Home Exterior


There are several types of brick, the two most common being clay and cement. The characteristics of each varies dramatically. Some have very soft, porous surfaces while others are extremely hard.

The most common maintenance issue discovered is missing or deteriorated mortar. Missing mortar can lead to water penetration behind the brick surface. In cold temperatures this may cause a freeze-thaw situation. The result is spalling (cracking or flaking) of the brick surface.

TIP: When matching new brick mortar to old, try patting the new joint with a wet tea bag.

Masonry Maintenance

  • Periodically inspect for cracked or spalled brick.
  • Check for missing, loose or deteriorated mortar and patch as required.
  • Keep all trees and shrubbery trimmed back from masonry.


Gutters and downspouts are necessary for two major reasons: 1) They prevent rain water from running down the side of the building causing possible water damage to its components, and 2) this also prevents erosion of the ground at grade level.

The most important reason to have a gutter system is to divert water away from the building’s foundation. Regardless of the type of foundation wall that is present, the possibility for moisture penetration still exists. Therefore, the less water there is around the foundation wall, the less likelihood for water penetration.

Gutters are responsible for collecting all water run-off from the roof, and downspouts should discharge the water into proper drains or on to the ground surface well away from the foundation.

Gutter Maintenance

  • Keep debris cleared from gutters and downspouts.
  • Check gutters for damage, looseness, leakage, and misalignment.
  • Be sure downspout extensions are diverting water well away from the foundation.
  • Check for peeling or blistering paint.
  • Periodically inspect for cracked or spalled brick.
  • Check for missing, loose or deteriorated mortar and patch as required.
  • Keep all trees and shrubbery trimmed back from masonry.


WOOD: There are several types of wood siding. Whether installed vertically, horizontally or in sheets, all are prone to the same maintenance problem - moisture and decay. Paint or stain should be applied every three to five years. Wood sided homes generally have wood trim. Make sure that all appropriate areas are well sealed with a quality exterior caulk. Wood/soil contact should be avoided to prevent rotting and possible insect infestation.

METAL: The most common material used for metal siding is aluminum. A baked on enamel finish is usually applied to the siding and tends to hold up well. Improperly secured siding and the lack of trim and molding pieces are two common problems. If nailed too tightly, the siding will not be able to expand and contract and buckling may occur. Metal sidings are prone to denting, especially aluminum. Damaged sections can be replaced on an individual basis.

VINYL: Vinyl sidings and metal sidings are very similar in that the majority of the problems are associated with installation as opposed to the material itself. A lack of proper securing and improper detailing at the corners and edges are the most common deficiencies. The color of some vinyl siding may fade with age. As with metal siding, individual pieces can be replaced.

ASBESTOS CEMENT: Asbestos cement siding comes in a shingle form. This type of siding is very brittle and is subject to physical damage. This material does contain asbestos, therefore proper caremust be observed when handling.

HARDBOARD/PLYWOOD: There are a variety of sheet type materials on the market today. The two most common are simulated wood siding and stucco panels.

Water penetration behind the trim pieces tends to deteriorate the trim and the siding. It is essential to keep all horizontal joints well sealed with caulk. The buckling of hardboard siding can be eliminated with proper nailing to the building studs.

Siding Maintenance

  • Paint or stain wood siding every three to five years.
  • Keep all horizontal and vertical trim pieces well caulked.
  • Inspect wood siding for splitting, looseness and decay.
  • Make sure that aluminum and vinyl sidings are properly secured.
  • Check sheet type siding for buckling and secure as necessary.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed away from siding


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