Modern wood windows are more energy efficient than the windows of days gone by. But they’re built with today’s lumber: softer, younger wood with wider grain and more open pore structure. As such, they’re more likely to soak up water and support wood-destroying fungus.

In a hot, humid climate, juvenile wood is exposed to lots of rain, heat, and atmospheric moisture—and that’s a recipe for rot. In the New Orleans market, restoration carpenter Michael Davis told JLC, BUILDER’s sister brand, that he’s “guaranteed a steady stream of jobs repairing rotten windows and doors.”

Whether it’s a repair or a full replacement, Davis has a prescription for protecting new or old windows and doors against the onslaught of fungus. Priority one is to reduce the unit’s exposure to standing water that puddles during or after a rainstorm. He says to back prime any wood you can reach, seal all the end grain with a quality primer or an epoxy-based coating, and raise the units slightly with plastic shims so they’re not sitting directly on a horizontal surface where water could collect. This also creates an air space for drying when wetting occurs.

For extra protection, Davis treats windows with wood preservative—applying a borate solution by dipping or brushing, or inserting borate crystal rods into holes discreetly bored into the bottom edge of the unit.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: New Orleans, LA.