LESLIE: Hey, we’ve got Ralph calling from Long Island, New York which is where I live. Ralph, how can we help you?
RALPH: I built a house in 2001 and we did it [custom to instruction] (ph). And a couple of years ago I started to notice the trim wood around the posts of – we put the wraparound porch with a deck in the back and I wanted all the white – I used all natural materials. I didn’t want to use any plastic or anything like that. I started to notice some fungus on it. Bottom line, it has progressed and the wood is rotting out. And then, as I started looking further around where they would box out the structure …
RALPH: … of the (inaudible), down at the bottom it was starting to absorb water. It was starting to rot out. And as I looked closer, almost all of the fascia around the house – and it’s a 4,400-square-foot house; two stories. And it’s all rotting out.
Now, I called the builder up and the builder said that he bought – it was a premium product that came out and it was from Canada and it was pre-primed. And we paid a premium dollar for it. It would have been less expensive to buy the standard issue. And we had the company come down; they sent somebody down. And naturally, the company said that it was not installed properly. So now I’m stuck between the builder and the company.
TOM: First of all, it’s a 2001 house and it has a wood fascia? Is that correct? It’s wood?
RALPH: That is correct, yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, it’s wood and this is, you know, 2007. So it’s lasted six years or five to six years. Wood is going to only last maybe six to eight years when it’s properly painted before it needs to be repainted and it’s going to start to rot.
RALPH: I painted it two years after the construction. I was told that where there was a cedar – cedar doesn’t hold paint well because the oils come out. They said, “You need a paint job.” I painted the whole trim two years later.
TOM: Why do they – how do they say that it’s installed wrong?
RALPH: I think they said that it – the company said that if they didn’t, I guess, paint or seal the ends …
TOM: I think you’re going to have a really hard time convincing …
TOM: … anybody that this wasn’t installed correctly because it wasn’t painted properly. I mean wood rots. That’s why we don’t use wood too often. And even if you use the best wood available, it’s still not nearly as good as some of the synthetic materials. For example, there is an extruded PVC product that’s called AZEK – A-Z-E-K. I had a garage that was being absolutely ravaged by carpenter bees. And after we treated the bees we replaced all of the damaged wood with AZEK, which looks just like painted, primed wood fascia. And it was interesting. When the bees came back the next year, they sort of hovered around it but they couldn’t drill into it. There’s nobody can tell that that’s not real wood the way it looks because it looks just like it.
LESLIE: Because they’re even grained to look just like real wood grain.
TOM: Yeah, you’re not going to convince anybody that your wood is bad because it’s rotted after five years. I’m sorry. It’s just not going to happen.
So, in this case, what I would tell you to do is rather than repaint it again, to replace it with a better quality material; one of these high-tech materials that’s just not going to rot because it’s not wood. If it’s wood it’s organic, it’s exposed to water; especially on a fascia. You know, your gutters get wet; they back up a little bit. The water drips off the roof. Fascia is subject to rapid rotting. It’s just not going to change.
You’re not going to change nature. So you’re not going to convince somebody that you’ve got a claim against the manufacturer, you’ve got a claim against the builder. You know, this is what happens to wood. It rots. I would recommend not using wood fascia. I would recommend using – you know, you could use hardy plank or you could use AZEK. But use something besides wood if you want it to last a long time.
RALPH: Great advice. And even though I wanted nothing but natural products, this is a time when maybe that’s not the best.
TOM: Nature can wear out in this case.
Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.