How to Maintain Wood Siding

Six steps for a more beautiful home

Wood siding isn’t new. It’s been around, well… since wood was invented some time ago. While its use as a home siding alternative has declined since the advent of aluminum and then vinyl siding, even new homes can include wood siding. Benefits of wood siding include its natural beauty, its native insulation factor, and that it’s an eco-friendly resource. Right – its good for the environment!

On the other hand, wood siding has a big drawback. Wood is of course biodegradable – which means that if you don’t maintain it, say goodbye to your beautiful home. Neglect can lead to damage caused by water, moisture, and pests. Said another way: you need to take regular care of your wood siding.

Here’s how to maintain wood siding:

1. Trim back bushes or trees from touching the wood siding.

Since contact with wet leaves and branches can increase its susceptibility to rot, trim away the bushes and trees so that there’s no contact with your siding.

2. Clean your gutters regularly.

Water and ice can dam up and cause real damage to siding. Try to clean gutters twice a year – once in the fall after the leaves have fallen and before the winter, and once in the spring.

3. Clean off dirt and mildew from the siding.

At least once a year, applying a brush with soapy water to the wood is sufficient. If the siding is particularly dirty, consider using a power washer – but on low settings so that the wood is not damaged. For mildew, apply a solution of either 3 parts water and 1 part white vinegar (or bleach) to the mildew spots.

If there are plants around the area you are cleaning, cover the plants with a sheet or tarp so as not to damage the plants with cleaning solution.

4. Re-caulk around doors and windows as needed to keep water out.

Any gap or space between siding and structural elements is an opportunity for water to get in. Check areas around doors and windows during your annual cleaning and seal up any visible gaps with a quality caulk material.

5. Apply a clear sealer or wood stain to the siding.

Clear sealer helps protect wood against bleaching by sunlight, but penetrates less deeply. Typically, a clear sealer can be applied every few years.

Wood stain is a more effective protectant, as it sinks deeper into the wood and lasts longer against moisture. Typically, you’ll want to apply two coats every four years. Consider using a paint sprayer to apply the stain, as it may be quicker and more evenly spread. Of course, cleaning a paint sprayer isn’t that fun, but may be worth the investment in time savings. It should be applied every 4 years.

6. Whenever you see damaged siding, replace it as soon as possible.

Because of the harsh winters and wet springs, damaged siding can let in and trap moisture, causing much more serious damage. Plus, damaged siding may make it easier for animals and pests to enter the house.

Any siding that is cracked, rotted, or broken should be replaced and restrained immediately. This can sometimes be best completed by a professional, as ripping the piece off may cause damaged to yet-undamaged siding.

Have Questions?

Bennett Contracting has been siding homes for 100 years. We like to think we’re pretty good at it, and our 99% satisfaction rating on Angie’s List tells us that our customers think so, too. For more information on siding your home with either wood or vinyl, contact us!