Your home’s siding is a strong line of defense from the outside elements. Combined with your roof, these two structures make sure that you’re protected from whatever is happening outside—rain, snow, extreme heat, bone-chilling temperatures, and more. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay much attention to their home’s siding, unless a problem persists. Some materials, like vinyl, last a long time and don’t need much attention, but others need a little extra care. Depending on what your home’s siding is made of will make a difference on how to maintain it over time, but all preventative maintenance will help elongate the life of your siding and keep it looking good as new. That’s why we’ve put together an article on how to maintain your home’s siding.
Keep an Eye Out for Damage
The first way to make sure your maintaining your home’s siding as best as possible is to keep an eye out for damage. Try to make it a habit to regularly inspect your siding for signs of damage by walking around and doing a thorough job. We recommend doing an inspection at least once every 6 months depending on your siding’s material, however you may need to make inspections more frequently. Start by looking for any signs of water damage. Water damage is easy to go unnoticed if you’re not actively looking for it, but can do a lot of damage when untreated. Wood siding that has been damaged by water will start to crack and peel, stucco siding starts to break apart and chip, and brick will show damage through mortar joints that crumble and fall off. Vinyl water damage is a little harder to notice, so just keep an eye out for any changes and call a professional if you need a second opinion.
Other types of damage, such as damage from heavy storms or strong impacts, are more noticeable. If this type of damage occurs, you’ll probably notice it right away. Make it a habit to do a quick walk around after major storms so you can address any problems sooner rather than later.
When you’re doing your inspection, check for any cracks, chipped pain, or other damages. If you notice any, contact a professional prior to cleaning or washing your siding to avoid further damage.
Paint and Seal Regularly
A fresh coat of paint makes a huge difference. Regardless of the type of siding you have, you should be regularly painting and sealing when necessary. If you have wood siding, aim for a fresh coat once every five years. If you notice paint chipping or signs of damage before then, paint it sooner. If you’re looking for a more natural, easier to manage option, consider staining your wood siding instead of painting it. While you don’t usually have to paint vinyl siding, some people opt to do it to help extend its lifecycle and brighten their exterior. Vinyl will eventually fade and when that happens, it starts to lose its aesthetic charm. If you’re not ready to replace it, adding a layer of high-quality paint can help lengthen its life. Only opt for light colors on vinyl such as white, gray, or a pale alternative to color. Before you paint your vinyl, check to see if your manufacturers warranty allows it. Some will void your warranty if you add a coat of paint, as doing it wrong will lead to intense warping and require a complete replacement.
If you have siding made out of fiber cement, a coat of paint will last a long time—sometimes even up to 20 years. If you’d prefer to paint it sooner, or just want a change of color, that’s no problem. Just make sure you’re using acrylic paint made for exterior conditions.
Adding a sealer to your siding can also help reduce moisture damage and keep your paint looking fresh for longer. Consider using a sealer once every few years for the best results.
Protect the Vinyl
If you have vinyl siding, there are a few added measures of precaution that you should take to help maintain its longevity. First and foremost, you need to make sure that you keep your vinyl away from any direct sources of heat. Vinyl is durable enough to withstand intense weather, but you shouldn’t put any unnecessary stress on it. Plus, vinyl melts at a much lower temperature than other siding materials so it’s better to add some distance between your siding and intense sources of heat. Otherwise, you might find out that you’ve successfully melted a wall.
In the same respect, avoid parking your vehicles or lawn accessories too close to your vinyl siding and try not to lean things against it. Again, it’s durable, but it will always last longer if you take a few precautions.
Keep it Clean
After inspecting your siding, if there are no signs of damage, it’s time to give it a good clean. Keeping your siding clean will help eliminate the buildup of grime, mildew, and dirt, revealing a beautiful and fresh appearance. For the easiest and fastest clean, we recommend investing in a good power washer. This will help eliminate any nasty buildup and will give you the power you need to get hard to reach areas. Power washers work best on vinyl and wood siding and should be used carefully on brick buildings to avoid unnecessary mortar deterioration.
To aid your cleaning efforts, it’s best to use a mix of trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water. Put ½ cup of TSP into 1 gallon of warm water and mix them together. Then, use this mixture to start scrubbing your siding. The best way to tackle your entire exterior is to divide the house up into small sections and work section by section. You can use attachments to scrub hard to reach areas and try to work from the bottom to the top. If you need to use a ladder, just make sure that you stay safe and have a partner to help. Rinse off the soapy mixture using your power washer for the best results.
If you’d rather hire a professional, that’s perfectly fine. In fact, professionals know exactly how to clean each type of siding without damaging it, making them a great option if you feel unsure about moving forward yourself. Just make sure you find a company that you can trust and expect to pay up to $500 for the entire job.
Trim Your Landscape
Another way to improve the longevity of your home’s siding is to make sure and keep your landscaping in check. Bushes, trees, and nearby shrubbery need to be trimmed and tame so that they don’t rub against your home’s siding. When they start to touch your home, it’s time for some landscaping. While a small bush might not seem like it would make a huge difference, with time the friction and moisture from the plant transfers to your home and can increase the deterioration process. To avoid any unnecessary damage, trim your landscape regularly. Not only will this help protect your home’s siding, it will lead to fewer instances of having to clean out your gutter, protection for your roof, and it will make your yard look great year round.
During this process, if you notice any damage to your siding, it’s important to address the problem as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that damage will spread, thus costing you more time and money. To repair vinyl, fiber-cement, or wood siding, we recommend calling a professional. The process is a bit complicated and if done incorrectly, can create more damage. If your home is made of brick and mortar, tuckpointing will need to be done. Stucco damage can usually be repaired easily with caulk, but as always, a professional repair job will ensure that everything is done as best as possible. As a rule of thumb, unless you’re a trained carpenter or have the specific set of skills required to make repairs, avoid trying to do this job yourself. It could end up costing you a substantially larger amount of money in the long run.
If you’re looking for an expert siding and roofing company you can trust, look no further than First Star Exteriors Roofing & Siding. We work to give you the perfect balance between hands-on and personable partnerships, high quality of work, and speed of delivery. With over 10 years of experience, the professionals at First Star Exteriors are here to help you with all of your roofing and siding needs. We offer fast turnarounds for quotes and services to make sure your needs are addressed in a timely manner. Contact us today and receive your quote within 48 hours!