I have a neighbor that is insisting the shade from one of my trees is
causing the wood to rot on his older windows (these appear to be
original from the 50's). He claims that side of his house never gets
direct sun because my tree (over 30 feet away) blocks it, so after it
rains the sills don't dry. In the two years I've been there he has
filled in the damage with putty and repainted each spring, an improper
patch in my mind. Can lack of direct sun really cause this much
damage? The area isn't in complete shade all day, it just doesn't get
Tell the guy to see the chaplain as he seems to have a personal
problem. Or, if you want, sell him your house so he can cut your tree
down if he wants. Does he want you to pay his bills if he comes up a
little short some month? What a baby!
I really don't know what he is getting at with the complaints. Not
sure if he's trying to say we'll have to fix it or what. He has had it
looked at and was told his "patches" were only that, temporary patches,
and that the windows would need to be replaced. Before he starts
blaming my tree I just wanted to make sure this was not common.
When I bought this house, the inspectors poked a very skinny awl under the
edge of the siding which covers my sills, and found that two were rotted.
They're both in shade. They showed me how to remove the siding, told me to
chisel out the old wood and replace with treated wood. I cannot find the
words to tell you how traumatized I was after calculating the immense cost
involved. Something like $8.00, perhaps as much as $14.73.
Lack of sun can certainly increase maintenance requirements, but if his
sills are rotting, IMHO it's because of lack of maintenance appropriate
to their shady location. Sealing them up after they're rotten can slow
further damage, but isn't a substitute for having kept them properly
painted all along.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
Less or no sun can cause some problems, but then sun itself also can
cause problems. While I would guess it is possible, I have never seen a
situation that I would say that a tree 30 feet away was even equal to the
lack of proper maintenance as being the cause.
Now that that is settled, you still have to deal with the neighbor. In
most areas your tree is yours and your neighbor's only control over that
tree is his legal right to trim any part of the tree that hangs over into
his property. Check your local legal professionals before assuming that
applies to your situation.
You also need to consider your relationship with the neighbor. That
only you can judge.
What is the neighbor suggesting you do? If he wants the tree removed,
then ask yourself it you want it removed and if not what might entice you to
change you mind (what is it worth to you) In either case I would suggest
that your neighbor should foot the bill.
And he should consider how much shade the tree produces near his own house.
I've seen all kinds of estimates as to what trees are worth in terms of air
conditioning BTUs. The numbers don't matter. I know just by being observant
that the benefit is amazing.
Lack of maintenace causes wood rot, letting wood go bare or bad caulk
alowing it to stay wet. Its not your fault nor your trees fault. Im sure
the windows are old and for a period were neglected, but his years of
neglect caused it. Houses are built in shade, people dont cut their
trees for that reason. He is a Blamer, he Blames everyone but himself,
but he is to blame for letting the paint and caulk go bad and rot his
windows not your tree or you. Remember Rot takes years to ruin wood.
Dont let the blamer ruin your day or tree.
He hasn't outright demanded that I fix his windows or cut down the
tree, just HEAVILY hinted at it. He has stated on numerous occations
that he hates that tree and would be happy to see it go because it
causes his windows to rot and the seed pods (Maple tree) get in his
gutters. The tree is not hanging over any part of his property. Each
time I see him he seems more and more agitated by the tree. and I think
he's getting close to trying some kind of action. I'm not that worried
about keeping him happy (he's not the one paying my mortgage), but I
also don't feel like getting into any kind of pissing match with him
either. I just state that we like the tree and will do our part to
minimize his nuisance to him (ie we stay on top of cleaning leaves and
My neighbor's maple tree is 300 feet away, and the seeds still make their
way into my gutters when the wind's right. Oh well.
Does the tree actually hang over the property line at all? If so, and you
think he's going to make a move, like have it trimmed, be damned sure he
intends to use a professional tree service, and that you have a say in
If you want to try and be a good neighbor you might share a few tips for the
proper repair of his sills. Other than that I would not be too concerned
If he will scrape them to the bare wood, petrify any soft spots with an
epoxy system and then fill voids with bondo he should then be ready to paint
with an oil based primer. Thereafter he may topcoat with whatever he likes.
Halfway patches with improper materials and latex primers or no primers will
result in an annual failure.
I'm not sure how he fills in the rot, he states, "just last spring I
had to fill in the wood and repair it, now it's rotted out again, the
tree blocks too much sun and never allows the sills to dry". I've kept
an eye on that side of his house for a day, it is in no means shady all
day, it just doesn't get hit directly. I try to stay as uninvolved as
possible in his repair work. He complains about everyone on the block,
like those with woodstoves that make smoke that inevitably drifts to
his yard (seriously, he complained that smoke drifts through his yard).
In the hundred-plus years my house has been standing in the damp climate
of Puget Sound, the sun has never once shone directly on the north side
of the house. Simply doesn't happen this far north. Yet the original
fir window sills, shaded for a century, hadn't rotted out when we
replaced them. It's a question of maintenance, not shade.
email@example.com is Joshua Putnam
The repsonses you have gotten are right on target........it's maint &
Actually if repair is done correctly the shade will help the paint
I did epoxy repair to r/w sills about 20 years ago. The south & east
sills need to be revisited, the north sills look as good as the day
they were done!
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