Q. We are going to paint soon but we know that we have some wood that has been damaged by termites and dry rot. What should we do?

A. If the extent of the damage is significant, we would recommend doing a wood survey to identify, quantify, and document the damage.

Q. Can’t we just have all of our painting contractors evaluate the wood and give us a proposal?

A. This is not a good idea, for a couple of reasons.
1. Most “painters” are not licensed to do wood replacement. If they have only a “C” license, they can only do up to $500 worth of work outside their license.
2. If four contractors all look at the community, you will receive four different conclusions. By paying for a physical survey, the board will receive one set of documents from which other contractors can bid from. Even if a few things are missed (nobody is perfect) at least all bids will be based on the same scope of work.

Q. What type of license is required to do wood replacement and other construction-related work?

A.  A General Contractors “B” license is required to do this type of work. A “C” license is a specialty license that limits the type of work that a contractor can do to that specialty. For example, a C-33 license is for painting and wall covering.

Q. Is any special insurance required to work in an HOA community?

A. Yes! Many insurance policies specifically prohibit the insured contractors from working for a multi-family community. A special endorsement is required and this coverage should be verified prior to signing a contract with a vendor.

Q. One contractor has offered to do a visual wood survey for free. Should I take them up on the offer?

A. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. Since the contractor is not being paid, probably a minimal amount of time will be spent on the inspection and many items may be overlooked. This may lead to expensive change orders once the contract is signed. Conversely, a person doing only a visual inspection may put things on the list to be replaced that really only need some TLC. Again, this leads to unnecessary expenses.

Q. I’ve heard about a new law that requires testing for lead-based paint. Is our project subject to this law?

A. In general, if a community was built prior to 1978 and more than 20 square feet of the exterior or 6 square feet of the interior are going to be disturbed, it must be tested for LBP. Testing must be done by a third party and any work involving surfaces with LBP must be done by a Certified Contractor, using Certified Renovators.

Q. We have old “masonite” type of siding that is failing. Are there some newer materials that we might consider as a replacement?

A. There are a few options for replacing older siding that include vinyl, aluminum and cementitious/fibrous products that mimic wood siding. We most frequently recommend a product line from the James Hardie Company. Hardie board, as it is referred to sometimes, is a cement product with fibers in it. It comes painted and unpainted and carries a 30-year warranty. The advantage is that is eliminates the damage caused by termites and dry rot.

Q. Is there anything we can do to help preserve the wood components of our buildings?

A. Proper priming and routine coatings help to lengthen the lifespan of wood and to resist termites.

Q. I’ve heard about priming all six sides on new wood before it is installed. Is that really necessary?

A. Absolutely! Wood should be measured, cut, primed on all six sides and then installed. If it is primed and then cut to length and not primed prior to installation, it leaves the mitered joints at the corners unprotected. This is most frequently were we see dry rot. It bears repeating, prime all six sides and then install the wood.

Q. What type of wood should we use on our buildings?

A. There are not only different species and types of wood products but there are also varying grades of the same products. For example, there is a grade of Douglas Fir that might be used for studs and another for wood that will be on the building’s exterior and exposed to the elements. It is very important to speak with professionals to get to know the differences.

Q. Our community is going to undergo a major reconstruction project. It is advisable to have a knowledgeable, third-party assist with oversight?

A. For larger construction jobs it is advisable to have a construction manager to assist the board. As a rule, most board members don’t have the time, nor experience to oversee a major project. A construction manager will serve as the advocate for the community, making certain that work is completed per the contract and in a timely manner. The CM can also review and approve any additional work to keep the project on track.


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