The siding on your house is one of its most defining characteristics. It contributes significantly to the style, color, and curb appeal. Despite the wind, rain, snow, and sunlight that Mother Nature hits it with each year, most siding can last 20-40 years with proper care. Because it is so durable, most homeowners don’t think about their siding until this outer layer of protection fails and grabs their attention.

Annual Inspection

To avoid significant problems, you should examine the siding on your house each year. Spring is often a good time to do this inspection, as many homeowners are already in their yards clearing debris and fertilizing their lawn in preparation for summer. Look for imperfections or signs of damage.

  • Cracked Boards – Siding boards with cracks can be problematic. These cracks allow moisture to seep underneath the siding and may let wood-destroying insects in as well. Small cracks may also lead to larger gaps, allowing heating and air conditioning to escape.
  • Rot – Continuous exposure to rain, snow, and ultraviolet rays cause wood siding to rot. You may be able to repair areas with minor signs of damage by replacing individual boards. However, large areas of rot are an indication that the siding probably needs to be replaced altogether.
  • Moisture Damage – Signs of mold, mildew, or water damage inside the house could indicate more extensive problems in the siding. If you find mold inside, inspect those areas carefully outside, looking for places where moisture may be entering your home.
  • Warped Boards – Boards that no longer lay flat against the side of the house could be bulging due to water damage beneath the boards themselves. These siding boards are unsightly and no longer protect the house well from water or invading pests.

Replacing the siding on your whole home can be expensive. However, the project provides an excellent opportunity to inspect and reseal other hard-to-reach areas of your home. Check flashing, home wrap, and trim pieces. Replace and repair any problems you find. Taking care of these issues now eliminates the need to pull off siding to fix more significant issues later. Closing up cracks and gaps may save you money on your gas and electric bills as well.

Wood Siding Varieties

New siding can change the whole appearance of your home. Take advantage of this opportunity to change the color or style. However, to maintain a cohesive feel, look for siding that complements the existing interior and exterior elements of your property. Rustic siding may not be the best choice if the rest of your home décor is more modern. Finding the right siding can be challenging with so many options. Here are some popular choices.

Clapboard Siding

Also known as bevel siding, clapboards have been used for hundreds of years to protect home exteriors. Long, straight wooden boards installed horizontally with a bit of overlap gives homes a very traditional appearance. While the boards may appear uniform in texture and thickness, this is an illusion. These resawn boards taper from one side to the other. This angled profile allows boards to be installed overlapping one another. The process also leaves one side of the board smooth and one side rough. Thus, homeowners may choose the appearance of their siding by deciding which side to face out.

Cedar Shake Siding

Another traditional type of siding, cedar shakes, is popular not only for the way they look but also because cedar is a durable outdoor wood choice. Cedar is naturally insect and rot-resistant. Traditional cedar shake siding is nailed up one piece at a time. However, modern cedar shakes are available in prefabricated sheets. These shakes are already mounted to a backer material such as plywood in rows, making installation easier and faster. Cedar shakes are available in a wide variety of shapes and installation patterns that make each cedar shake installation unique.

Board and Batten Siding

Developed as an alternative to the logs used in traditional cabins, board and batten siding is made up of two parts, each serving a distinct purpose. The boards mounted vertically on the house are usually wide and cover the whole exterior of the home. The battens are thinner wood boards. These pieces cover the gaps between the boards, making the home weather tight. Modern applications of this building style do not rely on the battens to seal the home from exterior elements. They are decorative in nature. The appearance of board and batten siding is varied by changing the width of the boards and thus the spacing between the battens.

Log Lap Siding

For those looking for a more rustic style, log lap siding is the perfect solution. Contractors can install log lap siding over just about any existing exterior surface. The overlapping log slats give the appearance of log cabin construction. However, because each piece of siding is not a whole log, the siding is less expensive to purchase, easier to install, and more eco-friendly.

Channel Rustic Siding

A versatile and rustic solution to home protection, channel siding is made from knotty wood species. The profile of these boards is similar to shiplap. The board has a notch on either side that allows boards to overlap and lie completely flat on the house’s side. The installation is what sets channel rustic siding apart from shiplap. Installers leave a gap between boards creating the signature channel or shadow line. These channels may run horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally, making a unique statement.

With wood siding, the possibilities are endless. From the type of wood used to the way it is cut and installed to the seal or paint you apply to it. You can truly make your house your own by changing the way it looks on the outside.

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