Your home’s siding is like a cocoon. It protects the structure of your home and everything inside from environmental factors like the weather, temperature, and things like insects or pests. A lot like cocoons, siding doesn’t last forever. But instead of turning into something beautiful at the end of its life span, old siding turns into a nuisance. It hurts your curb appeal and doesn’t do a particularly good job of protecting your home.
But even though siding isn’t permanent, it can last for an impressively long time—20 to 50 years on average—given adequate care. Maintaining your siding is the key to ensuring it can do its job for as long as possible.
But what does siding maintenance entail, exactly? It sounds like a lot of work, but is it really? In this handy guide, we’ll discuss some maintenance tips to care for home siding.
Why Is Siding Maintenance Important?
Siding serves both a functional and cosmetic purpose for your home. It protects your home’s structure, foundation, and contents from the elements. No one wants to have a living room covered in rain, snow, or mud, and siding is the main part of your home that ensures the weather remains outside where it belongs.
The siding also keeps heated air from your HVAC system from escaping. If your siding is damaged, air can leak out. This forces your heating and cooling unit to overexert itself, which raises your energy bills astronomically.
Siding is also what makes your home look good. If you’ve ever passed by new home construction before, you’ve probably seen what houses look like without siding, and it’s not pretty. Dilapidated and dirty siding can decrease your home’s curb appeal and value, but well-maintained and clean siding can boost them.
General Maintenance Tasks
There are a few basic maintenance tasks you need to perform regardless of what material composes your siding. These tasks include a biyearly inspection and an annual clean.
Inspections are vital because they help you detect problems with your siding before they become out of control and outrageously expensive to repair.
Twice per year, walk around your home and carefully examine the siding for signs of damage. Common siding problems you should look for include:
- Mildew and mold
All types of siding become dirty over time. Repeated exposure to the elements cakes your siding in dirt, mildew, mud, and other stubborn debris. You can clean your siding yourself or hire a professional to do it. The smaller your home and the fewer stories it has, the easier it’ll be to wash, but the larger and taller your home, the harder it’ll be to clean.
Want to clean your siding yourself? Hose it down with a garden hose and then use warm, soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to remove whatever’s left behind. For mildew removal, use a solution that’s one part bleach to four parts water.
However, keep in mind that a professional deep cleaning with a pressure washer or professional cleaning tools and chemicals will yield much better results than a DIY clean.
Maintaining Different Kinds of Siding
There are multiple kinds of siding, and each kind requires specialized care. Here are some special maintenance tips to care for home siding for six of the most common kinds—brick and mortar, fiber cement, steel, stucco, vinyl, and wood.
Brick and Mortar
Brick is a lot more demanding than it looks!
When cleaning brick and mortar siding, use a brush, hose, and mild detergent. Brick is one of the few kinds of siding that you should never power wash because it can damage the mortar, caulking, and paint.
Brick also needs resealing every five years. Applying a silane or siloxane-based sealer will keep out moisture and prevent problems such as efflorescence and spalling.
Fiber cement siding is generally low maintenance. However, its color can fade over time. If you want to refresh your fiber cement siding’s color, remember to use exterior-grade acrylic paint.
Steel siding is also remarkably durable, but repeated exposure to the elements can scratch it up or cause it to rust.
You can use a nonabrasive stainless steel scratch remover to try and remove smaller scratches. For rust, use a wire brush to scrub off as much surface rust as possible, prime the surface with a rust-inhibitive primer, and then repaint the affected area.
Stucco tends to be harder to clean than other siding types. This is because it’s porous and absorbs dirt and soils more readily.
You also need to seal stucco with a clear concrete masonry sealer every five years to keep moisture from absorbing into the material. You might also want to apply an elastomeric coating to your stucco to seal up small cracks and add extra moisture protection.
Vinyl is relatively low maintenance, but there are still a few extra steps involved in maintaining vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding is more prone to damage than some other types of siding. If you have a lawn mower, trash can, bicycle, or other heavy object propped against your vinyl, a strong wind could push it inward and crack or break the siding. For this reason, you should avoid placing objects too close to your exterior walls.
Vinyl can also melt when exposed to hot enough temperatures. To prevent this, place your grills at least two to three feet away from your siding and keep outdoor bonfires to a minimum.
Wood is easy to clean but extremely high maintenance in other areas. You need to seal wood siding every two to five years with paint, stain, or a sealer, or else it will chip, crack, and rot.
Wood is also prone to discoloring, which you’ll need to fix with a wood cleaner or brightener. Rot, mold, and pests are also common problems with wood siding.
Is your home’s siding in disrepair? JK Paint & Contracting offers professional siding repair in Portland, Oregon. Whether you need cracks sealed, dry rot removed, or damaged and discolored paint touched up, we’ve got your back! Call us today to schedule repairs.