Any responsible homeowner knows that after a long Michigan winter, the exterior of your home may need a little upkeep. At Irish Roofing, we appreciate the value of home maintenance and protecting your investment. One of the most significant parts of your home’s exterior, which is occasionally overlooked, is its siding. Home-siding comes in all types of materials, shapes, and colors—each needing its own special maintenance.
The most common categories of sidings found in the West Michigan area are Vinyl, Wood, and Fiber Cement Siding. Of course, there are different grades, types, designs, and other variations between each one, but the maintenance required within each category is usually the same. Maintaining your siding may be at the bottom of your springtime checklist, behind finishing the landscaping and tuning up the mower, but you will want to be sure to make it a priority. Your siding is essential for protecting your home from the outside elements, keeping pests out, maintaining the essential elements of your home (structure, electrical, pipes), and of course, keeping your curb appeal strong. So, let’s get outside and get to work!
Siding Care Tips & Tricks
Below we have some tips and tricks to help you maintain your siding based on the type of siding you have. Keep in mind, some tactics might seem the same, but different materials will require different kinds of products, tools, and tactics.
Vinyl siding is a crowd favorite for the greater Grand Rapids and West Michigan area. Its extended durability, low-maintenance, long lifetime and general affordability make it an excellent buy for homeowners. Here are a few tips to make sure your vinyl siding is well preserved this spring:
- Yearly Wash
- 1.) Clean with a cloth or soft brush.
- 2.) Use an approved cleaning product, either found at your local hardware store or make a homebrew.
- 3.) Do you best to avoid streaking.
- You can use a pressure washer to rinse but do so carefully with the spray nozzle at least 3 ft. from the siding.
- 1.) Search for cracks, broken seals or warping.
- 2.)Pests and Nests: keep an eye out for insects or birds as they like to make their home behind the siding. If insects make their way behind your vinyl, they will eventually move into your home and can cause interior damage.
If you happen to find any damage, you’ll want to be sure and repair it. Vinyl is highly durable and long-lasting, but it can still be damaged by debris or harsh impacts from the elements. Any openings can be a gateway for water, unwanted airflow, pests, and more. Small repairs can be done with material found at your local hardware stores like siding caulk, patching, and repair kits. If you see a significant amount of damage, you’ll want to consult with a professional for repairs or replacements.
Wood Siding is one of the most aesthetically pleasing, yet costly sidings you can have—but most would argue that its beauty is worth the price. Whether your siding is Hardie Plank, hardboard siding, or wood shingles you will want to conduct some springtime maintenance.
- Clean it up
- 1.) Divide your siding into 20-foot sections for the most effective cleaning process.
- 2.) Use soapy water or commercial cleaning products with a soft-bristled brush.
- 3.) We DO NOT recommend heavy use of water or pressure washing.
- Pay particular attention to stains and knots.
- Restore, Paint, or Replace
You’ll want to be sure and protect your wood from moisture, so, depending on the style of your siding, you’ll want to put on a fresh coat of sealant or paint. This does not necessarily need to be done on a yearly basis, but the frequency will depend on the products and material used. Consult with your local hardware store or Irish Roofing if you are not sure.
If you do come across any damage or warping, you will want to replace that section. Moisture damage is like kryptonite to wood material, and even though most modern sidings are water resistant—you won’t want to take a chance.
Wood siding is durable, but you do not want to take an unnecessary risk when it comes to its protection. Be sure to clean your gutters and ensure your roof’s water runoffs are working correctly and efficiently. Remove any branches or brush that rub or hit the siding, as that can cause damage over time.
Fiber Cement siding is on the higher-end of home sidings, but it is well worth the investment. Fiber cement is low maintenance and provides an aesthetic quality that rivals the natural beauty of wood. With never-ending colors, designs, textures, and a 40 to 50-year lifespan, fiber cement siding is a popular option for new builds and renovations. If your home-siding is fiber cement, you will want to do a little spring upkeeping.
Before you do anything, make sure your seals and caulking are all intact around your house. Remeber, pay particular attention to your seals that connect to your roof, window frames, and foundation.
- Keep it Clean
With the high durability of fiber cement, cleaning is generally for curb-appeal and aesthetic purposes. Keep in mind, you’ll want to keep an eye out for mold, moss, or color displacement. However, that is not very likely to be a problem with fiber cement. You can use a pressure washer (at 3 to 4 feet) to get dirt and dust off. If you do notice any tough to clean spots, water and dish soap should do the trick.
Unlike vinyl, fiber cement siding can be painted. The paint job will last exceptionally longer than on wood siding, but eventually, it must be redone. Start with inspecting the siding, making sure the paint is holding its value. Look for chipping and cracking and, if you see a pattern of that, it’s time to paint. When it comes to selecting paint, check with the manufacturer to see how often paint should be applied. Most will last 5 to 15 years.
Protect your investment
Here we’ve talked about two key investments. One is your siding, and the other is your home. Both need tender love and care, while one is essential for protecting the other. If you are finding that, even though you are properly maintaining your siding, it’s not efficiently protecting your home—it’s time to consider professional repair or replacement. Contact Irish Roofing today, and we are happy to give you a free consultation!