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How Much Maintenance Goes Into Wood Siding?

wood siding

There are a few primary things that compose the structure of your home.  There’s the foundation, the framing, the roof, and the exterior siding. That’s a pretty small set of components – which is why it’s important to understand how each impacts you as a homeowner.

Here in this article, we’ll be focusing on your home’s exterior siding.  More specifically, we’ll be talking about the maintenance that goes into caring for wood siding.

The Different Types of Siding

Before we launch out into the proper care of wood siding we want to do a quick walk through of the more typical styles of home exteriors that are available on the market.

  • Brick – A fairly common siding, brick siding provides the lowest overall maintenance (once installed there’s relatively nothing that has to be done to it).  The trade-off for this is that brick siding tends to be a more expensive siding option.
  • VinylAnother common (by some measures the most common) type of siding. Vinyl affords a wide array of different style, color, and appearance options and it tends to be more durable than other siding options.
  • Stone – A cousin to brick, this is a slightly less common siding option.  Stone provides an incredibly durable and rugged option but requires specialized labor to install that can be fairly expensive.
  • Wood – A classic siding option that we’ll explore more in-depth below.

Why Choose Wood Siding?

Wood siding has a long-standing cultural history; we humans have been sheathing our dwellings with it for centuries.  And there’s a few key reasons why:

Ease of Installation – Wood is far easier to install than other siding materials.  Both brick and stone require highly-skilled labor (masonry) that withdraw quite a high amount from your wallet.  Wood is both easy to handle (typically exterior siding will come in some form of sheet similar to plywood and/or as square shingle pieces). Additionally, it’s easy to apply (specialty screws are used to affix the wood siding onto the core framing of the home).

Classy Look – As mentioned, we humans have been cladding our structures in wood for centuries – and we’ve been using it in other components of our structures for even longer.  We have a long and intimate history with wood and that means that its look, touch, and smell have become ingrained in our psyche. What this translates into is that wood siding has a very desirable natural aesthetic that creates an attractive and classy look.

Eco-Friendly – Properly managed, forestry and wood production are highly sustainable.  That makes wood siding an excellent choice for those looking to minimize the impact their home is having on the environment.  And, when wood siding has reached the end of its life, it can be fully biodegradable material. As a result, that will support rather than harm the environment.

One important thing to consider when looking at wood siding though, is that there is quite a range of different species options available – some of these can be quite expensive.

Maintenance – Combating Moisture

The most important thing in maintaining your wood siding is preventing moisture from gaining access and remaining on the wood. Below we’ll walk through some of the common steps that you can take to prevent this unwanted moisture:

Protection

Always apply some sort of sealant on to your wood siding – a few of the more common options for this would be paint, stain, or clear sealant.  Using these will result in a protective film to be placed on the top of the wood that will prevent water from gaining access. 

Another important aspect of protection is properly managing the environment surrounding your wood siding.  Always ensure that soil is at least 8” removed from the bottom of your siding – soil will retain moisture and result in damage to your siding if left in either direct and/or close contact. 

If your home has a crawlspace the structure will likely have some sort of either stone or concrete block supporting this space. It will assist in setting this distance but managing this on other structures may prove to be a bit more challenging.

Cleaning

dirty wood siding

Another aspect of properly maintaining your wood siding is to give it routine washes.  A good rhythm to set is accomplishing this once a quarter but at minimum you would want to have this done once a year.

Before beginning, you’ll want to give a thorough survey of your siding to ensure that there are no points that need to be repaired (we’ll cover how to do this below) and that all surfaces are sealed in some way.

Once this is done, you’ll use a soft bristle brush and warm soapy water to scrub the siding down.  Be sure to go in small sections and work from the top of the house down to the bottom. Rinse each section free from soap as you go along.

Sometimes wood siding can develop mold and mildew growing on the exterior – these will show as dark patches.  To address this, use a mixture of undiluted bleach (one part bleach to four parts water) to spray on the siding and then thoroughly rinse this mixture off.

Repairing

There are a few primary ways that your wood siding can be damaged:

  • Warping – If there is slight warping present in the wood then you can secure the sections that are bowing out back down by using rust-resistant screws.  Be sure to countersink the heads and then have the gap filled with putty.
  • Holes – Similar to the above, you’ll want to use a waterproof putty to close off and seal the hole. You’ll just need to work in stages applying some into the hole, letting it dry/cure, and then applying more.  You’ll need to work in layers.
  • Splits – For places where there are cracks and splits, you’ll need to apply a water-proof glue into the gap and then either clamp or screw the two pieces into position.  Depending on the angle of application screwing will likely be the easier method of fastening.
  • Caulking – Caulk is an excellent way to seal off the perimeter edges of your siding.  Make sure that you grab a caulk that has matching coloration to your wood siding prior to applying.

Following these steps will ensure that your wood siding is properly maintained and held up to optimum performance levels.

Replacing Wood Siding

There’s a lot of maintenance that goes into wood siding (especially if you live in the Midwest). For what it’s worth, you’ll most likely spend a lot of money for maintenance and energy when you have wood siding. That’s why over 400,000 homeowners went with Feldco for their home improvement needs.

We have great quality vinyl siding that will save you on energy costs and maintenance. On top of that, we are proud of our local services that proudly help many of our customers with vinyl siding questions they may have.

We also have 8 showroom locations across Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin within a large service area. Lastly, we provide professional installation thanks to our installers who are ready to replace your wood siding with great quality vinyl siding. Speak to a product specialist about wood siding replacement and get a free quote online today.

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