When many homeowners think of siding for their home, their minds first think of wood. Wood has been used as a siding material for centuries. And despite of the prevalence of newer materials, it is still one of the most attractive options today. But before installing wood siding, homeowners often want to know how durable it is and how much maintenance it will require.
All siding materials need care. The maintenance need must be balanced against its cost and benefits, explains McGuire Management in Denver. Some siding materials are nearly maintenance-free but costly. Others need little care but are quite common. Wood is in the middle, in terms of the amount of care it requires. But it is at the top in terms of the value it offers.
Here are the five siding materials people are most familiar with:
Brick is the siding material that needs the least maintenance. Its aesthetic is unrivaled and it can last as long as a building. But it is expensive.
Stone is similar to brick. It is the most durable siding material, but is very expensive and requires special skills to install.
Vinyl is economical and quite a common choice. It is easy to maintain but tends to get damaged in strong wind and high temperatures.
Aluminum is an alternative to vinyl and has most of its qualities. Unlike vinyl, it does not crack, although it does dent and fade.
Wood is durable and versatile like vinyl but outweighs vinyl in terms of style. It is more expensive than vinyl but less expensive than stone or steel. Wood needs maintenance every 2-5 years. But despite of this apparent shortcoming, homeowners continue to choose it as their preferred siding material. Why is this?
The attraction of wood
For as long as homes have needed weatherproofing, people have been using wood. And even today, there are places where people do not even consider other siding material. Furthermore, almost every man-made siding material in the market tries to mimic the appearance of wood in some way. What are the wood’s qualities that make it such a compelling choice for siding?
Wood has an inexplicable quality that makes it strangely magnetic. Things made of wood are soothing and resonate with people strongly.
Wood is always in style. It comes in almost limitless textures and can be adapted to any style.
- Easy to install
Wood is arguably the easiest siding material to install; its installation time and cost are very low.
Is wood hard to maintain?
The common idea that wood siding needs frequent maintenance is wrong. Wood needs regular, not frequent, maintenance. It should be stained every 2-5 years. And it requires cleaning and inspection, at least, once a year. Compared to cheaper materials which do not require as much care, the benefits of wood outweigh its maintenance needs.
How to care for wood siding
- Moisture protection
Wood is porous and can absorb moisture. If it does, wood will warp, swell, and pull away. And even when dry, it may not return to its original state. To protect it from moisture, wood should be sealed with any of these sealing options:
- Paint: This comes in a variety of colors. Wood siding must be repainted every five years or as soon as the paint shows signs of deterioration.
- Stain: Stained wood still retains its natural appearance. The stain penetrates and seals the wood fiber. Wood stain is more resistant to damage than paint.
- Sealer: Clear sealer also allows wood to retain its natural look but it must be reapplied every two years.
- Cleaning and restoration
Dirt discolors wood and the siding should be cleaned at least once every year. Cleaning wood siding only requires warm soapy water applied with a soft-bristled brush. If there is discoloring due to age, the wood can be restored to its original color by applying a wood cleaner or brightener.
- Pest control
Wood siding should be inspected annually for termite infestation. In addition to termites, the inspection should look out for mold, mildew, rot, holes, and weakened spots. Also, wood siding needs to be at least six inches from the ground and should never have mulch or firewood stacked against it.
Wood siding is fairly easy to repair or replace, if damaged. Holes are easily plugged with wood putty. Warped siding can be screwed down or sawn shorter to fit. But if the damage is extensive, the whole board should be removed and replaced. Replacing boards in wood siding is easy.
Is Wood Siding Hard to Maintain?
Wood siding is not hard to maintain; it only requires regular care. Regular care is not the same as frequent care; it means care that is timely and adequate.
If homeowners are careful to give their wood siding the care it deserves, the siding will repay that favor. It will serve the homeowner for a far longer period than they would get with most man-made materials.