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Walls, Windows, Roof: Which Exterior Repair Should We Tackle First?

12/2/21 5:08 PM Christina Wilson

Few homeowners can afford to do all exterior repairs necessary at the same time, so they must prioritize projects according to their budget and time. What project can wait a little while, what can't wait long, and what needs to be done ASAP can be hard to know when comparing repairs for your exterior walls, windows, and roof.

We're going to focus on walls, windows, and roofs, all of which constitute the "shell" of the building because one rule of thumb is, "Seal the Shell!" This refers to prioritizing leaks due to rot, moisture, or structural damage. Your decisions may depend on details unique to your situation, such as what exact repairs need to be done, the cost, and what jobs rely on the timing of other jobs from a structural or seasonal perspective.  

Exterior Wall Repair

Assuming yours is an older home with a brick exterior, there are a few different types of wall repairs that can result from deferred maintenance:

  • Cosmetic – Painting or washing an exterior brick wall is typically seen as seasonal or annual maintenance. These treatments may be of cosmetic benefit; however, they also provide a certain amount of protection. If there are structural or moisture penetration problems, it would be best to address those before you turn to the (fun) cosmetic fixes.

  • Mortar Replacement aka Tuckpointing - Often, in the process of prepping a brick wall for painting, it becomes obvious that the old mortar has deteriorated enough to require tuckpointing. That is the removal and replacement of old mortar with a new, historically correct mix that will last for decades. Tuckpointing is often the best solution for repairing, restoring and preserving an exterior brick facade.
  • Brick replacement – Replacing missing, cracked, broken, chipped, or spalling bricks should not be put off for very long. The outer brick wall protects the structure, and the wall's integrity should not allow further water or other weather damage to avoid becoming more costly to repair over time. 
  • Structural Damage – Damage to wall sections that require repair to a frame or inner structure must usually be repaired as soon as possible. Safety is the main concern with structural damage. Bulging brick sections, broken or deteriorating framing and load-bearing walls present a dangerous situation.

Window Repair

Windows on the outside of a historic brick exterior are typically made from wood and single-paned glass. Types of repairs for these windows:

  • Painting – Trims around a wood window and frame should not be left worn or stripped for long.  Besides being an eyesore, it's important to protect from future damage to the wooden structure of the windows and surrounding areas and even the brick it's installed into. 
  • Replacing or reframing – Make sure any brick wall section holding the window to be repaired or replaced is in good repair to prevent future structural damage to the window or the wall. For example, repairing the wall after a window install could require removing or repairing the same window again. 
  • Less expense – Properly sealed and functioning windows can save energy costs for AC and heating. What season are you planning to replace or repair the window? How many do you have to repair, and at what cost?

Roof Repair

Pay attention to roof layers and the condition of the shingles or flat roofing material to assess when you'll need a new roof and plan accordingly. If your roof is damaged and actively leaking, you cannot wait to get it repaired. Waiting to repair your roof risks water damage to every other part of the home, exterior and interior. This potential damage not only risks more repair costs but future home safety. 

Considerations in balancing the safety of the building, whether it's occupied during a repair, and making sure all design changes fit requirements can each further affect what gets fixed first and what can wait. Choosing the appropriate order of priority for repairs can prevent your budget from running out before the critical jobs are done. If you're unsure what projects should be done first, Renaissance Development can help guide you. Contact us today for your free consultation.


 

Categories: Repair, Restoration, Renovation, Water damage

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