The sun is shining and it’s time to maintain wood siding of your metro Detroit home. Your siding is built to take the brunt of ice, cold, wind, heat, and anything else mother nature throws at it. While your siding is tough, it requires regular TLC and upkeep. 

Maintaining Wood Siding

You should clean your siding annually. When you choose to clean it depends on you. We recommend a good spring cleaning. You will need the following to complete the cleaning of your wood siding.
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Warm, soapy water made of dish soap and warm water
    • -or- a store-bought solution
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Garden hose with sprayer nozzle

How to Clean Your Siding

Follow these steps for your yearly cleaning or prepping to re-seal and maintain wood siding. 
  • Select one part of the house you plan to tackle. Break that side down into thirds or halves to tackle. 
  • Remove any stuck debris from your siding. This includes spiderwebs, bird nests, clumps of mud, wasp nests, and more.
  • Wet the area of siding you are working on.
  • Brush the solution horizontally from the base in small sections and rinse from the top down. 
  • Rinse the siding from the top to the bottom
  • Scrub the siding again and rinse. 
  • Repeat until you’ve finished all of your siding. 
  • Let your siding dry for at least 24-48 hours before painting.

Mildew Removal

Mildew can be an unsightly nuisance on your siding. We recommend cleaning the area of siding with a specific fungus-killing cleanser. It may be wise to cover any nearby plants. Mildew-killing cleansers are harmful to plants. Additionally wear protective eye coverings to ensure you don’t get splashed. 

Rust Stains

Rust stains occur where a non-galvanized fastener has been used. To remove rust stains from wood siding, clean the area with a mixture of oxalic acid dissolved in warm water. Four ounces of acid in one cup of water. It’s critical to wear eye protection and acid-proof gloves. Gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush and rinse thoroughly with water. Avoid splashing the acid/ water mixture on nearby surfaces and it may be worth covering any plants. 

Power Wash Wood Siding

Power washing your wood siding is not recommended. Wood can gouge easily with the power washer. If there are gaps in caulking, a power washer will force water into those gaps which can lead to problems. If you must power wash, it may be in your interest to hire a professional. Sealing Your Wood Siding As the spring thaw happens, wood siding can expand and contract. Sealing your siding can help prevent chips in the paint, cracks in the wood, and caulking damage. Seal your wood siding every so often to limit problems with expansion and contraction. 

Paint

Re-painting your siding is recommended every 5 to 10 years. If you are looking to paint over the stain, consult this article on how to paint over stained siding. When you are ready to re-paint your wood siding, follow these easy steps.
  • Clean your siding
  • Caulk the joints
Seal off any areas that moisture could penetrate. Use a high-quality exterior caulk and fill all the gaps before painting.
  • Prime the house
When priming, select a color a few shades lighter than the actual color you are using.
  • Paint the house
Homeowners have options to roll on or spray on paint. Be sure to tape off anything you don’t want to be painted if using a sprayer. 

Stain 

Re-staining your siding needs to be completed every 3 to 5 years. Stain is different than painting as the stain penetrates the wood fibers and seals them off from moisture. It differs from paint in that stain protects against chipping and cracking, unlike paint.  Re-staining your house is a little quicker than painting as there is no primer step. 
  • Clean the surface as listed above.
  • Wait until the wood siding has dried out. 
  • Caulk the gaps to make a water-tight seal.
  • Stain with a high-quality oil-based exterior stain.

Inspect for These Issues to Maintain Wood Siding

Caulking

If the caulking around your windows starts to crack or peel, water can find its way in and cause your siding to rot. Look at the caulking around the windows and trim boards. Re-do the caulking if the old caulking is worn, torn, or gone altogether. 

Roof Venting

Venting lets your house breathe. Trapping hot air and humidity in your attic can lead to rotten siding or other damage. If your home has ice dam issues in the winter, you likely have a ventilation issue in your attic. Don’t wait until it turns into a large problem and contact an expert today.

Repair

Repairing wood siding may come in different forms. If it’s replacing an entire section, we’d recommend contacting a professional. If you are patching some holes, you can use putty, primer, and paint to seal the hole or indentation. 

Lawnmower damage

Lawnmowers throw rocks and branches and will ding or dent your siding. Look for these dents and patch them with wood putty and paint over them. Large cracks may need the replacement of the entire board. 

Insect or woodpecker damage

If your wood siding shows evidence of carpenter ants or woodpecker damage, there are steps to take to eliminate the problem. If insects are the problem, contact a local company to treat them.  Some woodpeckers are protected, so removal isn’t recommended and can depend on your local laws. However, you can take some measures to keep the woodpeckers away.  Put suet away from your house or use an old CD on some fishing string to startle the woodpeckers away.  Some small animals may chew on wood siding or fascia. Animals like squirrels chew on wood to keep their teeth short. Certain scents repel squirrels. An owl decoy will keep them away temporarily, but you will need to move it regularly so the squirrel does not get used to its presence. 

Maintain Wood Siding is Worth The Upkeep

At Kearns Brothers, we’ve been helping metro Detroit homeowners with their home exteriors for nearly 40 years. We proudly carry siding options for every price point. If your siding needs replacement, please contact us for a free estimate.