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Expert Advice: Exterior Carpentry & Paint

Best Practices: Exterior Carpentry and Paint Renovation

A first impression is everything. And when it comes to multifamily properties, the condition of exterior carpentry and paint says a lot without saying a word. Rotting trim and peeling paint can send a community into a lower investment class and cause lender issues if regular inspections are required. We sat down with Gage owners, Rich & Rob Trepanier to discuss the best moves to make with paint and carpentry.

Exterior carpentry is usually considered a deferred maintenance item - meaning it was left for the next investor to handle when the property is sold. Often lenders will require exterior carpentry repairs if the issue - think rotten trim or siding- is visible.

Besides lender requirements, you want to make your apartment community look fresh and clean. Exterior carpentry is a clear indication of the class of property. Traditionally rotten wood can be observed on Class C properties, with a smaller amount on Class B properties but you don't see any rotting carpentry on Class A properties.

A typically multifamily investment strategy will include a paint/carpentry upgrade done at the point of acquisition and is only done once through the length of the investment hold. Exterior paint & parpentry renovation is a great way to rebrand the property and often investors will match the community color scheme to marketing collateral. It's best practice to complete any necessary carpentry repairs before priming and painting. If done right, exterior paint should last 5-7 years.

In Texas, contractors mainly install cedar trim. A great alternative product is called reel trim. The product is primed on all sides except the ends, which saves a lot of time and energy by only having to prime each cut end.

When Team Gage is on the job, our Superintendent walks the scope of work and marks all carpentry elements that will be replaced. We always aim to remove and replace the same day, with painters following closely behind the carpentry crew.

To lengthen the life of carpentry and paint renovation, we make sure all trim is primed with the proper product, flashed properly if necessary, and receives a good coat of paint very quickly. We never allow carpentry to be exposed to weather before it gets primed and painted.

Use the right material! Never use unprimed pine for exterior carpentry and as it's not going to hold up. If you're replacing pieces, be sure you weather cut the pieces so moisture is always moving away from the cuts of the trim pieces.

Generally multifamily carpentry replacement for low cost but those elements proper fasteners, connectors, cuts, material that generally will lengthen the time of your renovation project. If you choose the cheap route, you might be replacing the same carpentry in three years and will put an unnecessary strain on your cap-ex budget.