Whether you are trying to keep previously installed siding in good condition or you just had new siding put on your house, wood siding is a serious investment, Nothing else on the market looks quite as good as natural wood. However, it is also the most difficult material to take care of. Taking good care of your wood siding not only means that your home retains its value, but also that you will not need to cause more trees to be cut down in order to replace it.
Keep Dirt From Getting into the Wood Like it or not, anything that spends the majority of its time outside is going to get dirty. This is especially true if you live in an urban or suburban environment where air pollution adds a layer of grime to anything that sits outside for more than a few days. Over time, that dirt and grime will start working its way through the paint and into the wood. Since wood cannot survive long without the protective coating of paint, this is going to seriously damage your siding. While rainwater may rinse much of the dirt off the side of your house, it carries its own pollutants, and will not reach everywhere. It is best to wash off your siding once a year with a hose or a power washer on a low setting. This ensures that there is no buildup anywhere on your home.
Paint As Soon As Wear Starts to Show Dirt is not the only enemy your wood siding faces. Paint simply does not last forever, and as was mentioned, as soon as that layer is gone, your house will be in trouble. The time you spend washing off the outside of your house is also the perfect time to do an inspection of the paint condition. Paint that is chipping, peeling, or bubbling indicate that it is time to do some painting. Before you repaint the whole house, consider the amount of paint that is actually damaged. If it is just a spot here and there, you can probably get away with just repainting those small areas and wait a few more years before doing the whole house. If a corner or wall is getting damaged, then look for a source of excess moisture. Addressing the leak will ensure that the new paint does not fail as quickly as the old.
Address Any Gaps In The Siding Immediately Just as paint chips are an access point for water and weather to get into the wood and eat it away, so are any gaps between the slats. All materials expand and contract as they heat and cool with the seasons, and wood is no exception to this. In addition, even painted and treated wood does hold some moisture. If your region is going through an unusually dry spell, that moisture could be released and cause the wood to shrink.
No matter the reason, these gaps are bad news. Ideally, you would pull down the siding and reinstall it minus the gaps, but this is not a reasonable solution unless the gaps are severe. Instead, use caulk to fill in the gaps, and then protect the seal with a fresh coat of paint. Just make sure you are purchasing exterior wood caulk that can expand and contract along with the wood without breaking the seal.
Keeping wood siding in good condition does take some work, but it is worth it. Simulated wood grain is simply not the same as the real thing. With proper care, you wood siding can last as long as you need it to. In fact, before you decide to replace it, talk to a siding professional. You might be surprised at what they can do to keep your siding looking great.