Until the scaffolding was up on this semi-detached house in Stratford upon Avon, it was difficult to see the state of the faux Tudor timber beams at the top of the house. Once I got up onto the scaffolding, and poked my finger into the timber, I got rather a shock. It was not only rotten, but just thin planking. 

Taking a closer look at the paint, you can see it was in very poor shape. Nearly all the paint would have to come off.

It was time to get my professional Finnish and German sanding equipment out. You'd be there for weeks just sanding if you tried to do it by hand. And burning off is dangerous not only because of fumes (and if it's old paint, you can be breathing in lead fumes if you burn off) but also because the timber was old, and had voids behind it, there was a very high chance of fire smouldering behind the timber, ready to set the house alight. Sanding with 98% dust extraction is my go-to paint stripping solution in most cases. Time to start. 

Sanding right back to the timber allows you to see where the rotten wood is. It also means that where the paintwork is in very poor shape, you can start again with fresh paint on the timber, so no risk of old paint flaking off and taking your new paint with it, because all the old paint will be winging its way into my sanding dust extractor bag. 

As you can see, the rot was pretty extensive. To do a proper job, you need to cut it all out, back to a sound timber edge.

There was so much rotten timber, I used a multitool to cut out all the dodgy wood. If you're doing resin repairs to timber, one of the tools I'd strongly advise you get is a multitool - it makes cutting out so much quicker. 
As you can see above, the 'beams' are actually softwood planks, nailed onto traditional lath pieces onto which the render was also attached. Luckily the render was very good in most places, so just the timber needed replacing. 

A look around the timber merchants and I found some softwood planking which was nearly an exact replica of the original - what a time saver! I also bought a few other sizes for other repairs. As you can just see in the top left of the photo above, I also removed and replaced the timber moulding along the top edge of the fascia board. That was much, much cheaper and quicker than sanding all the old paint off, and repairing it. 
All the timber was fixed in place using the Repair Care 4 hour resin system. First you mix up a 2 part liquid version of the resin (Dry Fix 4), and brush it onto all the timber edges you're going to attach. This liquid soaks into the timber a bit and means you get a really, really strong bond. 20 minutes later you mix up the 2 part resin paste (Dry Flex 4) and use that to stick the pieces in, and fill in. Repair Care resin is incredibly tough, waterproof and flexes with the timber. Nothing else comes anywhere near to do a quality repair for this kind of job.

After all the repairs were sanded flat, I could get to the quick, easy and fun part - painting! I was using Sadolin Superdec which is a water-borne exterior finish which is primer, undercoat and topcoat in one. It's a superb product. Two coats of that in black and the job was done. If you're using a pale colour, or white, then you'll need three coats at least on bare timber, but the black has great opacity and two coats was perfect. 

Once the scaffolding was down I could get a clear photo of the finished job. I painted the render as well, and there were wooden windows and doors elsewhere on the house which I repaired and painted - but that'll be another blog! 
If you're doing a repair like this, it's worth spending the time and using the best materials to do it properly. I'm guessing it hadn't been done to a high standard for decades, judging by the amount of rot and the state of the paintwork. This repair will last a very long time, and if the house is repainted regularly, it'll be a lot quicker and therefore cheaper to paint it next time. 

Do it once and do it properly, it'll be cheaper in the long run.