Cedar Home Siding Maintenance | Maintaining Your Cedar House Siding
Cedar siding is beautiful, but it also takes some effort to preserve that beauty. Regular care is required, so homeowners must be prepared to put in some time and a little elbow grease on occasion. It isn't glamorous, but routine maintenance sure beats fixing big problems down the road.
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Maintaining Cedar House Siding -- Cedar Rot
With most wood siding, the biggest problem homeowners face is moisture. Water penetrates even the tiniest of cracks or crevices. It seeps in, it leaks in moisture is pervasive and persistent. And damaging. However, homeowners only have to take a few simple steps to protect their wood siding from the elements. Here are the most important ones:
~ Regularly inspect your flashing and caulking. Make sure water doesn't have a way to get in.
~ Try to keep your indoor humidity around 40%.
~ Install heating wires as a preventive measure. If you locate the in the eaves, they can melt ice buildups and keep water from backing up and getting underneath your roof shingles.
~ Make sure your attic is well insulated, and that there is good air circulation.
Any of these steps can easily be tackled as a DIY project, or you can hire a professional to make quick work of them. In either case, it's money well spent. It'll make a noticeable difference in the life of your siding and your energy efficiency, and improve the value of your home.
Cleaning Cedar Siding
There's always a downside to beauty, most often in the form of higher maintenance, and cedar siding is no exception. You'll have to work hard to fend off a variety of annoyances, such as mildew and mold spores, bugs, and just plain dirt.
One easy way to clean cedar siding is to rent a pressure washer. Use the lowest setting so that you won't damage your wood siding, especially since cedar is a soft wood. Pressure washers make quick work of a dull chore, but they do introduce an element of risk with all that water. Be careful not to let it get behind the panels or shingles! You'll wind up with a problem much bigger than just dirty siding.
Another method is to use a vinegar and water mix, or a solvent made of bleach, TSP and water, and use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the dirt. Vinegar is a natural enemy of mold and mildew, so there are additional benefits to this solution. In no time, your siding will look like new again.
Whether you're working with shingles or shakes, the problems will be roughly the same. Moisture is your primary enemy. If you live in a damp climate, you'll have to be extra vigilant. Wood siding requires periodic maintenance in addition to cleaning, such as repainting, treating, or restaining.
Wood siding, however, is organic, renewable, energy efficient and biodegradable. Shingles or boards can be replaced when necessary. With the proper care, your wood siding should continue to look beautiful and protect your home for many, many years to come.
Here are a Few Important Tips for Effective Wood Siding Maintenance
Make sure your downspout extends all the way to the ground. This will help keep moisture away from your siding. Conduct regular inspections of your downspouts and gutters. Make sure they're free of obstructions from leaves and other debris. Trim nearby and overhanging branches to prevent falling leaves and other items from landing in there. Treat your siding with an anti-fungal solution. You can use a readymade product or make your own with borax or vinegar. Repaint, restain, or otherwise treat your cedar every five to seven years, as necessary. This will protect the wood and restore its appearance.
Dealing with Pests
Homeowners with wood siding will always have to keep their eyes peeled for signs of termites or other infestations. Another neighborhood pest that can do real damage to your cedar siding, however, is the woodpecker. Woodpeckers are more than just a noisy annoyance. Their knocking and pecking is their attempt to look for insects and their next meal, as well as a form of communication (usually defining their territory). Their constant peck-peck-pecking can create holes in your significant investment, so you'll want to find a way to discourage them. You might try hanging wind chimes. You could even make your own by attaching a couple aluminum pie tins to a short piece of fishing line.
You could also tempt them away from your siding by hanging some suet in an alternative location. Woodpeckers love suet, especially when it's easy to come by, and they'll head for that before banging their beaks against your siding.
Helpful Hints for Cleaning Your Cedar Siding
Make sure your windows are closed! You don't want to spray water into your living room. Angle the spray away from doors and windows. Cut the power to any outside lights that may get wet. If you have shrubbery or flowers below, protect them from your cleansers by covering them with plastic. Remove anything that might get in the way of cleaning the siding, or get in your way (safety first!).
Work from the bottom up when washing, and the top down when rinsing. Don't take a break after washing but before rinsing! You don't want your cleaning solution to dry while on the siding.