Maintenance Tips for Every Type of Home Siding
Most houses are sided with one of three materials: vinyl, wood, or fiber cement. All three of these types of siding can be damaged over time in their own way. Follow these tips to care for each type of siding during winter, so you can stay proud of your home year-round.
Fiber Siding Care
Fiber cement siding like James Hardie has become known as one of the most durable and weather-resistant siding products available in the market. However, fiber cement siding also benefits from preservation steps so it retains its lasting appeal.
- Work with an Experienced Siding Contractor: More than other siding materials, fiber cement requires topnotch installation techniques to protect your manufacturer’s warranty. The boards are heavy and require an expert team that knows how to move and hang the siding to James Hardie’s high standards.
- Paint It Regularly: Though it doesn’t wear down as quickly as wood, fiber cement siding does require a new coat of paint after 10-15 years. Choose a top-shelf, quality paint to ensure lasting results.
- Do a Gentle Cleaning Once a Year: Washing off dirt, dust, mold, and other debris is important to fiber cement siding maintenance, especially after winter’s wear and tear. A simple, gentle cleaning regimen with soap, water and a garden hose will make this a breeze.
Vinyl Siding Care
Out of the three siding materials, vinyl is probably the easiest to maintain, needing very little of your time. This makes it one of the most popular forms of home exterior siding material. However, there are still some things you can do to help your home’s siding last as long as possible.
- Install Vinyl Siding in Spring: First of all, if you’re planning to have beautiful new vinyl siding installed, wait until warmer weather is here before doing so. Installing vinyl during the coldest months risks siding expansion, which can lead to buckling and cracking. The truth is, both ends of the extreme weather spectrum are bad for new siding. Ideally, you’ll want your siding contractor to do the installation when temperatures are around 50-60 degrees.
- Rinse Vinyl Siding to Remove Dirt: Although vinyl is extremely durable, rinsing it once or twice a year will help remove dust, grime, fungus, and mildew—so it can keep looking attractive. Use an ordinary garden hose to wash your vinyl siding. If removing a stubborn stain, use a gentle soap in water or other specialized vinyl cleanser.
- Say No to Paint: Vinyl siding is not made to take paint. In fact, painting vinyl siding can make it look worse than before it was painted—and this can even void the manufacturer’s warranty. If you notice old vinyl siding has faded or has become discolored, it’s better to choose a color you love, install new siding in that tint, and then care for it so it lasts as long as possible.
- Protect against Damage: Vinyl siding is susceptible to the effects of harsh cleansers, and can be dinged and dented by debris. So if you’re doing outdoor projects, be mindful of your siding. Cover the vinyl if you’ll be spraying pesticides. Trim trees and bushes so they don’t scrape your home exterior during windy weather. Move grills a safe distance away so the heat can’t do damage.
Wood Siding Care
Homeowners love wood siding because of its classic appearance, but it definitely needs a lot of care to stay in good shape.
- Do Regular Visual Checks: Excess moisture can be the enemy of beautiful wood siding. Being on the lookout for signs of rotting is a wise idea, especially in Illinois where melting snow and ice melts can wear down wood siding. To keep your home’s wood siding looking gorgeous, do a visual inspection every few months to look for peeling paint, which is a sign of too much moisture.
- Treat Wood to Withstand Moisture: Since wood siding is so vulnerable to water, it is of utmost importance to seal wood siding with paint, stain, sealer, or all of the above. Sealant can be applied every two years. Every 5 to 7 years, a fresh coat of paint is a smart idea to provide additional years of protection for your wood siding.
- Make Repairs Quickly: If you notice rotten, warped or loose siding boards, don’t delay repairs. Acting fast can limit how much the wood rot spreads, saving you in the long run. A professional siding contractor (like our team!) can address these concerns.
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