Tall Chimney, Thorough Wood Rot Repair — Adventures of a Schloegel Handyman

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Last updated on September 21, 2023

If you’ve ever had wood rot repair done on your home, you probably know it can turn into a bigger project than anticipated. Some trim, caulking, and paint can conceal a lot of problems below the surface. When our Handyman Salesperson Troy Stout gave a bid to ensure the weatherproofing of this chimney, it didn’t seem to be seriously compromised.



One might have noticed a few spots on the chimney that looked suspect, but nothing was glaringly concerning. Only the siding between the chimney and the window was in obvious need of repair.


A spot of rot on the trim piece ending across from the gutter.


Another suspicious-looking trim piece.


Siding in the corner requiring replacement.


The can of worms

As soon as we started pulling off pieces, we knew this would require more than replacing a few sticks of trim.



The siding below the trim we’d removed was rotting at every edge. The more pieces we removed, the more rotting siding we uncovered. After stripping most of the trim on the chimney, we identified five sheets of siding requiring replacement.



Upon further inspecting the trim around the window, we discovered the window, too, needed more than a trim replacement. Rot had gone behind the brick molding and started consuming the wooden window itself. We became concerned that pulling the trim would compromise the window too much to re-attach new trim, leaving an opening that would be difficult to seal.



Current supply-chain issues make window orders a six-month ordeal. In light of this, we sealed the siding next to the window with an overlaid piece of siding and the window trim with durable urethane sealant. Troy came back out to take look at the window, scheduled a Marvin Windows rep through KC Millwork to take measurements, and placed the order for a new metal window.


The fix

With a hammer and pry bar, we pulled the trim off the affected sections of siding. At this point, the chimney was noticeably less stable, swaying as the person on the ladder heaved and ho’ed.



To avoid further compromising the chimney’s structure, we removed the siding one section at a time. Willing to brave the shaky heights, John Burgess and I extracted every nail with a cat’s claw and a hammer. We pulled a sheet, threw it to the ground for Judd and Chris Bradley to use as a template, and attached the new piece they handed us.



After replacing the five sheets, we installed drip-edge on the bottoms of the sheets and trim on the other three sides. Then we caulked every seam, nail hole, and porous edge and sealed it all with a generous application of Sherwin’s superb Duration paint.



Avoid future rot

Wood, like any organic material, can be an all-you-can-eat buffet for fungi. The walls of its cells are comprised of three different fibers: cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. Different species of fungi can eat any one of these three structural components, leaving the wood to decompose into blocks or strands, depending on the type(s) of rot.



Conditions must be favorable for a fungus to set up shop, however. For most species, the temperature must be around seventy degrees for the spores to take hold. In all cases, the wood must have a high moisture content for an extended period of time.


With proper water shed, sealing, and maintenance, wood rot can be almost entirely avoided. For this reason, we take great care to ensure metal flashing is properly installed, all seams and nail holes are caulked, and a heavy layer of paint is applied over the whole surface.



The right choice for wood rot repair

We have no desire to be back on that chimney in three years to do the same work. Many contractors find ways to cut corners to knock a few hours off a job, but those few hours knock years off the longevity of their work. We at Schloegel strive to deliver exceptional service and perform our duties with integrity. You can rest easy that your leak, wall crack, or wood rot is thoroughly repaired and that future issues are allayed for years to come.