man reaching through window to paint exterior window sill
Photo: Kristine Larsen
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Peeling Exterior Paint

Potential problem: Blistering, cracking, or peeling of the protective finish can cause woodwork to rot. Particularly vulnerable are protruding surfaces where water sits, such as windowsills, which may need to be replaced if the damage is extensive.

Fix it now: Scrape, sand, prime, and repaint all trim that has a worn finish. For houses built before 1978, take special care during the paint removal phases to protect yourself, your family, and the environment from lead dust, which is toxic. The easiest way to fix any minor rot damage to the wood surface is to dig it out until you get down to a solid section, then fill the void with an epoxy before refinishing.

What you'll save: About $135 per window for a pro to replace a sill that's rotted beyond repair.

TOH Tip: Work inside when repainting windowsills so that you don't have to use a ladder.

DIY: Learn the secrets of a professional paint job.
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