I believe that I have what is called "dry rot"(?) on some areas on the exterior of my home--especially on the unprotected south side where the sun bakes the wood siding all day. Before I paint, what should I do with these areas?
Typical areas are around nails. The wood my be rotted out about a 1/4" high and up to 2" long. The previous home owner or hired painter simply painted over these areas and did not fill them in or repair them in any way. There are a few places where paint has worn off the dry rot and the wood is exposed, but not in too many areas.
It also looks as if at one time, the paint job was put off too long. In some areas, again mostly on the south side, areas have an "etched" look, as if the siding had been exposed to sun and rain for some time before being painted. Is there anything I can apply to even out the surface? This is probably only a cosmetic thing, but I'd like to do all of this right.
If you have wood siding that is actually rotted that badly around the nails, then that siding probably needs to be replaced.
Painting over rotted exterior siding will not protect the framing and structural integrity of your home. It would be a false economy.
Have you considered putting vinyl or aluminum siding over it?
You may want to have a reputable contractor or two (get and check references) look at it and give your their opinion,