Of all the different types of siding on the market today, wood siding maintains its hold on the timeless, classic look that many homeowners love—though it’s declining in popularity due to the rise of lower maintenance siding types that mimic the look of wood. In fact, in 2017 just five percent of new, single-family homes used wood or wood products as the principal exterior wall material.

However, those homeowners with wood siding will want to stay on top of necessary care and maintenance in order to prolong its lifespan and keep that unique, real wood look. If you happen to be one of those homeowners, keep reading to learn how to care for wood siding.

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Wood Siding Maintenance

man using pressure washer to clean wood sidingCleaning wood siding

Wood siding requires careful, regular maintenance when being cleaned. Mold and mildew, in particular, are a big threat to wood siding and must be removed to prevent serious damage in the future.

Wood siding can be pressure washed, but the pressure setting should be low to avoid damage to the wood. If you’re uncomfortable using a pressure washer or don’t have the time, hire a pressure washing pro to clean your siding. They have the right tools and knowledge to get the job done.

Staining, sealing, and painting wood siding

Protect your wood siding by sealing it with either stain, clear seal, or paint.

Stain penetrates the wood siding and seals the fibers against moisture. Stain coats are resistant to issues like cracks and chips that may arise with painted wood siding. Since stain penetrates the fibers, it is difficult to change the color afterward, if you want to use a different color stain later.

Clear seal keeps moisture out and shows off the beautiful natural color of wood siding. These sealers are designed to slow down the greying that happens when wood siding is exposed to UV rays, but wood siting will eventually turn grey over the years even if it has a clear seal. Reapply clear sealers every couple of years.

Paint is another option for protecting your wood siding. Although it does cover the natural color of the wood, the texture of the wood siding is still visible. It’s a good option if you don’t particularly like the stain previously used on your wood siding. Paint should be reapplied about every five years, or whenever you noticed chipping and cracking in the paint job. Deteriorated paint exposes your wood siding to the elements.

Whichever method you choose to seal and protect your wood siding, be sure to reapply it throughout the years. One coat of clear seal, stain, or paint won’t protect your siding forever. Call a professional painting company to seal wood siding and extend its life.

Preventing Damage to Your Wood Siding

painted wood siding that has been damagedIn addition to regular cleaning and maintenance, take some steps to protect your siding from damage throughout the year. The main dangers for your wood siding are moisture and insects, primarily termites.

How to prevent moisture and insect damage

  1. Keep humidity levels down inside your home.
  2. Ensure that your home is properly insulated and ventilated.
  3. Clean your gutters regularly and make sure they’re diverting water away from your home.
  4. Keep plants, trees, and firewood away from your siding. These attract moisture and insects, so the further away from your wood siding, the better.
  5. Look for signs of termites, such as wings or mud tubes on your siding or foundation. Better yet, schedule regular termite inspections with a professional pest control company and ask about termite prevention and treatment.
  6. Conduct an annual inspection of the exterior of your home, and call a qualified pro right away if you notice anything concerning, such as holes in your siding or cracks in your foundation. It’s also a good idea to inspect after heavy rains and big storms.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

DIY the small things

Regular inspections of your home’s exterior are easy DIY tasks. Add it to your calendar twice a year and make a day of going around the outside of your home, familiarizing yourself with its condition, and keeping an eye out for any damage.

If you think you can handle cleaning your wood siding on your own, give it a shot. But don’t be afraid to call in a professional if you’d rather spend your Saturday doing something fun instead.

Hire a pro for the hard stuff

For a job done right, you’ll want to hire a professional to seal your siding. It takes many hours and hard physical labor to paint, seal, or stain a whole house. A proper paint job requires extensive prep work, too.

Any siding replacement and repair is best left to a seasoned pro. If you spot damaged siding, you’ll want the issue addressed correctly the first time, or you’ll have more issues to deal with later.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve got wood siding, you’ve got to take care of it. Clean, seal, and protect your wood siding to ensure that it lasts for years to come. You don’t even need to do all the maintenance work yourself. Best Pick Reports researches qualified pros who can get through all your home projects to your full satisfaction—in fact, we guarantee it.