How to Achieve Long-Lasting Protection for Natural Wood Siding
You have chosen not to surround yourself with artificial things. You would rather have the warmth and earthliness that can only come from natural wood siding.
But choosing the most attractive type of siding for your home's exterior does not come without its pitfalls. Unlike aluminum and vinyl, wood is vulnerable to rot, water and insects. Even the sun's ultraviolet rays are bad for wood siding, as they cause it to gradually chip, crack and peel away.
Fortunately, it isn't difficult to keep wood siding strong and attractive. With a little maintenance and a couple of easy sealing and coating techniques, you can give your siding the long-lasting protection it deserves!
Keep Vegetation Away From Wood Siding
This siding preservation technique is so simple that it's technically landscaping. Don't let bushes, shrubs, trees, or any other plants brush up against your siding. Trim them away if they do, as that prevents damp leaves from trapping water against the siding's surface.
Repair Damaged Siding Immediately
Your home's siding doesn't just enhance its appearance. It also makes up the majority of its exterior envelope – i.e. the barrier that keeps water outside of your home where it belongs. Wherever there is damaged siding, there is another chink in a house's armor. Fix it!
Clean Gutters Every Six Months
Backed up gutters are bad news for wood siding. It doesn't matter if it's shake, shingle, split log, tongue and groove, board and batten, or lap. If a blocked gutter dribbles water on wood siding for an extended period of time, then rot and warping are both inevitable. That's why protecting your home includes clearing its gutters free of twigs, leaves, pine needles and other debris at least twice a year.
Clean Siding Annually
Even if you live in pristine countryside, the air is bound to deposit plenty of dust, dirt and pollen on your siding. Wood's porous surface also makes a perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew and algae – three things you never want in or on your home.
These surface-level problems require a surface-level solution: annual cleaning. You can do it quickly with a pressure washer, so long as you take care to use a lower pressure that is safe for siding. Whereas tough vinyl siding can withstand 2,500 to 3,000 psi, soft-grain wood can only handle 1,200 to 1,500 psi before taking permanent damage.
Uncertain of your ability to safely wield a pressure washer around your siding? You can try a no-scrub spray cleaner that screws onto the end of a regular garden hose instead. But for the very best results, use Lovitt's 2-Step Cleaner & Brightener – a professional grade wood restoration system that goes on quickly and efficiently!
Caulk Every Five Years
Depending on the product and where it is applied, exterior caulk can last anywhere from five to 25 years. We recommend sticking to a five year caulking schedule just to be safe.
Inspect your home's exterior for gaps between its siding and other structural elements. If you discover crevices where water could infiltrate, seal them up with beads of exterior caulk. Pay special attention to spaces around doors and window frames. Both are common access points for rainwater and meltwater.
Seal or Stain Every Four Years
Like a log home, a home with wood siding requires a fresh protective treatment every four years. Assuming you do not want to conceal your siding in opaque paint, you have a choice of two products: sealer, or stain.
Sealer protects against water, fungus and insects. It also does not contain pigments that significantly change the color of the wood. Transparent sealer doesn't protect against sunlight, but it is preferable when you insist on preserving the wood's natural tone.
Stain provides all the same protections as sealer, and does so even more effectively because it penetrates wood deeper. But because it is pigmented, stain also shields the natural wood's surface against solar radiation. Stains may be translucent, completely opaque, or anywhere in between. The darker they are, the more UV light they absorb. Darker stains alter the siding's appearance more dramatically. We recommend testing out a few stains before deciding which one you like best.
The best stain for wood siding? Call us biased, but that would have to be a two-way tie between Lovitt's Emerald Gold and Natural Gold. Both are durable, low VOC, easy to apply, made with quality oils and resins, and available in natural, cedar, honey and brown sugar colorations. You can test out our products affordably by ordering an Emerald Gold or Natural Gold sample kit.
With a little precaution and the right products, it's easy to keep your wood siding intact and lustrous. And if you need any help choosing the best stain for your wood exterior, then we welcome you to contact the friendly and knowledgeable team at Lovitt's Coatings today!