The siding on your home is a crucial player in the structural integrity of your house. Along with your roofing, foundation, and windows, your home’s siding protects it from storm damage, pest intrusion, and more. The following siding maintenance tips will help you keep the siding in good condition for as long as possible. Furthermore, design-focused siding combinations offer a massive boost in the curbside appeal of your home – maintaining your siding keeps your home looking in good condition, too!
Most siding doesn’t require much maintenance. Your siding is designed to withstand the elements, be it proximity to bushes or trees or even have the occasional baseball thrown against it. Siding maintenance suggestions vary depending on the type of siding you have on your home, so we’ve broken this up into sections for the most commonly seen siding types: vinyl siding, fiber-cement siding, stucco, and wood.
Vinyl Siding Maintenance
Vinyl siding is a tough plastic material that entered the market in the late 1950s, replacing the once-popular aluminum siding, which tended to warp and show dents/dings more easily. Vinyl remains the most popular option for siding throughout the United States today as it’s durable and affordable. Many colors, textures, and decorative edges give homeowners flexibility when building or replacing their siding. Vinyl siding is resistant to rot, moisture warping, and termite infestations.
PRO NOTE: INSULATED VINYL SIDING ADDS COMFORT AND REDUCES ENERGY LOSS IN YOUR HOME. INSULATED VINYL SIDING HAS RIGID FOAM INSULATION PERMANENTLY ATTACHED TO THE PANEL, WHICH FIGHTS THERMAL BRIDGING BY BLANKETING THE HOME’S EXTERIOR TO REDUCE ENERGY LOSS THROUGH THE STUDS. READ MORE HERE.
Vinyl siding maintenance tips: Vinyl siding maintenance is as easy as it comes. Although vinyl doesn’t rot the same way that wood siding can, there are chances of cracks or punctures. To avoid this, trim shrubbery and trees away from the material, so it doesn’t cause damage over time. Vinyl’s material properties and durability make it easy to clean using a power washer to remove any mildew, dirt, or other stuck-on debris. (Read some vinyl power washing tips here before you get started).
Once a year, we recommend taking a bucket of warm water with mild detergent and scrubbing the surface for some extra TLC. You’ll likely want a long-handled, soft-bristle brush that extends for hard-to-reach areas. After cleaning, be sure to rinse your siding with clean water to remove any excess chemicals. Before starting this process, cover any surrounding shrubbery with tarps to avoid damaging your plants.
If you notice any cracks or punctures, call a reputable local siding contractor to perform an inspection and put together a repair estimate for you. A vinyl siding system consists of many overlapping panels of vinyl material. Repairs to vinyl siding are typically performed by replacing the individual damaged siding panels. Depending on the age of the system, the repaired area may have a different appearance even if an identical material is installed. If you’re in Charlotte and need siding repairs, call Signature Exteriors at (704) 729-4898 to schedule a free siding inspection that includes a no-obligation estimate for siding repairs.
Fiber Cement Siding Maintenance
Often called “Hardiplank” or “Hardie board” siding, fiber cement siding is made of cellulose reinforced with cement. As a result of manufacturing techniques, the fiber cement planks mimic the look of traditional wood siding. The material is more durable than traditional wood siding and stucco, is fire-resistant, and resists insects and rot. Like vinyl siding, fiber cement siding withstands damage from storms and is best known for its durability.
PRO NOTE: WITH GOOD MAINTENANCE, FIBER CEMENT SIDING CAN LAST UP TO 50 YEARS!
Fiber cement maintenance tips: Fiber cement is a great siding choice, but it isn’t perfect. One of the cons of fiber cement siding is its need for maintenance such as painting and re-caulking. You should inspect the caulk around your siding annually and check for any gaps or cracks that may need to be re-sealed. Ensure that your gutters and downspouts are in good working condition as the excess moisture from faulty gutter systems can wreak havoc on an otherwise healthy siding system. It’s also vital to keep fiber cement siding clean to avoid mold or mildew growth. Depending on the finish of your fiber cement, rent a power washer from your local home improvement store to remove any dirt, dust, mold, and mildew.
Stucco is a cladding material that consists of aggregate, a binder, and water. It’s a cement-based substance that is applied wet and hardens when it dries to provide a sturdy coating for interior and exterior surfaces. The two most common types of stucco systems are a 3-layer metal mesh system and EIFS systems. Stucco has a final layer, a finish coat, of a pigmented cement product, while EIFS system exterior coats are more commonly a pigmented acrylic material. For more information on stucco, take a look here. Stucco is a durable material, offering homeowners a 50-80 year of lifespan. Annually, stucco requires the lowest maintenance cost compared to other siding materials.
Charlotte, NC, has great Stucco companies to choose from. We recommend Serenity Stucco!
PRO NOTE: LIME IS OFTEN ADDED TO MODERN-DAY STUCCO TO DECREASE PERMEABILITY, INCREASE WORKABILITY, AND IMPROVE THE OVERALL PERFORMANCE OF THE MATERIAL.
Stucco maintenance tips: Stucco is one of the most durable siding materials on the market and does not require much maintenance. However, like anything, it may sometimes require a little attention and it’s important to understand how to maintain your stucco to keep it in the best condition. Stucco walls should be washed 2-3 times a year using a garden hose to remove a small amount of dirt and debris that collects over time. We do not recommend using a power washer as the pressure may erode the finish. It may be wise to use a medium-stiffness brush to get tougher dirt spots removed. Be careful to check and make sure the water or brush is not causing any abrasions against the stucco. If you’d like to use a soap mixture, we recommend a simple dish soap and warm water. A bleach and water solution can also be used but we recommend testing a small area of your stucco before cleaning with this solution as there is a risk that it may harm the color if done incorrectly. If you’re nervous about causing any damage with homemade mixtures, there are a few stucco cleaning mixtures sold on the market. We do not recommend painting over your stucco as it impacts its breathability and can inadvertently trap moisture inside the layers. Additionally, painted stucco does require a re-painting every 3-7 years which increases the maintenance cost for the material.
Wood Siding Maintenance
Many other siding options mimic the look of wood because, aesthetically, wood siding is a timeless and classic option. Wood siding comes in various types and styles, allowing its use in many purposes and climatic zones. Often made of cedar or redwood, since they’re decay-resistant, wood siding comes in many different styles, such as hand-cut shakes, shingles, clapboard, or solid wood. Wood siding is readily available, easy to install, and easily replaceable in case of any damage. Being easy to paint and easy to stain, it’s easy to achieve any aesthetic goals for your property. Wood siding requires maintenance to keep it looking fresh and avoid any moisture build-up on your home.
Insects and water damage are the most considerable drawbacks of wood siding. Regular maintenance is a necessity to avoid those kinds of damage. Without regular maintenance, there is a high chance of rot and warping. Termites and ants love wood siding and, without proper maintenance and repair, can cause costly damage to the structural integrity of your home. To prevent deterioration, you must regularly seal wood siding with paint, stain, or sealer. We recommend re-painting or staining every five years. Like other siding options, wood siding can be cleaned using soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Perform a siding inspection (or call a local contractor to assist) to re-caulk problem-prone areas or replace damaged or worn planks of siding.