When choosing a siding replacement for your home today, you’re faced with a market full of options and materials. Real wood siding – specifically real cedar siding – is and has always been a favorite of homeowners in Connecticut. The classic, beautiful look of real cedar siding is hard to beat, but having real wood siding (or any natural siding material) means committing to a maintenance plan that requires a bit more routine care than fiber cement or vinyl siding.
Maintaining your cedar siding
If you’re planning to install cedar siding as a siding replacement, or if you’re selecting siding materials for a home that’s currently being built, you’ll need all the help you can get! There are about 8 different types of real cedar siding, all of which have similar maintenance routines. Beyond styles, we wanted to help our readers out by putting together seven tips to properly care for real cedar siding. Let’s get into them:
- Plan to stain/paint every 3-5 years: unlike synthetic siding, real wood requires regular touch-up attention. Painting/staining real wood siding is part of the loving care that will be required to keep your cedar siding in top condition.
- Power wash every 2-4 years: this is a minimum! Climates like ours (in Connecticut and around the Northeast) make cedar prone to mildew, as wetter environments encourage mold. Try a mild bleach solution on mildew spots as they occur.
- Watch for extractive bleeding: This is caused when ‘extractives’ are dissolved into water on the painted surface; when the water dries, discoloration of a grey or reddish-brown variety remains. The tannins in wood, water, or iron can stain natural cedar siding. Keep an eye out for this extractive bleeding; it might be easy enough to remove with a simple water rinse, or for something with a bit more cleaning power try a mild oxalic solution
- Repaint chalking: Have you noticed a white residue forming on your cedar siding? This is called “chalking”, and it’s a sign that the paint on your cedar siding is failing. The best course of action is to clean thoroughly, then repaint the siding.
- Identify the source of peeling/flaking/blistering: when your siding peels, flakes, or blisters this is due to the paint losing its adherence capabilities, likely due to moisture trapped in the wood itself. This is probably not a mystery you’ll be able to solve alone. Instead, reach out to a dedicated professional like us for help locating the source of the moisture.
- Use stainless steel nails for installation: the best way to avoid iron stains on your cedar siding is to use hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum, or stainless steel nails. These are your best choices to prevent stains from iron nails and fasteners. If iron fixtures and fasteners have already been installed and are causing damage, you can most likely use a commercial cleaner to remove the iron staining. After that, paint/stain the cedar siding again to better protect the wood from damage.
- Spot clean regularly: while power washing your real cedar siding is recommended every 2-4 years, regular spot cleaning may be necessary depending on the conditions around your home. If you’re close to water, you will want to regularly survey the condition of your cedar siding. You should plan to properly clean it once or twice a year.
Cedar Siding vs. Vinyl Siding
Cedar siding provides a beautiful aesthetic but requires a good amount of maintenance to protect your investment. For those who select real wood siding for their homes, the sheer beauty often makes it worth it. For others, consider using a synthetic material like vinyl siding or fiber cement siding. Both require far less maintenance while giving spectacular curb appeal. We’re experts at installing those, too! For siding replacement, no matter the type, Harmony Home Improvement knows how to help you meet your goals. Drop us a note here; let’s find the perfect siding for your home together.