External Joinery Issues

Ready for Spring? Chartered Surveyor James Bush takes a look at exterior joinery.


With the evenings becoming lighter and Spring here the warmer weather will begin to allow external redecoration to begin again and so its worth having a look at how your external timberwork has fared over the winter months.

If joinery and external surfaces are to be kept sound, then periodic repair and redecoration will be necessary as part of a normal cycle of maintenance. As a general rule, the external elements of a building should be redecorated every five years with those areas that are south facing and so likely to receive the sunlight for the main part of the day and the driving rain from the south-west requiring more regular attention.

If the paintwork to windows, fascias, gable boards etc. is substantially worn and flaking then wet rot is likely to be setting in and repairs will be needed before the first application of a paint brush. Wet rot is a term given to a group of fungi that feed on and rot timber. To germinate and grow, the spores of these fungi need the timber to have a high moisture content. Therefore, these rots frequently affect timber that is either persistently damp or repeatedly wetted such as poorly maintained external joinery.

Minor damage can be treated by applying a proprietary wood hardener. Larger areas of decay will need to be cut out and back to good, sound wood and a proprietary wood hardener and filler used to repair the damage. Timbers that have suffered substantial decay will need to be replaced. All such new replacement timbers will need to be pre-treated with preservative.

Don’t overlook gaps and holes at the eaves either as these can allow pests to enter the roof space and so should also be filled. Depending on the age of the property, lead paint may have been used in the past. When this peels and flakes it can be harmful, particularly to pregnant women and children. If discovered, then it should be removed carefully and with all suitable precautionary measures taken.

All areas requiring redecoration will need thorough preparation before being painted by sanding using reducing grades of sandpaper. Thereafter new paintwork will need to include two undercoats and a finishing coat of hard gloss suitable for exterior use.

If you are concerned about the state of your external joinery then contact Woodward Chartered Surveyors to arrange an inspection.

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