Unprotected Wood Members- huh?
In the world of wood-destroying insects, unpainted and unprimed wood is a no-no. In our world, wood members that are exposed to the elements are likely to have a much shorter lifespan than those same wood members that have been primed, painted or sealed. Wood members vary in density and porousness from one type to the next- for example, exterior it is recommended that redwood is used for exterior structures that are not going to be painted or sealed. There are a variety of reasons that this is true, many people think that its because redwood is very visually appealing, in our world-its actually because redwood is likely to last the longest in the elements (and its pretty too!) compared to other species of wood products.
In construction, and reconstruction in our case, we use softwoods like pine and Douglas fir. These products offer the strength needed at a much lower cost (about 1/3 the cost of Redwood). With that said the intent of use is different than that of products that are used for decking and exterior unprotected products. Soft woods are more porous, and require sealing (painting) for exterior use. In our would, wood products that are not painted or sealed are to be reported as section 2 findings- items that if not sealed can and eventually will result as section 1 findings (dry rot, fungus or available to wood destroying beetle infestation).
Termite companies in CA are required at a minimum to seal all repairs- primer is typically applied, or pre primed lumber is purchased and used to save on time. Many companies offer to paint for an additional charge (NAHS does not charge for this service- we include it when the paint is provided). A pitfall to watch out for when pre-primed material is used is to ensure that any end cuts are also primed to protect the exposed portion of the wood member. Another thing to keep in mind is that primer is really a minimum requirement and that paint (latex or elastomeric) offer even better protection from the elements.
In the Greater Sacramento market the elements can be tough on a property, we have hot dry summers and chilly wet winters traditionally. Many people think that it’s the winters that are so hard on the properties, when in fact I believe that it’s the hot summer sun that does the damage which ultimately leads to potential for moisture intrusion in the winter. As always, we advise to maintain the exterior paint of your property, 5-7 years is a good timeframe for freshening up exterior paint. In the meantime, if you have concerns of potential dry rot or other wood destroying organism activity, we would love to help you out!