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Old 07-31-2012, 04:56 PM   #1
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Rotted Exterior Wall Corner and Clapboard Siding Repair


Hello, I'm a newbie to DIY. I got in over my head by buying a large three-story Victorian house which hadn't been lived in for a long time. I cut back some vines to expose rotted clapboards in a structural corner. This is also from water damage from a broken drainspout pouring water onto and into the house. We've since moved the drainspout away from that corner. It seems to me there are three basic issues: bolstering structural integrity of the exterior walls in case some have rotted, clapboard replacement and end cap repair.

I'm going to try to do some of this myself for economic reasons, possibly the clapboard and endcap repair. A workman has looked at the inside and said two studs near the corner were rotted which he replaced by pushing in some new wood one stud at a time. We haven't jacked up the house.

Then there's the exterior clapboard repair. I don't even know the safest way to get up to access the hole in the clapboard over the porch roof. That's approximately the second floor level. Ladder? Scaffolding? I still wouldn't be close enough to do it without getting onto the porch roof I don't think. I wouldn't want to sit on that roof. Would you suggest reinforcing it with a lally column while I'm working up there?

I figure I'll buy the clapboards from a recycled construction materials supply place. I'll use the old clapboards as templates to cut to the new ones to the right length with a handsaw. I've read up on replacing clapboards. I'm sure the videos make it look easier than it is in reality. I was going to try to save some of the clapboards on the side of the house which just have their tips rotted by using End Rot.

Then I have to worry about making an end cap. I may have the name wrong, but I mean the brown trim where the two sides of the corner meet. It's gone on the bottom. Someone may have pulled it off investigating this corner and just left it to rot more. I'm not sure how to approach replacing an endcap. It's too high to replace the whole endcap. I don't have a 30 foot extension ladder. Where do you begin? Do you saw off the end cap and then glue a new one in place. What kind of adhesive is strong enough? Where does the foot of the end cap go? Do you just slide the clapboard ends under the end caps or does it need to be glued or caulked?

I'm just looking for general commentary and feedback about approaching this issue. This is my first DIY project and I'm only doing it out of financial necessity. If I have the structure evaluated that essentially blows the budge and I still have the hole to close. I had a workman working on the clapboard repair but he isn't making much progress. I feel I need a carpenter but they can be pricey. Also electricity isn't on in the home since copper thieves stole the electrical wires (and also the plumbing pipes).

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I'm a complete beginner. I know it was a bad move to buy this house but I'm in now. Thank you!
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Last edited by angejaune; 07-31-2012 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 07-31-2012, 05:42 PM   #2
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Rotted Exterior Wall Corner and Clapboard Siding Repair


You sure do have a money pit there, hope it was really cheap to buy.
No way to tell just how bad it is until all that rotted siding and outside corners are removed.
No clue why your thinking you have to go find some used clapboard, Lowes, HD and any local lumber yard will have it in stock or can order it for you.

Had the plumbing and electrical ever been up graded before it was stolen?

Did you even get a home inspection before buy this?

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Old 07-31-2012, 06:13 PM   #3
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Rotted Exterior Wall Corner and Clapboard Siding Repair


The short answer is you need to open up that corner to access the rotted framing.

Since new siding doesnít sound like itís in the plans you need to carefully remove what you have until you get back to good sheathing and all of the rotted sheathing is exposed.

Then remove all of the rotted sheathing until you get back to solid framing and all of the rotted framing is exposed.

At that point itís time to stop and evaluate the extent of the damage to the frame and develop a plan on how to proceeded.

Repairing that roof that you donít want to stand on will likely be part of the same project. Lack of maintenance of the roof probably is responsible for the damage you have now.

Depending where you live you'll likely need permits for this.
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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Rotted Exterior Wall Corner and Clapboard Siding Repair


Hi @joecaption. Yes! The money pit. The sad, stupid story: the way I got into this mess was that I was engaged to a man who really wanted that house and he had the skills to do the necessary rennovations. I used some savings and bought it out right and quickly with no formal inspection. It was priced below market, but even so I probably overpaid. Stupidity. This was the first house I ever bought.

Initially, he worked on it or supervised work on it. I wasn't all that involved because I trusted his expertise. From memory, we added a french drain and sump pump in the basement (to prevent dirt basement floods since it's on the bottom of a hill); upgraded the heating so that you can send heat to various rooms and not have to heat the whole house; put in a new fuse box and associated wiring; and added white pipes (either pex or pvc) in the bathroom wall. I don't know if the new pipes tie into the copper pipes, but I know copper thieves took the wiring and pipes. So I know the electricity doesn't work and am not sure if the plumbing circuit included the old copper or not. I distinctly remember that he showed me the toilet flushed and the sink worked but that was ages ago before the copper thieves.

He also tore up the bathroom and kitchen. Looking back on it, I shouldn't have let him tear up bits and pieces of the house. He also opened up that hole in the front of the house on the right. Perhaps he's the one that took the end cap off to look at it. The damage there was really caused by a drain pipe that was running into/onto the wood as well as the aggressive vines. As you can expect, the relationship ended and I am stuck with the house. Now that I'm on my own, I have been ill and in the meantime the house has gone further downhill. Recently, the city decided to go on a beautification stint in my neighborhood, so they are on my butt about the house now. I'm trying to fix it as best I can.

In terms of the siding, I guess I was thinking they were "special" antique siding clapboards that they don't make anymore. I didn't realize they still make wood ones in that same size. I'll ask at Lowes.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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Hi @Kwikfishron. Well there doesn't seem to be any sheathing to speak of in that wall. There is no plywood or OSB at all. The house was built in 1890 and it looks like it hasn't been touched much. We've taken down some walls and it went like this: old plaster then latham ties (those little sticks between studs I may have the name wrong) and that's about it.

The only insulation was newspapers in the ceiling. So on the exterior wall we've taken out the plaster and now you can see the daylight through the clapboards. I don't have the money for a big structural engineering project.

I was trying to look up people who do exterior wall reframing. It's easier said than done. Would that be a particular type of contractor? I need to close the front but also want to have the structure bolstered or at least reviewed. The workman I have said only two studs were rotted which he fixed.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
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Make friends at the best old fashioned limber yard in your area----there you will be able to order replacement siding---even made to order if necessary.

You should be able to get a referral to a skilled carpenter to help guide you and do the work you don't have time or skills to do---

KwikfishRon laid out the steps---Mike---
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Old 07-31-2012, 07:59 PM   #7
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Let's say we fix the structure and I find those exact clapboards at Lowes or somewhere. I manage to get them on the building myself. Then, how would I approach that end cap issue. The brown wood corner - end cap may not be the right term. It seems to be missing half way down the side of the building. Would I just cut it in the middle and put some new wood under it and paint it brown? Do you secure that with adhesive at the wood join points? What type of adhesive would be strong enough? Sorry for being dense about this but that's a big question for me. If the whole thing has to come off I don't think I'll be able to do that because I don't have an extension ladder and it's not rotted at the top as far as I can tell.
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:16 PM   #8
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Rotted Exterior Wall Corner and Clapboard Siding Repair


You can cut the corner cap above the rot---stagger the cuts so you don't have a seam on both boards in the same spot---

You may wish to buy a Multi- Tool---Harbor Freight has a good one --on sale for $40 to $50 dollars.

Make the cuts on an angle so water can not run down the board and seep in at the joint--

Use nails----then caulk----forget about adhesives---

Investing in a compressor and a finishing gun might be a good idea---always use galvanized nails for exterior work.

If Jiju1946 chimes in---pay attention--he has a great deal of experience with antique houses---along with many other members here----Mike---
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:27 PM   #9
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@Oh'Mike First of all, thank you so much for your advice on the corner cap and lumber yard. It clarified the cap approach for me.

Just to update this thread. I had one estimate on fixing the structure today. He mentioned replacing a beam and an endplate. I also know a few studs are bad. He gave me a number of $2,800 off the top of his head but nothing on paper.

There has got to be a way out of this that's cheaper for me so I can save that house. Nothing on the interior is sagging so things are still holding inside. I came across this site for epoxies. It claims to be stronger than the original wood. They look like they are doing beams and major structural elements. What do you guys think and can you recommend an epoxy? This one is called CPES. http://www.rotdoctor.com/house/Houtd...l#beamandjoist

Do you guys recommend another maker? Could this be a prayer answered? It's pricey but in the hundreds not thousands. Will it pass the inspection?

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Old 08-01-2012, 08:31 PM   #10
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Forgot to ask. I keep hearing about sistering wood. Is it possible to sister a beam and would that be cheaper than just replacing it?
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Old 08-01-2012, 08:49 PM   #11
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The epoxies have their uses---but the process is slow and expensive--so save that for decorative items and other places where replacing the original wood is more work than the time spent patching,

Sure--beams can be 'sistered'---need to see the original and the posts to guess whether it's the best way--
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:15 PM   #12
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Whoa, it sounds you are short on both knowledge and funds. Are you sure the city is not on more of a condemnation kick than a beautification one?

If you were my sister I would tell you to run as far away from that house as possible even if you default on the mortgage. It is a nightmare and from what you describe it is going to take thousands just to get it habitable. [no wiring!!]. I really hope if you persist my thoughts don't materialize.


CPES epoxy for repairing rotted wood works fine but have you checked its price? Minwax wood hardener works fine, is much more economical to use for a job like yours but is getting hard to find. I would be replacing those boards where possible. For end gluing of boards I have found Gorrilla glue to work great. It acts like expanding foam, fills small gaps and is waterproof.

Still I would cut those pieces of siding that are rotted off at a stud at the first place they become solid and put in a new piece.

As far as the end caps I have replaced sections where the bottom is rotted. I usually make a 45 degree cut on the house section and match it with same cut on new board. Again Gorrilla Glue at the joint when renailing.

You are either going to the looney bin with this project house or will become a master carpenter the hard way. I wish you luck because you will need a lot of it.

Last edited by oh'mike; 08-01-2012 at 09:59 PM. Reason: added spaces for easy reading
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Old 08-01-2012, 09:40 PM   #13
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With a large project like this and limited funds, you need to set priorities on what gets fixed first and when. From the initial description, it sounds like you had work going on all over the place.

I would suggest concentrating on all the structural issues (ie your corner issue) quickly followed by the enclosure. Once you know the place will stay standing and not rain on the inside, get some insulation in the attic and walls so you can afford to heat it.

After that, put together a plan on how you want to finish off the inside. As much as you might want to dive in and redo a kitchen, I would suggest waiting until late in the game because kitchens take a lot of $.

Good luck - don't get discouraged.

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Last edited by oh'mike; 08-01-2012 at 10:00 PM. Reason: spaces
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