Author Archives: WhiteOakAdmin


They’re Back! Buzzing Burdens

Carpenter bees have returned and are having their way with wooden homes in our area. After boring a hole into the side of your house, these pests deposit the next generation of eggs that soon start growing into larvae. You think that would be bad enough for a homeowner, but it gets much worse.

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Larvae Laying Carpenter Bee

As the larvae eat their way through these holes, their foes show up and listen for the sound of chewing, which introduces the federally protected Pileated woodpecker. This brute makes short work ripping off layers of the wood to get to those juicy larvae inside of these holes. What is left when they are done? Gaping holes that let rain, bugs, and other unwelcome vermin inside the home.

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Larvae Pecking Pileated Woodpecker

Although, there is hope!

About 5 years ago the paint industry started offering affordable, protective products to add to paint or stain prior to application, many of which bond on a molecular level. When the carpenter bees try chewing through the paint to reach the wood, this additive typically kills the bee. This translates to no more larvae or Pileated woodpecker damage. Some of the newer products also have natural oils that repel the bees.

These are not foolproof products. They do help mitigate the carpenter bee problem but will not stop it entirely. There is more to the story though. These products work extremely well with solid stains or paints but not so well with transparent stains. Recently we treated a home with a transparent stain, and the bees were not entirely stopped. A house we treated last year with the same product but as a solid stain does not have any further carpenter bee damage.  

Homes that have less than 15’ of height can be sprayed by pest control on a regular basis to mitigate the carpenter bees. The problem in the mountains with this plan is that most homes have at least one side that exceeds the reach of the pest control company’s ability to apply their product. Trust me, that will be the one side the carpenter bees find!

As custom builders of hundreds of homes in the mountains our crews are used to repairing the high and often hard to access sides of a mountain home. If you would like a professional restoration of the damaged wood on your home and an estimate to properly clean then paint or stain your home, call us at 865-379-8044.

The Ultimate Alternative to Traditional Wood

For those of you who may be considering residing your older wooden homes or embarking on new construction projects, cement board siding stands as a bona-fide wood substitute.

Having worked over 40 years in the construction industry, I am no stranger to the beauty of wooden homes. Wood products, such as, western cedar and pine, tend to be the consumer’s first choice. As the market demand increases, so does the price point of these materials. Consequentially, wood products are now unrealistically expensive for the average home owner. In addition to such steep costs, wood siding requires constant maintenance to avoid decay, infestation, and depreciation.

To combat the negatives of wood siding, alternatives began popping up left and right in the marketplace. Only one has consistently proven to be worthy of replicating the quality and appearance of true wood- cement board siding.

Unpainted Cement Board Siding

Beyond offering a realistically traditional appearance, cement board products bring a few distinct advantages over wood. This siding does not shrink, crack, or rot and often costs less. When you paint a house with cement board siding, it lasts around 15 years maintenance free. Over time the home owner will experience astronomical savings in comparison to the 3-5 year painting cycle standard for wooden homes.

Furthermore, cement board siding is vermin proof. This means that squirrels, carpenter bees, woodpeckers, termites, and other pests will no longer serve as unwelcome guests in your living space.

Lastly, cement board siding allows you to take full control of the color selection of your home. Whereas most wood products are limited to a specific range of color stains.

Painted Cement Board Siding on a White Oak Custom Home Build

If you are seeking an economical, vermin proof option for siding that looks real, offers a wide variety of styles and color combinations, and allows you to enjoy your home maintenance free for 15+ years at a time, we may have found your perfect match. After years of utilizing this product with satisfied clients, I can confidently say that cement board siding is here to stay.

Cement Board Siding

Cement Board Window & Frame Trim









Contact us now at 865-379-8044 or drop us an email at for more information.

How to Mitigate Carpenter Bee & Woodpecker Damage

If you have ever owned a wood home, you understand the buzzing struggles that accompany warm weather. Carpenter bees and other larva laying bugs like to make a summer picnic out of the wooden exterior of your home. This picnic soon turns into a full-blown fiesta once woodpeckers start seeking the carpenter bee larvae. Your home suffers from this buggy celebration, leaving your wooden exterior in splinters.

Luckily, White Oak has found a solution by adding a relatively new product called Bug Juice to our paints and stains. This product bonds with the paint on a molecular level to create a finish that is virtually bug proof. The results that we’ve witnessed over the past 5 years have been nothing short of astounding.

Many Smoky Mountain homes are no exception to this annual feast, meaning that they have sustained tremendous damage over the years from carpenter bees and woodpeckers.

If your home needs repairs from bee and woodpecker damage, we would be delighted to give you an estimate for re-staining or re-painting with this Bug Juice additive. By incorporating Bug Juice while repairing and re-treating your wooden exterior, we can fix past damage and help mitigate future bees and woodpeckers from depreciating your home.

For further updates and tips on home construction and maintenance, follow White Oak Construction & Restoration on Facebook or check out our website at

Contact us now at 865-379-8044 or drop us an email at for more information.

Spring LawnCare

There are several things that may help improve your lawn:

Compaction: Aeration to help deal with the compaction of grass root growth. Compaction prevents adequate air and moisture from   reaching the grass roots and makes it hard for new growth to establish.

Thatch overgrowth: Thatch is the layer of dead plant material on your lawn. Typically thin layer of this is helpful in adding organic matter and nutrients to your lawn. A thick   layer, however, can smother new growth,     harbor fungi, and attract lawn pests. Remove excess thatch during spring or fall, not when the grass is growing vigorously.

Low Nutrients: Your lawn is like any other plant and needs nutrients to grow. When you add nutrients to your soil your grass will become greener and heathier.

Weeds: You must remove weeds. You can do this by over-seeding which creates competition for the weeds. You can also remove weeds by using selective herbicides. These herbicides target certain plants and allow your grass less competition for nutrients and water.

Water: Make sure your grass gets enough water. It is especially important to water well when you are establishing new growth.

White Oak Pro lawn care can give you a free estimate on making all or some of these improvements to your lawn. Give us a call to schedule a free  estimate at your convenience. We offer year round service for yard and tree cleanup and very competitive prices for mowing services.

There are two types of lawns predominantly in East Tennessee: Fescue and Bermuda. There are several varieties of each of these types of turf.

Fescue is considered a “cool season” grass. There are many varieties from full sun to partial shade fescues that do very well in our area. This grass variety grows most aggressively in the spring, early summer, and fall times of the year.

Bermuda is a “warm season” grass and there are many varieties of this turf grass as well. It becomes dormant   during the winter and then starts to green up in the late spring. It again becomes dormant in the fall.   Although drought hardy during the summer months,   Bermuda can be very invasive by the aggressive spreading of rhizomes into unwanted areas such as flower gardens and walkways.

To produce a beautiful flower garden, you need to keep weeds out and retain moisture in the soil.

The best way to help with these needs is a good layer of mulch over your garden each spring. Not only does the mulch help hold moisture in the soil, but it also creates a barrier between weed seeds and the soil.

White Oak Pro offers mulch  delivery and placement in your garden within a 20 mile radius of our offices for as little as $45.00 per cubic yard. (Minimum 3 yards) Let us know if we can help you with your mulch needs.

We are often asked, “Why is water running between my gutters and facia—leaving water marks on the facia?”

The Gutters—They need to be kept clean. When they are not draining properly they start holding water. Water is heavy (approx. 8 pounds per gallon). When gutters overflow there is often hundreds of pounds of water being retained by the gutter. This causes the gutter to slowly start pulling away from the facia. Eventually rain water will start running  between the back of the gutter and the   facia. If you see the

“Tale-Tell” signs of streaking on your facia you will need to get your gutters cleaned before further damage is caused to your home. If you need help with your gutter cleaning needs please give us a call. We will be happy to set up a free estimate.

Processing an Insurance Claim

You are about to embark on what could be a very difficult time in your life and we can make it a lot easier. You have suffered an insurance loss and it is now time to address the situation.


First of all, who are the players? What do the terms mean?

1. You are the POLICY HOLDER, the client the property owner.

2. Your AGENT is the one who sold you the policy. Agents represent various insurance companies. They are marketing and sales experts who professionally represent various products offered by insurance companies.

3. The INSURANCE COMPANY is the one who issued the insurance policy and is the one who will have to pay for the damages.

4. The ADJUSTOR is an employee of the insurance company who is to determine if the loss you have suffered is covered by the insurance policy and what the cost will be to repair the loss.

5. The INSURANCE POLICY is the document that creates a legal contract between you and the insurance company. The insurance policy clearly defines the coverage and reimbursement policy of the company who issues the policy.

6. There are several types if COVERAGE. The Coverage of the insurance policy determines what will be repaired or reimbursed by the insurance company. The two main types of coverage are PROPERTY and CONTENTS:

7. a) PROPERTY COVERAGE is the coverage that pertains to the physical structure of the home. It may also pertain to any permanently attached items; b) CONTENTS COVERAGE pertains to your personal property such as furniture, clothes etc.

8. DEPRECIATION is the amount that may be deducted from your coverage by the Adjustor due to the age or condition of the property.

9. RECOVERABLE DEPRECIATION is the amount held back by the Adjustor until the property is repaired back to its original condition, and then paid to the policy holder.

10. THE CONTRACTOR is the company who will make the repairs to the damaged property.

11. THE SCOPE OF WORK is a very detailed description of exactly how and what will be repaired and what the insurance company deems is a reasonable cost to complete the repairs.

12. THE BIDDING PLATFORM is the insurance recognized computer program that converts the scope of work into a dollar amount that the Adjustor is willing to pay.

13. THE LABOR COMPONENT is the amount the Bidding Platform determines is a fair amount to pay a tradesman for a certain repair.

14. THE MATERIALS COMPONENT is the amount the Bidding Platform determines is a fair amount to pay for the damaged property.

15. THE BID provided by a contractor should include the scope of work to be performed and the amount the contractor will be paid to repair the house. This amount should be the same as what the insurance company agrees should be covered by the loss.

16. The AGREED PRICE is the amount of the bid that the Adjustor and contractor have both agreed is a fair price to repair the property. All AGREED PRICES should include a detailed scope of work and define the materials and labor components of the scope work.

17. THE DECUCTIBLE is the amount the policy holder (homeowner) will have to pay before the coverage of the policy begins. An example of this would be something like this:

A homeowner has a tree hit their house. The total cost to repair their home is determined by the adjustor and the homeowner’s contractor to be $10,000.00. This $10,000.00 becomes an agreed price. The homeowner has a $500.00 deductible. The homeowner authorizes the contractor to make the repair. Once the repair is completed the homeowner pays the first $500.00 of the cost (The Deductible) to the contractor and the adjustor pays the remaining $9,500.00 of the cost to the contractor for a total payment between the two of $10,000.00.

18. SUPPLEMENTS – additional scope of work added to the original scope of work, and paid for by the insurance company. These supplemental additions are typically not known at the time of the original scope work was created.

19. THE WORKMANSHIP GUARANTEE is the guarantee the contractor offers the homeowner on the repairs that have been completed by the contractor.

White Oak Custom Construction

My wife and I decided to retire to the Smoky Mountains, after 30 years in Michigan. We bought property in Laurel Valley, from White Oak Realty. A house was designed and plans were made. When it was time to build our house, we hired White Oak Construction Company. From the onset Gil and his staff were great. Building a costume house (our first) from 500 mile away was worrisome.

However, White Oak Construction Company made it very easy. Gil understands mountain construction, because he knows mountain living. Every decision he made was the correct one. He minimized the cost and built the house we wanted. One of the most comforting statements from Gil was

“I want you to be happy, I’m your neighbor” and “someday I may need your recommendation” Now is that day.

Gil and his staff built our house in a very timely and cost efficient manner. Any future construction, remodeling or maintenance will be done through White Oak Construction Company.


Thomas Durkin

Thomas Durkin

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