Prepare Now To Protect Your Siding

Siding acts as the outer wear of your home, protecting it from the damaging forces of wind and rain while providing a lovely look. Taking care of the siding helps it take care of the rest of your home. Winter brings freezing temperatures that can crack vinyl, while the harsh glare of sun fades paint. Touching up your exterior as the snow melts and spring arrives will give you a fresh look for spring and prepare the siding for the challenges of summer.

Take time to clean. Cleaning the siding is best done in spring because a surprising amount of dust and dirt builds up in the fall and winter. The warmer temperatures also mean that water doesn’t freeze on or under the siding to cause damage. Pressure washing is the fastest way, but many vinyl siding manufacturers warn against it. It should be fine for metal, wood, and other materials. Try a soft bristled brush and a diluted oxygen bleach product to clean siding that can’t handle pressure washing without damaging the lawn and plants around the home. Wait until you have at least two to three days of clear, warm weather so you can complete the job all at once.

Check For Damage

Even if you did a thorough check as part of your sealing up process for the winter, your siding needs another damage inspection in the spring. Freezing water can crack siding, along with hail and falling branches due to storms. Go around the home and pay special attention to the gables and soffits. If the exterior cladding is damaged or loose in those spots, you will increase your chances of water or pests entering the home. Damaged spots need professional repair immediately.

When it comes to painting and sealing, homes finished with wood siding need painting and sealing, or at least a check to make sure it doesn’t need it. Allowing wood to go too long without a protective coating accelerates its natural breakdown process. The same is true for Hardie board siding and other composite materials that are not sealed before installation. Homeowners that have chosen vinyl, coated metal, or other sidings types won’t have to worry about this step.

Re-sealing & Re-siding

The walls that support your exterior cladding are full of openings to let pipes, vents, electrical connections, and plumbing pass through to the exterior. Each of these intrusions needs to stay tightly sealed or you risk an opening that creates a draft or an entrance for a family of mice. Take a flashlight and inspect around the edges of where the siding was trimmed. You should be able to see in and around the fixture in question. Caulk is often the material of choice for closing up tiny gaps around plumbing pipes and bathroom fan vents, but you will need to detach some of the siding for the work to make sure the caulk doesn’t end up on the exterior panels.

Finally, spring is the ideal time for re-siding a house. Replacing worn out or high maintenance materials with something new leaves your home exposed as the work is done in sections. Spring brings the first days warm enough for this kind of work, since it is much harder to complete with cold winds and snow slowing the process. Prevent spring showers from leaving the exposed exterior damp by hanging plenty of tarps around the work areas. This precaution means that the new siding can go on immediately, shortening the amount of time your house stands exposed and uncovered. Start your preparations a few months ahead so everything is in place by the time a stretch of good weather arrives.