Wood siding is one of the most beautiful, but also most expensive types of siding. While the natural aging process of wood is unavoidable, and there will eventually come a time when it will be necessary to completely sweep away at least some of the planks, it will not come as quickly in every case. In today’s article, we’ll look at what you need to do to make your siding last as long as possible.
Any Wood Siding Must be Regularly Maintained
Right at the outset we must point out that any wood exposed to the elements will sooner or later begin to show signs of wear, so regular maintenance is essential. Whether you choose cedar, oak or mahogany wood, the degradation process will continue. With the right chemicals, we are able to make some processes go slower, but we will not stop them. There is also no wood that is not sensitive to the passage of time. If you’re looking for a solution that doesn’t require sanding, painting and waterproofing, be sure to consider ACM panels or vinyl siding.
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Start by Choosing a Wood Sealer Dedicated to Siding
Wood left outside changes its volume and temperature all the time. Although these processes are not visible at first glance, it is difficult to deny their existence. A product that will protect you from wood siding rotting and fading is a paint, sealer or stain.
The most classic way to protect wood from rot is to paint it with paint – a practice that has been known for many years. The product itself is relatively inexpensive, and most people will easily perform the maintenance of their siding themselves. Unfortunately, this task requires a lot of time, because before you get down to painting, you need to clean all the planks as thoroughly as possible. If you don’t do this, the coating will start to fall off and your wood siding will not look favorable. Also keep in mind that the paint comes off quite quickly, making it necessary to repeat the entire painting process every few years, including stripping off the old coating.
The application of stain is much simpler – the preparations consist primarily of washing the dirt off the wood siding as carefully as possible. Unlike paint, this chemical penetrates the interior of the planks, limiting the absorption of water. Unfortunately, wood that is painted with stain will always already have its color, so if you decide to apply it, you must expect to have to continue applying it or use paint.
It is best to use a paint gun to apply the stain – the resulting coating will be even and the process will be much faster.
You can also use a clear sealer. Contrary to the name, such a coating changes the color of the siding a bit, but it is the most “neutral” preservative. Forming an almost transparent coating, the sealer reduces the effect of UV radiation on the wood, so you can count on slower graying of your wood siding, but the protection is not total. An additional advantage of these products is their biocidal properties – most varnishes and sealers are toxic enough to fungi and pests that planks are unlikely to begin to rot or mold.
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Clean Your Wood Siding Each Year
Remember also that wood siding requires fairly regular cleaning. At least once a year you should use warm water with detergent and a brush to wipe off the moss, mildew and dust that settle on the walls. Ideally, you should perform this activity in April, as the fairly high daytime temperatures will accelerate the drying of the wood, and at the same time the amount of dirt in the air decreases. If you are exceptionally concerned about aesthetics, you can also carry out wood siding cleaning in July, when the plants have stopped dusting – a layer of dirt has certainly already collected on the walls.
It is worth remembering that the walls should be cleaned from top to bottom to avoid streaks. For multi-story houses, this can be challenging, but remember that you can always contact the professionals at A.B. Edward, who will be happy to take care of washing the siding for you.
Use a Moldicide Dedicated to Wood Siding
Mold and other fungi pose a very serious threat to wood siding, as they cause it to decompose rather quickly, change its color (black and brown stains appear) and are also dangerous to humans. A rule of thumb can be made that everything that lives on the planks, including moss and insects, should be removed, because at best, their presence simply deteriorates the appearance of your home.
The solution to your problems are chemicals – fungicides and herbicides, with which you can get rid of unwanted guests on your wood siding. Remember, however, that they are toxic to humans and animals, so read the instructions for use very carefully, wear protective gear such as a mask and special clothing, and do not exceed the recommended dosages. Also be careful of the surrounding plants, as fungicide drops can severely damage or even completely kill them.
If you’re afraid of using these potentially dangerous substances, contact us – we have experience in wood siding maintenance, so we’re happy to do the job for you.
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Repair Any Damage That May Have Occurred
Well, regardless of your care, individual pieces of wood siding will eventually be damaged. In places, mold may appear, symptoms of rot or mechanical damage resulting from hailstorms. Sometimes it also happens that particular shakes come loose and change their position, or warp because the wood has not dried properly.
Replacement of damaged shakes is necessary – in addition to aesthetic reasons, it is also about the risk of transferring moss / mold spores to other areas. In addition, the siding should be a monolith, because otherwise, it will let water through, and it should never be found inside the building.
We strongly suggest that you do not undertake siding repair on your own – you should use the help of specialists such as A.B. Edward, as you will gain confidence that everything will be done properly. Incompetent repair may result in further damage, which will be much more expensive to repair. In many cases, the help of a specialist will cost you between $250 and $500, while the major wood siding reconstruction may involce an expense of more than $10,000!
Care For Your Garden Wisely!
Your wood siding can suffer as a result of improper garden care. First of all, you should trim trees and shrubs in such a way that none of their branches touch the walls of the house. This is very important, because plants can damage the siding and carry moss.
Also remember that pollen stains walls. Wood siding painted white is particularly susceptible to the yellow dust that coniferous trees such as pines and spruces produce. While getting rid of these pollutants isn’t much of a problem, you’ll make the task much easier if you remove coniferous trees from close to your home.
Most of the wood species used for siding are hard, but not hard enough to withstand unscathed the impact of pebbles that can fly into the air when mowing the lawn. How to guard against this? Use a lawn mower with a basket, as all the debris goes into the container instead of flying to the sides. If you want extreme precision, cut the grass with a trimmer.
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Is it Expensive to Maintain Wood Siding?
Wood siding is not cheap to buy – its price can exceed the cost of installing vinyl many times over. Unfortunately, also maintenance can put a bit more strain on your household budget, with expenses being quite regular.
For a 2,000 sqft house, you should budget between $500 and $2,000 for annual wood siding maintenance. Much depends on its age (the younger, the lower the cost) and the care you take. You can do a lot of the siding maintenance yourself, and in such a situation, the only real costs will be paints/stains/sealers and your time, which you will have to spend.
Should I Have my Wood Siding Inspected Every Year?
Although as a siding contractor we should write that you should definitely make annual inspections of your cladding, we wouldn’t be honest. First of all, it is highly unlikely that any damage will occur within the first few years of installation. Of course, regular visits from specialists will allow for faster diagnosis, which can reduce the cost of any repairs, but let’s not kid ourselves – having to perform a siding replacement within first few years after installation is an extreme situation that happens extremely rarely.
The situation is slightly different if your siding is already more than 10 years old. If this is the case, we suggest that you take a regular look at the state of your walls, and contact us if necessary. It’s also a good idea to have your entire house inspected regularly – we can take care of not only the wood siding, but also the roof, gutters, windows or terrace.
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When is it Time to Replace Wood Siding?
As we have already mentioned, the lifespan of wooden siding is not unlimited. After 20-30 years, even the best-maintained cedar shakes will begin to rot, fall off or crumble. You should contact A.B. Edward for wood siding replacement if:
Many Pieces of Siding Are Rotten or Broken
If the damage is minor and is only in one place, you only need to make the appropriate repairs, which will cost you a few hundred dollars. However, if you see that a large portion of the shakes/planks qualify for replacement, it may be worthwhile to do a complete siding replacement. This is also a good time to consider whether you might be better off with other solutions, such as James Hardie Siding or ACM panels.
Impregnation Must be Carried Out Every Year
Newly installed wood siding, as a rule, does not require that it be impregnated every year – the natural resin inside the planks limits water absorption. Over time, the situation takes a turn for the worse, and as a result, the natural properties of the resin weaken, making the siding soak up water faster. Homes in Evanston, Higland Park, Lake Forest and other lakeside communities are particularly at risk, as the humid climate is extremely dangerous for wood.