Tips on How to Prevent Rotting Siding

Whether it’s cedar shingles, lap siding or board and batten, wood siding is beautiful and enduring. However, for it to be long-lasting, wood siding needs vigilant care and maintenance. Here are some ways to ensure that your wood or cedar siding remains sound and protected from the onset of rot.

Maintaining Wood Siding

Sure, wood siding can be repaired; damaged cedar shingles can be replaced. But scratched or dented wood siding panels, no matter how soon they fixed, are now places where moisture might collect. And if damp areas are unreachable by air or sun, wood rot is a very probable outcome. Unlike mold or mildew, wood rot actually eats its way into the wood, including support beams, window trim, and door frames.

Maintaining your siding is the best preventative medicine. If the paint is peeling, repaint or reseal the affected section. Where moss is growing on the siding, have it removed. Moss acts like a sponge, thriving on moisture and encouraging the growth of more harmful types of fungi like wood rot.

Inspect Wood Siding Regularly

Wood expands and contracts according to its moisture content, responding to changes in humidity and temperature. Movement of any kind (minimal or otherwise) can cause siding panels to shift, nails to loosen, or gaps to form between the back of the siding and the exterior wall. Especially after a heavy rainfall or forceful winds make it a point to inspect wood siding for the following:

  • cracks, holes or gaps
  • chipped or flaking paint
  • loose siding panels and/or raised nails
  • sections that have been eaten away or that are spongy to the touch

Also, examine other problem areas. These are places where the siding meets or surrounds other exterior finishing elements such as windows, doors, or where a roof abuts a wall or overhang.

Don’t Lean Anything against the Siding

Don’t lean ladders, tools, or bicycles against your siding. Even if it’s temporary, an object just lightly scraped against an exterior wall might cause enough of a breach where water can get into small cracks or under the siding’s painted surface or finish.

Move storage bins, recycling containers, wood piles, etc. away from exterior walls, at least by three feet.

Roofing System Maintenance

If there are issues with your roof, the trouble can trickle down the sides of your home. Where trees are too close to the roof and/or touching the siding, trim the branches back.

Keep the roof free of debris; replace any missing tiles as soon as possible; check flashing for signs of damage. A roof that doesn’t properly direct water in the gutters will cause leaks that can lead to damp soffits and fascia boards.

Gutters that constantly overflow put your siding at risk of rot. Keep the gutter system clean and clear of twigs, leaves, pine needles and other kinds of debris that form clogs, causing rainwater to spill over the sides.