Mike’s Guys: Replacing Rotten Exterior Trim & Handrails



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Exterior trim and porch railings are among the home’s exterior features that require replacement over the years. Although handrails, support columns, posts, and wooden stairs are treated to withstand the elements, years of harsh environmental extremes can cause irreparable damage.  Improper sealing, poor air circulation, and poor drainage can all result in the absorption of moisture into the wood, causing rot. Rotted wood doesn’t only look bad, but it also creates a safety hazard for you and your loved ones!



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In some cases, it may be hard to determine if your home’s exterior wood is rotting. Visually, it is generally darker and discolored from the water that was absorbed. If it feels unstable, loose, or soft to the touch, it’s likely time to replace it! Damaged wood should be replaced with oak, pressure-treated pine, or redwood for a longer-lasting option. Once the new pieces are installed, oak and redwood can be primed & painted immediately, while you must allow at least 90 days before painting pressure-treated pine.






Another option is to use low-maintenance railing systems made of PVC, cast foam, and composites, which can look like painted wood. However, these synthetic materials are somewhat expensive and cannot be customized. This is why treated wood, although not quite as durable, is still a good choice.


If you’re planning on replacing your porch railing yourself, you’ll also need to consider your local building codes. By code, the bottom of the railing can’t be more than 4 inches above the porch deck, and the top of the railing has to be at least 36 inches above the porch deck to prevent any potential safety hazards. On porch decks that are 30 inches or less above grade, the 36-inch minimum height requirement doesn’t apply, so that you can make the railing any height you want, or not have one at all. You’ll definitely want to be aware of building codes before proceeding with this type of project!


Spring is a great time to address exterior home maintenance and repairs! If your exterior trim or wooden handrail is rotten or needs replacing, Mike’s Guys would be happy to help! Our guys can suggest the best materials and approach for your unique project and get the work done for you, correctly and to code! Contact us today for more information.


Warm Regards,


Mike’s Guys



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