I'm a general contractor in Williston, Vt.; my company does a mix of new construction and remodeling. Last fall I received a call from a prospective customer looking for a contractor to replace the siding on his house. He seemed concerned that the work be done as soon as possible, despite the fact that winter was fast approaching.

The reason for his anxiety became clear when I visited the site. The exterior of the house — which was located in a subdivision where prices start at around $600,000 — was a disaster. Behind the clapboards, the housewrap was stained and degraded, and the surface of the OSB below was black with mold and thoroughly rotted in places.

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