Wood rot on recently purchased SFH invesment - KCMO

39 Replies

@Melissa Robbins

I asked my husband to chime in because he has a particular amount of experience in this area.

We live in downtown Orlando, in a historic neighborhood, and have personally rehabbed/renovated several historic homes with wood siding ourselves. Of course you will have to keep in mind climate differences, however, the theories behind different alternatives should apply regardless of the climate. Hope the below helps!

In our area, which is a wet humid climate, runoff from the roof causes damage if you don’t have gutters so I completely understand that point you made. From my experience, I have removed the bottom 3 feet of siding several times, and redone both the sheathing, which Gets updated to plywood, and novelty siding on top of it. Many wood framed Historic homes with wood siding may not have sheathing which actually allows For a couple of alternatives. If it’s not overlapping siding, and it is flat shiplap style novelty siding, use the siding as sheeting and potentially go over it with a couple of layers of building science That apply to your climate

In our area, the vapor barrier goes on the warm side, which is our exterior, so as I remove the bottom few feet of siding all the way around the building, I replace with plywood, then I cover the entire house with vapor barrier, do flashing around the windows correctly by removing the trim, and then I come back over top of it with hardy board.

If your siding is overlapping, it will make this difficult, but you wouldn’t necessarily add a vapor barrier to the outside of your house with your climate. Most lumberyards have the type of siding you’re looking for, and I highly encourage you figure out how high up the wood rot goes. Some other alternatives that may exist in your climate would be furring the exterior shell out, Adding a continuous Rockwool insulation shell, and then creating another layer of exterior siding. Having wood siding allows for vapor transfer so theoretically you can do what I’m saying, but it’s not the most cost effective.You would also have to consider what insulation and vapor barrier’s already exist.

My last thought would be to try to figure out how soft some of the framing got behind the wood rot. Last thing you want us to create a hard shell around soft framing so if you have to replace framing, better to do this all at once. Hopefully you don’t have a problem around the entire house, which I have had before, and my only regret was not peeling it away all at once to manage.

I’m happy to help talk through this stuff with you if you need to speak with somebody on the phone that can at least help you think through your choices. Follow the building signs whatever you do


@Melissa Robbins - I just bought a 4plex in that area and wood rot appears to be the problem for me as well. I think KC area gets a decent amount of rain. I did know about the problem and have a budget to address exterior reno. I went with Mission Painting after getting several bids from 9k to 25k. Mission is not the cheapest but also not the most expensive. Try getting a quote from them. Good luck!

@Mo Karim - Thanks Mo. They do get rain and I'm learning more about their climate and how it differs from where I live in Denver where it's much drier. Due to the moisture, moss grows easily on the north side of structures and many homes need sub pumps to keep basements from flooding.  Thanks for the referral. I will check them out!

@David Song T-11 is plywood. The Masonite type siding OP has is called, I believe, hardboard. The replacement material, smartside, etc is resin impregnated and quite durable. The older hardboard is still holding up/performing in drier climates when installation was good, eg no nails overdriven and z flashing used where needed, and it was kept caulked and painted, including the seams, window trim and paint on the lower exposed edges and it was installed a distance from the ground. The lack of gutters and the short roof overhangs don't help. No doubt it was a poor product and newer, better materials are available today. Looks like OP has a poorly done repair to a product that easily deteriorates when not properly installed or maintained. As siding mainly protects the house framing, it is pretty important to identify where water can penetrate the building envelope and repair it sooner rather than later. Sometimes caulk, patching material and paint will allow you to kick the can down the road, but not if it is flashed wrong. You have to keep water out.

I didn't read all the comments, so if this was asked, ignore it. You said you had an inspection. Was that a home inspector or pest inspector? If you haven't had a pest inspection, you need to. It's not a cosmetic problem you are dealing with, it could have possible pest infestation which will only get worse and much more costly. Putting off dealing with these types of issues are deferred maintenance, and small problems can become big problems. 

@Karen Margrave - Hi Karen. Good question. I had both pest and home inspections completed by different companies. There were signs of termites in some old wood in a pile in the back and I had a treatment completed.  I hadn't there could be a connection so I will keep this in mind when getting those bids. 

@Melissa Robbins , I’m not sure if you’ve notified the seller about this new finding. Some sellers are reasonable and can support you in this unexpected situation. Please don’t give up on this problem because it may never happen again after fixing the issue. Real estate investment is a long-term investment and you have to consider where you are going to be in 5 or 10 years from now. I bought two turnkey properties in 2020 from Bridge Turnkey in KCMO area and l had to spend $7,000 on one of the properties earlier this year to fix a sewage issue, even though the property was covered by their one year warranty. It took me some time to get back on my feet. In short, you’ll always be a winner in any real estate transaction if you are honest and treat people fairly.

@David Nutakor - Thanks for the note of encouragement. Much appreciated!  It's frustrating because I wasn't expecting a cost this high with only 8 months after ownership. It's a cute house, in a nice suburb, with good schools, and job growth so I want it to be a long-term hold.  I have not notified the seller yet. But I may, depending on the findings. The person who did the inspection passed away suddenly and the disclosure does indicate the seller was aware. So it's on me.   

Hi Melissa,

I can answer those questions but wood rot you need facetime me and let me see it live. Gutters are key prices sounds very high not sure why. BUt we rehab all the time and jack house up and re frame and soup to nuts. U can my office and I'll try to help you NP. My office NYC but properties in 3 different states. Bottom line call I'll try give u some tips point you to the proper game plan GMP...

@Melissa Robbins

Hey I'm late to the party but this was an interesting thread to me. I own a few SFR and have helped a lot of investors purchase. I've seen plenty of wood siding and exteriors and it's not like super bad think or worse than any other material per se. Fun fact: a fresh coat of exterior paint every ~ 5 years can help reduce the odds of total replacement of product in that section.

I also am not sure that everyone is so quick to replace this. Wood is going to be constantly exposed to the elements… unless I’m missing something what I saw in your photos doesn’t look that bad. In my personal opinion

One property we just sold had a large amount of wood siding getting replaced. I watched them get it done in one day.

I think $15,000 is too high of a bid. I’m 4 hours south of KCMO. I’d think our markets are mostly apples to apples. This is probably north of $1000 but south of $10,000 IMO. Maybe south of $5000. Not sure as I don’t claim to have read the entire thread.

I’d suggest always getting 3-4-5 bids until you find the specific person who gets your business. And even then I’d vet that person well beyond simply their cost.

Just hoping to be helpful. Best wishes and good luck.

@Shane Siederman Thank you for the offer. I've got a list of vendors to call today and am hoping to have this narrowed down soon. I'll send you a connection request and we can stay in touch. The kindness and willingness to help from everyone on BP is wonderful!

@Nate Sanow - Good to know someone with an idea on costs for the area. My original bid of $15K includes 10 sheets of 4x9 siding and tons of trim, paint, and labor. Some pics you have to zoom in on to see the water damage bubbling up behind the wall. However, I am sure many of you have seen much worse.  It could be the high cost of materials now due to supply chain challenges. All three of my rentals are wood siding so I can see how I will need to budget as you suggest. I'll stagger them each year so I hopefully won't have to do more than one in a 12-month time frame.  Appreciate your comments!

Yeah that’s fair, but I just think there are also contractors who are really milking the supply chain issues.  There are some inflations in material costs and difficulty getting products, but, that doesn’t mean labor costs should triple just because someone thinks they can charge you whatever they want.