Everything You Need to Know about Rotting Wood – Blog Post

Rotting Wood

Some rotting wood on your property will be visible and obvious, but in other cases the decay will be hidden. This is why it is essential to conduct a thorough, professional inspection of all wood on a yearly basis.

What causes rotting wood? Most wood, unless specifically treated is vulnerable to moisture. An increase in normal moisture levels due to ice dams, melting snow, rain, environmental conditions, etc. increase the risk of wood deterioration and rot.

Fungus, mildew, and organic compounds blossom when moisture is present. Repairing rotting wood cannot be put off as the damage will only spread as time goes on. Then, what may have been an inexpensive repair may turn into a more costly replacement.

Types of rotting wood: One variety of wood looks like spots of decay that appear brown and crumbly, and will break apart into cubes when disturbed. Another variety is yellowish in color, with the decayed wood becoming soft and stringy. If you see surface molds on wood, don’t confuse these with rotting wood. These molds or mildews can be cleaned off the surface of wood and do not break down the fibers or cause any structural damage.

Insects and termites are another cause of rotting wood in certain areas. The insects wear away protective coatings and expose the wood to the elements, a double danger in the world of wood.

Usual areas of damage: When inspecting for rotting wood, pay particular attention to any wood that touches dirt of masonry because water can wick up the wood and cause rotting. Also closely examine joints, which are slower to dry.

The most dangerous situation for rotting wood is when it is hidden behind paint coatings. In this case, you won’t even see the rotting wood, and damage will continue to progress. For this reason, it is essential for a professional to test and inspect all the wood on the property yearly to ensure the substrates are in solid condition. The rotting wood found at this early stage may be repaired in small sections, rather than require a more expensive, full replacement.

Once rotting wood is confirmed, the scope of repairs depends on the amount of time the wood has been exposed, the extent of the damage, and the threat to the structure. Professionals use tools to expertly inspect the most common areas for first signs of rotting wood, whether visible or hidden:

Soffits, Fascia & Trim Siding Window Sills & Frames
Doorway Thresholds & Frames Columns Beams & Joints
Decks & Fences    


Preventing rotting wood is just as important as repairing it. The key to deterrence is to control the wood’s exposure to moisture by providing adequate ventilation and water drainage and maintaining its protective coating cycle.

AAA does Wyoming!

Recently, AAA had a job opportunity come to us from a remote location….the state of Wyoming! We were fortunate enough to have been granted the work, and our crew is loving the change of scenery (and warmer climate than January Chicago temperatures). We received feedback from the customer over the weekend, and all is going well!

“Just want to drop you a line on progress. You guys are really good at what they do and hard workers. Alex is a good leader and I very much like having them around.”

Contractor vs. Sub-Contractor – Blog Post

Do you want a Contractor vs. Sub-Contractor on your Property?


The IRS has guidelines to define Employees (W-2) vs. Independent Contractors.

Why do Companies use Sub-Contractors?

  • Avoid paying payroll taxes
  • Avoid paying worker compensation insurance costs
  • Avoid health insurance costs
  • Avoid overhead costs for trucks and equipment
  • No exposure for unemployment filings

These are huge expenses for employers, therefore according to the IRS, 1099 workers must:

  • Work for multiple firms
  • Provide all their own equipment, vehicles and attire
  • Provide their own workers compensation insurance
  • Provide their own health insurance

A contractor cannot tell the 1099 workers:

  • How, when and where to work
  • Properly train the workers
  • Hire or fire workers
  • Supervise the worksite
  • Teach and enforce proper safety requirements
  • Inspect for quality
  • Require company attire


At AAA Painting Contractors, all of our staff are W-2 employees. It is more expensive, but the right way to manage our production team. We want our team to feel as a valued asset to our company. AAA provides the proper insurance coverage for workers compensation and health Insurance.

Surface Preparation – Blog Post

How important is Exterior Painting Surface Prep?

The majority of paint failures is the direct result of inadequate surface prep. Even premium products are only as strong as the material it is anchored to. A properly prepared exterior surface can actually hold paint better and give a long lasting impression. Apart from the long lasting paint result, proper surface preparation also makes sure you get the right finish once the paint job is done.

Clean: The Key is to remove anything that will get in the way of superior adhesion, including dirt, mold, mildew, surface damage, rot and old, failed coatings to name a few. Pressure washing or hand scrubbing are effective ways to complete this step.

Let It Dry: Pressure washing can leave a surface wet for days. It is important to allow several days for the surface to completely dry-out before moving forward.

Scrape: Leaving any peeling or curled edges of paint will contribute to paint failure. Scrape all of the loose coatings until all that’s left are sections of well-adhered paint and bare surfaces.

Repair Damage: Rotted or damaged sections of siding or trim need to be repaired. Read our blog on Rotten Wood Repair for further information regarding the importance of this step.

Prime: For any surfaces in which you peeled paint from, spot-priming those bare areas is important as paint does not always stick to bare substrates. Our product specialists are knowledgeable as to which primers are best for specific surfaces.

Caulk: Caulking doesn’t only give the paint job a finished clean look, it also prevents water from getting into the structure and causing damage. All siding butt joints, as well as gaps where siding meets trim should be sealed to prevent water infiltration.

Once all steps have been completed, the surface is prepped for paint.

Rotten Wood Repair – Blog Post

Rotten wood repair is one of the most important things to do before painting a property. Moisture in wood provides a breeding ground for fungi. Any exposed piece of wood is at risk. Even a tiny nick in the finish or paint of a window trim can let unwanted moisture in. Fungus feeds on moisture, eating away at wood and causing rot. Here are a few reasons why rotten wood should never go untreated:

  • Widespread Damage:  Rotten wood becomes more and more difficult and costly to repair over time. There are several types of fungus spores floating around in the air, harmless until they find a host, such as wet wood. Once in the wood, they germinate and produce strands. The fungus eats cellulose, which is a component found in wood. Once the food source is exhausted, it spreads to surrounding wood, in search of a new host. Eventually, the fungus spreads to the entire structure, turning all of the wood brittle and friable. This puts the entire structure at risk. The longer the rot is left untreated, the more widespread the damage. Early detection and action is key.
  • Insect Infestation: Insects such as termites, carpenter ants, deathwatch beetles, and wood-boring weevils thrive in rotten wood. Rot creates cavities within the wood, providing these bugs with a safe, secluded place to breed. There is also plenty of moisture and food—cellulose and starch—to sustain them.
  • Health and Safety Hazards: Rotten wood causes a number of health and safety hazards. The moisture and resulting condensation can lead to mold growth. Mold feeds on cellulose. Certain strains of mold can cause allergic reactions and even produce dangerous toxins, such as black mold. Also, paint could chip off of the rotted wood, which would be especially hazardous if lead based. Additionally, damage to the structure could cause the floor or roof to cave in.

We offer many composite and synthetic materials for wood replacement and siding. Contact us today for a free, detailed professional estimate.

Featured Job of the Month

Vanguard Lofts – Chicago, IL

Project: Interior Hallways

Updating the interior of a building is always an exciting transformation. It’s amazing what a difference a new shade can do to a room, or in this case, hallways. Vanguard Lofts is a beautiful condominium building located in Chicago. The Property Management Company reached out to us by referral for their hallways to be painted. We offered a few options to them including some additional common area painting, including their elevator lobbies and stairwells. The surfaces were all sanded to ensure adhesion of the new coating. The residents are very happy with the end result!

Featured Job of the Month – August

Old Orchard – Mount Prospect

Project: Exterior Paint and Wood Replacement


Entering the Old Orchard Property gives you the feeling of entering a quaint little town in the middle of Mount Prospect. From the moment you enter the beautiful entry way blooming with flowers, to the Orchard named streets and courts, driving through the beautiful property is so inviting and comforting. There is no doubt this is one reason there are a number of long term residents that reside in this community.

Old Orchard is a rather large property – the scope of work we completed included wood replacement and exterior painting. Working with their property management company was wonderful and we hope all of the residents love the refreshed look of their beautiful community.


Featured Job of the Month – June

7061 Renaissance – Niles, IL

Project: Railings/Exterior Paint

7061 renaissanceRepairing rusty railings is a very labor extensive task. To do it correctly, and have the application last as long as possible, proper prepping must be done. After removing all of the rust, the railings were then scrubbed with a bleach and water solution. The railing surfaces were hand washed and then sanded once dry. Certain areas were caulked and spot primed prior to the paint application. When the job was completed, the railings looked brand new!

We had a very happy Board President, Management Company, and residents of 7061 Renaissance.

7061 railings

Featured Job of the Month – March

Berry Plastics – Schaumburg, IL

Project: Interior Ceiling, Walls, Floor

There were 3 phases to this project, all of which had to be accomplished under a very tight time frame.

First Phase: Priming the fiberglass ceiling tiles and applying two coats of finish.

Second Phase: Applying two coats of water based catalyzed epoxy on the walls for chemical, stain resistance and wash ability.

Third Phase: Completely removing the existing epoxy floor and installing an impact resistant, chemical resistant, and slip resistant industrial coating on the floor.

Take a look at the before and after pictures: