4 Essential Tips for Maintaining Wood Siding

Mar 17, 2020

Wood siding is an attractive option that brings a rustic appeal to any home exterior. However, homeowners with wood siding must be aware of the extra steps that are needed to keep it in good shape. Here are four tips to help you maintain your home’s wood siding.

1. Protect Wood Siding From Damage

Wood siding is softer than most other materials, which means that it’s more prone to dents, scratches, and cracks. Any penetrations in the surface of wood siding can allow moisture to set in, potentially causing the siding to rot from the inside out. Damaged wood siding is also a potential entry point for pests such as termites and ants.

To protect your wood siding, you should keep trees and bushes trimmed away from the outside of your home so that branches don’t scratch the siding. When you mow, be careful to keep the mower discharge pointed away from your home so that rocks or sticks thrown from the mower don’t damage your siding. If you have children or pets, make sure they don’t scratch or dent your siding as they play.

2. Clean Wood Siding Regularly

Nothing can make wood siding look worn and poorly maintained like dirt and grime. Even if your siding is otherwise in good shape, dark or dingy spots on the side of your home can easily ruin its appeal. If you are careful and have experience using a pressure washer, you can get rid of virtually any unsightly stain on your siding.

To pressure wash wood siding, first wet the siding with water and detergent using the pressure washer on the lowest setting. Next, you can use a 50/50 mix of water and bleach to focus on problem areas. Spray your siding with the tip of the pressure washer about six feet from the wall and still the lowest pressure setting.

Rinse and use detergent when needed and scrub heavily soiled areas with a soft bristle brush on an extension pole.

3. Paint or Stain Every Few Years

Painting and staining are the two primary options for protecting wood siding from moisture. Without a protective seal, water can leach into the pores of wood siding to promote rot and mold growth. If you choose to stain your siding, simply clean the siding, caulk any large gaps in the wood, and apply the stain with a wet brush. You should reseal your siding every three to five years.

While stain preserves the natural grain and coloring of wood siding, some homeowners prefer paint for its color variety and infrequent reapplication needs. You only have to paint wood siding every seven to ten years, but the application is more time- and labor-intensive. You will first have to scrape the old paint off and prep the surface for a new coat.

4. Repair or Replace Damaged Sections

Fortunately, wood siding is a very modular material. If one board becomes damaged, you can typically remove the damaged section and replace it. To cut and replace a damaged siding board, first use a square to mark vertical lines about a foot away on each side of the damage. Next, use a utility knife to cut away any paint and caulk holding the board in place.

The easiest way to cut out a section of a siding board is to use a multi-tool with a wood blade. You will then need to place a pry bar under the edge of the cut section and carefully rock it until the nails come free from the boards underneath.

After you remove the damaged piece, you can use it as a guide to cut a new board. Simply place the new board, nail it in place through the existing holes in adjacent boards, and caulk and paint the new section.

With these tips, you can keep your home’s siding in good shape for years or even decades to come. If you are in need of window and siding repair or installation, contact 1st Choice Windows & Siding for all of your home exterior needs!