How do you mitigate dry rot?

How do you mitigate dry rot on your HOA/CID property?

Weird, musty smells on your property can be an indication of dry rot.

When it comes to mitigating dry rot, many property managers try to find the cheapest fix possible, especially when budgets have been approved for the year. However, one of the most important aspects of dry rot mitigation is staying on top of the problem because a little money spent in the present will save a lot of money in the future.
 
There are two types of rot: wet rot and dry rot. Both are a fungus caused by excess moisture and treated in similar ways.
 
Dry rot is the most severe fungal decay in the timber on your property because it destroys the timber’s strength. Most properties will have it at some point; it’s just a matter of time when the beams and wood structures will need to be replaced.
 
Building maintenance is key to mitigating dry rot. Annual site inspections of properties and maintaining maintenance schedules on building components and substrates will extend the life of the building envelope to minimize unforeseen costs.
 
Sometimes you can mitigate the dry or wet rot problem with a fungicide if caught in its early stages. If the area has large amounts of damage or has become unsafe, it is best to replace the decaying wood for your residents’ safety and the long-term maintenance of your property. Sometimes we can replace a portion of the rotten beam (or other pieces of timber) and save the client money instead of replacing the entire component.
 
How to mitigate dry and wet rot on your property:
  1. Repaint your property every 5-10 years.
  2. Caulk/recaulk seams on your property every year or at least inspect areas that may need it.
  3. Contact our team to get a free, no-obligation site inspection.
 
If you are looking for a contractor with dry or wet rot experience, let’s set us a Zoom call discussion and get your project on the books for 2021!

Home for the Holidays

Home for the Holidays

Bring on the memories, sweet treats, and family time.

Christmas caroling, cookie decorating, tree hunting … these are among my favorite Christmas activities with my family.

I never knew just how special Christmas was until I changed my zip code and time zone from where I was raised. When the holidays rolled around, I yearned to be with family or close friends, doing holiday activities. Even though I have never spent a Christmas away from home, I know the excitement built around the opportunity to depart from one place and truly be home for the holidays.

Every year my family assembles a list of neighbors who are elderly, widowed, or new to the area. Once we create our map of neighbors, we tune up our voices, practice a few carols, and hit the road in hopes of brightening someone else’s holiday season. I won’t lie, we are not a perfect choir by any means, and thankfully most of the people we visit have had decades worth of birthdays and can’t hear us well anyway. Bad singing or not, we thoroughly enjoy getting together and watching our neighbors’ faces light up with pure joy when we visit.

Before Christmas, we usually set a date in the kitchen as a family. Gingerbread cookies, chocolate turtles, peppermint bark, and popcorn balls are a few of the staple desserts a few of us make together. However, we usually bake up more memories than actual desserts. Oftentimes it’s a messy project, but it’s one that 2, 3, or  4 generations get to bond over, giggle, and reminisce past memories. The girls usually bake the goodies, but we do make our brothers and dads press the popcorn balls together and they enjoy that part. That is all they are allowed to do because if we let them hang around too long, there are no goodies left for Christmas. 

Sweet holiday treats are best enjoyed on the road to hunt down the perfect Christmas tree, in my opinion. Tree hunting was a concept I had to warm my husband up to a few years ago. He is from the midwest where they all have beautiful, fake trees that can be put up for 4-6 weeks. Where I come from, if you don’t have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree in your house – you are doing it wrong and missing out. We spend up to a few hours “hunting” for the perfect tree, or trees, for my family all while throwing snowballs and telling stories. Sometimes the trees need a little trimming when we finally get them to the house because they are too tall, too fat, or the trunk won’t quite fit in the stand. After a little work here and there, the tree is decorated with traditional ornaments and the smell of fresh Pine fills the house.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays, the stress of 2020, work obligations, and preparation for 2021 can become overwhelming. It’s been a year. But, don’t let those things steal your joy next week. 

Whether you are home for the holidays this year, or away due to the unfriendly “Rona”, I hope you enjoy the reason for the season and take time to make a few memories with whoever you are with. 

Merry Christmas!

– Alyx, B. Taylor Painting Marketing Specialist

Tree hunting with the family in 2018.
Holiday fun on the family farm in 2017.
My sister and I snowmobiling at my grandparents house in Eastern Washington.

What is Dry Rot?

What is dry rot?

The termites are gone, but what about the holes we can't see?

Dry rot is a species of wood fungus (aka dead, rotting wood) that usually affects wood in the forests; however, it can be an issue with structural buildings composed of wood. Moisture and excess air, as well as airborne wood fungus cause the wood components to begin rotting. As the fungus eats the cell walls of the wood, it leaves the outer edges easily breakable and dry. 

The fungus can come in two variations. One form is where the decayed areas are brown in color and the wood easily crumbles. The other form is where the wood is a muted yellow color and almost feels like a sponge.
 
There are minor repairs and remedies for dry rot, but when it comes to your property and the safety of your residents, it is most common practice to monitor any areas impacted by dry rot and repair them when safety and structural integrity becomes an area of concern.
 
If we are able to inspect areas in question and monitor them annually, we can help our clients budget for the repairs and advise when the repairs need to happen. 
 
Even though you cannot fully prevent dry rot, you can take preventative maintenance actions to help reduce the damage and costly repairs down the road.
 

Five dry rot tips from our team:

  1. Get an annual inspection from ground level
  2. Check balconies and decks whenever you have access
  3. Caulk (correct material and application) any seams or joints in woodwork will help prevent water intrusion
  4. Seal the caulking with the correct paint 
  5. Your tenants will alert you and they may not even know it. Keywords to look for are “Weird smells”, “Musty”, “Squeaky”, “Shaky”.
 
Next week we will go in depth on how to mitigate dry rot and what that looks like.

Coatings, Caulkings, and Regular Maintenance​

Coatings, Caulkings, and Regular Maintenance

“Your buildings look good as new!”

This is a statement you want to hear from everyone who walks your property and it can be accomplished with annual maintenance procedures to ensure the newest look possible prior to needing a complete repaint. 
 

PAINTS AND COATINGS

  • Paint: “Protect and Beautify” Paint is film-forming and will temporarily seal the substrate that it’s applied to. It will aesthetically change the substrate to make it more vibrant, cleaner and appear newer. 
  • Coating: “Paint with Performance” These are paints with a specific purpose. The purpose depends on the system used and includes: elasticity, water proofing, water shedding, rust and corrosion containment, high adhesion, durability and color retention through a catalytic reaction. 
Protecting your property begins with a good paint or coating film. Cementitious and wood substrates are highly porous and will absorb water like a sponge, unless properly sealed with a paint or coating. Ferrous metals will naturally react with the environment, flash rust and scale unless properly sealed. If there is a lack of attention, it could lead to dry rot, wood rot, and structural issues that will be exponentially more costly than regularly coating your property.
 

CAULKINGS

Caulking and re-caulking the seams and joints on your property is a critical preventative maintenance step. Caulking is a sealant and provides elasticity for your structures to aid in the contraction of heat and cool temperatures. It will inhibit water intrusion at susceptible areas, preventing the formation of dry or wood rot. 
 
We recommend caulking or re-caulking every 3-5 years, or whenever you paint your buildings. 
 

REGULAR MAINTENANCE

Regular maintenance includes assessing the surfaces to find any damages or weathering of materials. We recommend power washing to get the dirt and grime away from the surfaces and give your property the instant “new” look. Power washing at least once a year is best, twice is great. 
 
Small, damaged areas can simply be touched up, others may need to be replaced or completely repainted. If you keep up on your regular maintenance, you will save money in the long-run.
 
In an effort to minimize costs, it’s a best practice to assess every area of the building and property where there is paint or surface coatings. Your assessments should be done on schedule every year, and we suggest having a professional look at them, as they will know what to inspect and can make an appropriate timeline for repairs.
 
With this being said, we do suggest to set an emphasis on the exterior, as that is what is seen the most by visitors and receives the most weathering.

Communication as a Community Manager

Effective communication within your HOA community is critical.

How do you relay important messages to your HOA members and board members throughout the year?

Although our team does not manage HOA communities, we work with Community managers every day and have made it our mission to SERVE them through our commercial painting and reconstruction services. As with any company, internal and external communication is critical. It is only effective if the news is timely and valuable to the reader as well.

Here are four tips we have for you to integrate into your community management communication strategy.

1. EMAIL CAMPAIGNS: Utilize an email campaign platform of your liking and one that fits your budget. Our team loves to use Constant Contact, however you may prefer Mail Chimp or have one offered to you through your website. Email campaigns are a quick and simple way to get branded information out to an entire contact list in a matter of minutes. You can send a large blast or pick a smaller group of people to target. You may also find their templates easy to use and their analytics handy for quarterly data reports. Most email campaign systems provide analytics to the administrator which include open rates, bounces, button clicks, and more. We use these campaigns to send updates on projects to our clients and as an aid for internal communication as well. This is where we store our master contact list and keep all clients’ information up-to-date.

2. GOOGLE: Do you request Google Reviews? We strongly suggest making sure your Google page is set up with current information, hours, and photos. Once you have control of the backend of your Google page, you can respond to reviews too! Responding to reviews shows your homeowners, contractors, and board members you care and acknowledge their concerns or positive feedback. Google is an excellent tool to help track your website data, phone calls, and more.

3. CANVA: Have you ever needed to share important information and do not have time to send it to a graphic designer? For those needing to promptly get information out to HOA members or post flyers around the community for local events, use Canva! This is an online resource that is FREE to use for basic designs. You will find templates, colors, sizes for all formats of content, and more. Within minutes you can have a newsletter, flyer, or social media post created with branded content and a clear message. You can also create presentations with it for board meetings, open houses, and more. From Canva, you can download, print, or post the design straight to your social media page.

4. RESPOND: How quick are you at responding to messages, especially the ones that come through on social media? We understand you are busy and time is everything. Responding to emails, texts, and others can be the bane of your existence some days – we get it. However, we encourage you to utilize Facebook’s automatic response on Messenger and leave your guests a friendly message, directing them to your website or phone number. This may help alleviate some of your messaging issues and make your residents feel valued in a timely manner, without putting pressure on you to respond on all platforms.

This current season of COVID has proven how challenging and important communication truly is. For our team, we have used all avenues to stay in touch with clients, subcontractors, team members, and industry friends.

We would love to know what tips you have for effective communication in your community. Let us know if you already use these resources and share what works and does not work for you.