Condo Media - March 2012 - (Page 44)

MAINTENANCE by Fred Schernecker Are You Wasting Maintenance Dollars? How to Avoid the Spot Repair Trap and Do the Job Right cross New England, condo communities are getting ready for a rite of spring as predictable as Opening Day at Fenway. They’re about to spend money on spot roofing and siding repairs that would be more wisely invested in full roofing and siding replacement. When associations leave exterior property maintenance on autopilot, this same mistake is made year after year. Roofs are patched; sections of failed siding are replaced; and peeling trim is repainted. And no one notices that the cumulative costs of these recurring repairs no longer makes sense compared to the long-term cost savings of full replacement. Don’t let your association get caught in this wasteful spot repair cycle. Here are three steps you can take to make sure your owners do the job right — and make the correct long-term decisions for your property. A Understand the Cause and Extent of the Problem Are your owners dealing with leaking roofs, rotted siding, or paint that peels within months of a fresh coat? Resist the urge to make spot repairs until you understand the underlying cause of the problem and whether it is an isolated incident or widespread. Although there are situations when spot repairs and replacements may work, they are usually just temporary bandages that mask deeper problems. Paint that keeps peeling from wooden trim, for example, is likely caused by water penetration, a condition that is often a sign of failed flashing around siding and roofing transitions, win- 1 dows, and doors. And until this underlying water penetration problem is corrected, your owners will continue to throw good money at spot trim replacement and painting cycles that are doomed to fail. Ice dams are another example of how failure to remedy the underlying cause of a problem can trap owners into expensive repair cycles. Even when ice dams are a recurring problem, some associations do little more than just fix any damages, hope the roof doesn’t leak, and wait for spring. But that kind of patch and pray approach is flirting with disaster, especially as a roof ages. It is not possible to deal effectively with ice dams unless you first determine the extent to which roofing conditions (such as poor ventilation and inadequate attic insulation) contribute to ice dam formation. You must also understand exactly how and where water is penetrating your roof. Take your property’s exterior maintenance off autopilot. Instead of rubberstamping another round of spot repairs, review your maintenance records for recurring repairs and spot replacement projects and ask an experienced contractor or engineer “What is the reason for this problem?” Base Your Decisions on Good Information How many more years can you reasonably expect from your existing roofing and siding? The answer is critical if your association wants to make an informed decision between spot repairs and full replacement. No roofing or wood-clad siding system lasts forever. And when your roofing and siding reaches the end of 2 its service life, your only viable option is full replacement. At this time, all your existing roofing and siding materials will be stripped down to the sheathing and trashed — along with every dollar spent on temporary spot replacements. The closer your roofing or siding is to the end of its natural lifecycle, the less cost-effective it is to keep fixing it, and the more sense it makes to choose full replacement. For this reason, it is essential to understand how many years your existing roofing and siding have left. Caution: Do not estimate the remaining service life of your roof based on the years remaining on your shingle warranty. Nor should you estimate the life expectancy of wooden siding based on the date of installation. Many factors affect the longevity of building envelope components, including weather, maintenance, and construction quality. Poor ventilation, inferior materials, and improper flashing techniques can slash the service life of roofing and siding systems in half. For accurate estimates of remaining roofing and siding life expectancies, get expert help. Ask a qualified contractor or hire an engineer to perform a physical inspection of your association’s buildings. Then ask them to run a lifecycle analysis comparing the longterm costs for spot repairs and replacements vs. full replacement over 15 and 30 years. 3 Upgrade to Long-Life Materials and Save Want to extend your association’s savings on building envelope work over the next 10, 20, and 30 years? 44 CONDO MEDIA • MARCH 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - March 2012

Condo Media - March 2012
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Volunteer Spotlight
Vendor Spotlight
Self-Managed Association Boards
2012 CAI-NE Spring/Summer Service Directory
Advertisers Index
Classified Service Directory

Condo Media - March 2012