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. 


  • 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.


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 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.

A Sprinkle of Misunderstandings

When was the last time you let a sprinkle of rain get in the way of a big project? 

A common scenario regarding project proposals is similar to the following:

B. Taylor Account Manager: “Good morning, I am following up to see how the board meeting went the other day. Did the project get awarded? Were there any questions regarding the proposal? When can we start?”

Client: “Hey, Thanks for calling and following up. No, unfortunately, the painting project didn’t get signed or awarded because the board felt that the rainy season was upon us, and they decided to wait until next year!”

After a phone call as such, we hang up and ask ourselves why the board waited until quarter 1 of the new year to sign a paint project? When they could have signed it in quarter 4, it leaves us a bit perplexed. 

Our confusion stems from the simple fact that it takes (sometimes) months’ worth of time for us to prepare the project. Plus, we are able to paint in the wet months, especially interior projects. We work around the weather to complete exterior paintings as well. 

A timely signed contract allows us to get it scheduled, prepare pre-production paperwork and our workforce. Projects added to the calendar of future work are the ones with signed contracts.

As a team, we keep everyone posted on future jobs. The labor force enjoys knowing what projects they are slated for next, just as much as leadership loves planning each project. We believe it is best to be fair to our team members in the field by offering them a peace of mind in regards to their workload and stability of their job, as they have families to support. 

During the wet months, if our clients procrastinate in the process of getting contracts signed, there is no guarantee there will be a workforce immediately ready to beautify their neighborhood. This is a key reason contacts need to be signed months in advance. 

Our leadership team is best equipped and prepared to exceed client expectations when we can schedule projects and plan each one appropriately with ample time. At the very least, when a project gets signed a couple of quarters ahead of time, you are allowing the contractor to order some material, mockup the property, and get the right paint and paint colors on the wall. 

Business partners, do everyone a favor and make plans now to sign contracts in quarters 3 and 4 this year for all your contractors in 2021. 


Your Money Matters

Have you started planning your next project?

After being in the industry for 20 years, we have had the opportunity to answer several questions. However, when it comes to budgets, these two questions come up often during the budget planning season.

“When is the right time to start planning my project budget?”

Depending on your company’s reserve processes, keep up to date with possible or impending costs of work is key to a streamlined and successful year. So, when is the right time? Now, there’s no harm in being prepared.

“How do I go about planning a budget if I don’t know what to expect? Who can I work with to help plan my budget?”

Planning your budget starts with knowing your business partners; a good business partner provides clear and complete information to you regardless of the type or size of any given project. The SERVICE that the business partner offers is key to knowing what to expect. A trades professional will be able to honestly tell you what they think is imminent and what can wait, will provide a clear scope of work and a fair cost for the project.

Some things to keep in mind when planning your budgets:

  • Timing is key! Leave ample time to thoroughly assess your budgets.
  • Determine your scope of work, or have a general idea. We will help with the rest.
  • Site maps are much appreciated, but not necessary.
  • How soon do you think this work will happen? We’ll need to make reasonable assumptions regarding labor and material costs if its several years out.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help. We love helping clients build bids for projects.

Our team offers budgeting assistance, which mainly happens from April – June. If we can help you, please let our team know here!

Lasting Industry Relationships

Known, understood, believed in, pursued … we all want these feelings in relationships, platonic or not. Our construction industry is no different.

We currently operate in a fast-paced, dollar-driven world. Subcontractors are afraid to work with us because they have been burned by other General Contractors who have fallen to the bottom line: price on a proposal. Subcontractors have lost faith and integrity in the service industry. This is why we are different. As a General Contractor, it is our goal to make our clients feel understood and valued.
To accomplish this goal and create relationships to stand the test of time, we view each client as a new relationship, not the next piece to our portfolio. We aim to build trust and understanding as a solid foundation through our integrity.  Our clients are now friends and family to the Freestone Team. We want to know them, their background, family, and THEN their business. Understanding how a person operates, their personal goals and visions for their life and business, help us know how to approach each conversation and assist them in the future.
Food for thought …
What do you do to build lasting relationships and show the integrity of your company to clients?
Do you take the client out to eat or drop by and visit during the off-season?
What shows your investment into each client?
Do you have a marketing and advertising strategy you spend a significant budget on for clients who won’t stay long?
Our integrity is not based on the price of a proposal. We have found our investment in clients through our communication and leadership style pays off over time.  At B. Taylor and Freestone Reconstruction, we have a low marketing and advertising budget for our clients and prospective clients. Our client base is built from reputation, core values, and integrity.
Simply put, we help people who need a great service.