Five Common Exterior Home Repairs

Gray house with white trim.
Historic home after exterior repairs.

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Hays Holmes has a beautiful historic house built in 1885. But, like many older homes, it had damaged or rotten wood on the eaves and siding, along with porch columns that needed to be repaired.

Repair #1: Replace Eave Board

Eave on corner of house with squirrel hole.
Squirrel damaged eave.

To repair a squirrel damaged fascia board on the eaves, we removed the damaged board, cut a replacement to match, and nailed the new board in place.

When repairing squirrel damage, make sure the squirrels and their young aren’t inside the house when the repairs are made. Read How to Prevent Squirrel Damage to find out more.

NOTE: Before working near power lines, contact the local utility company and have the electricity turned off.

Repair #2: Repair Siding

To remove damaged siding, use an oscillating tool to cut through the nails in the row above the siding, then insert a flat pry bar under the bottom of the damaged siding and remove the board. Cut a new piece of siding to length, slide it in place, and secure the board.

To make installing siding go faster, make an exposure gauge, hook it under the bottom row of siding, and rest the new board on top.

Watch How to Replace Damaged Siding to find out more.

Installing replacement siding on house.
Allen Lyle and homeowner Hays Holmes replacing rotten siding on the house.

Auto body filler can be used to repair minor damage to wood. Here’s how:

  1. Dig out any rotten wood.
  2. Mix two-part body filler together.
  3. Fill the cavity with body filler and allow it to harden.
  4. Sand the body filler flush with the surface.
  5. Prime and paint the body filler and surrounding wood.

Watch Repairing Water Damaged Wood to find out more.

Repair #3: Repair Column Base

New unpainted wood on porch column base.
Repaired porch column base.

If the damage is confined to the trim boards mitered around the bottom of the column, remove the damaged wood, miter new boards from a rot resistant material, and nail the new boards in place.

If the column has a separate base, the column will need to be jacked up, and the base removed and replaced. If the column itself is rotten, it will have to be jacked up and the entire column replaced.

Watch How to Remove and Replace a Porch Column to find out more.

Repair #4: Build Window Screen

To replace a missing window screen, make a new one using aluminum screen frame stock and plastic screen frame corners. Here’s how:

  1. Measure the window to determine the size of the fame.
  2. Subtract the width of the frame corners from the measurements.
  3. Cut the frame stock to length using a miter saw or hacksaw.
  4. Insert the four corners in the screen frame.
  5. Cut a piece of screen wire several inches larger than the frame.
  6. Position the screen wire over the frame.
  7. Press the rubber spline in the grooves using a spline roller.
  8. Cut off any excess screen with a utility knife.

Watch How to Replace a Window Screen to find out more.

Repaired newel post on outside stairs.
Repaired stair newel post with base, cap, and finial.

Repair #5: Repair Newel Post

To repair the facing boards around a newel post:

  1. Remove the rotten wood.
  2. Check to make sure the center support post is in good condition.
  3. Make a four-sided box from 1” thick wood.
  4. slide the box over the end of the post, and secure it in place.
  5. Reattach the top and bottom handrails to the newel post.
  6. Make a cap with beveled sides, and attach it to the top of the post.

Other Tips from This Episode

Glue bottles upside down in holes in workbench.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Glue Bottle Storage Tip

To store glue bottles for easy access in your shop, drills holes in a shelf or workbench and insert the nozzle of the bottles upside down in the holes. This will make the glue easy to find and ready to use and help keep the glue from drying out. (Watch Video)

Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blade

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Diablo Reciprocating Saw Blades

Diablo Steel Demon reciprocating saw blades are the first carbide-tipped blades made for cutting hard metals including cast iron. The blades last up to 20 times longer than standard bi-metal blades and are available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Blond woman spraying house with mildewcide.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Exterior Mold and Mildew Treatment

Clean the exterior of your home thoroughly before painting to remove any mold and mildew, and make sure the paint you use contains a mildewcide. If mold reappears after painting, apply a mold remover, such as Wet & Forget Outdoor. (Watch Video)


  1. Hi, seen your show for the first time this morning and Im already a fan. Great tips espically on the squirrell hole. Ive been a painter for over 35yrs. and would like to leave a tip if I may on cleaning mold, siding etc. On the show they were cleaning from the top down. Reverse this. Start the spraying of the cleaning solution from the bottom up. You will find that you wont have the streaks that occur when the fluids run through the soiled lower areas. Hope this makes cleaning easier. It helps me.

    p.s. interior painting, 1 tablespoon of vanilla flavoring per gallon of latex paint and you will not have that paint after smell! Does not change the color. latex only.
    Take care,
    Steve Morris

    • Hi Steve,
      Thanks for the tips. I’ve used the one about spraying from the bottom up, and it works. I’ll have to try the one about adding vanilla to paint.

  2. Today’s the first time I saw your show and thanks I’m impressed! What power tool did you use when constructing the “Repair newel post” (it was like an automatic nail gun)?

  3. Not sure what they are called, but I am interested in finding out where I can purchase the wood items (they look like fans at the corners of the porch) we have a Victorian Home and I saw them on a house already and I would love to have them on my front porch. It raps around our home and I think they would really add some beauty to it. Any help in letting me know where to purchase them would be helpful thanks so much

  4. About 9 feet of wood rot on eve.
    You are the fourth person that I have asked for a estimate, none of them have returned calls or messages

    • Hi, Wayne! features home improvement advice from our nationally syndicated TV show “Today’s Homeowner” and its experts.
      We don’t sell construction products on this website, or offer estimates, but we encourage checking with local businesses for the most accurate information specific to your geographic area.
      Good luck!

    • Hi, Lance,
      We don’t offer project estimates or information on individual home builders, repairers and suppliers, as this varies by location, but we encourage checking your local phone listings for this information.
      Good luck!


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