from Hardipanel. Same with the trim, use Hardi plank trim. You will still want to caulk generously with a double bead of silicon on the back side of each 1x6 and then a paintable caulk along each edge. But the Hardi product will not get damaged by water or moisture.

Of course, there are many other more affordable methods of siding your house. Since you have to remove 100% of what is there now, you have lots of options as to what you want to put back on.

Don't be fooled if someone tries to tell you that they can make repairs to fix this - it cannot be done. Any patching is just going to be a short term fix. Masonite panels cannot survive in this application. Not for long.

Nov 24, 2013, 05:14 PM
part of the fix should be cutting a bevel of 15 to 25 degrees on the horizontal-up surfaces so water runs OUT first, then DOWN

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Nov 26, 2013, 03:01 AM
Jaybee, Thanks for the reply. This looks to be a major problem. I thought this was a quick fix. Only the front of my house has this stuccos rest is all vinyl siding.

What happens if I dont fix this immediately. Will it become worse and may leak water into house or create mold problems?

Is there a temporary fix or do I have to get these stucco's replaced. I have atleast 6 of these each about 2.5 feet by 1.5 feet? Any ideas on how much a contractor would charge for this?
Nov 26, 2013, 09:07 AM
Since it looks like you have actual holes in some of the soft spots, you do need to do something right away. If you let it go, water will get inside the wall cavity - leading to mold, wet insulation and rot of framing.

That said, there are lots of ways to make a temporary fix. They may not be pretty and they may only last through the winter but you can keep the moisture out. A layer of caulk is an easy solution. Duct tape and caulk could also work to bridge some holes. You can surface mount any thin material (plywood, siding etc) directly over the bad spots and caulk around them. Those kind of quick fixes could get you to Springtime.

Nov 26, 2013, 09:16 AM
A good handyman would be able to take this on. If a general contractor is good and busy he might not want to take on a small rot repair job like this.

Another option besides the Hardipanel that Jay recommended would be Azek cellular PVC panels and trim pieces. It is more expensive than Hardipanel but it will never rot. If you want it white you won't even need to paint it. I did a repair like this for a friend several years ago. I used Azek for the trim boards and Hardipanel for the field.

Materials wise your looking at around $50 per panel with the trim in Hardipanel and Hardi-trim. In Azek probably twice that. With all six I'd bet you're looking at a grand or so to get them fixed.

From the looks of it the rot isn't that bad yet, so it probably isn't into the structure just the visible rot you see now. It can wait until spring or summer to get repaired.

Years ago I lived in a townhouse in Northern VA that had these kind of panels on the end units and they completely rotted out in about 8 years. Keeping them caulked and painted helped but the design was bad and as with many production homes of the era the materials and building techniques left a lot to be desired.

I would not waste my time replacing it with like materials. Labor is a major cost component of this project and if you replace it with the same materials you'll be back at this again in less than 10 years. If you went with wood products I'd prime all the wood on all sides before I installed it.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.