Keeping your siding in good condition during winter months can prevent costly repairs and emergency situations that are harder to address than during other seasons of the year. Winter can be harsh on a home exterior. Well-maintained siding is great for adding some much needed curb appeal in winter, but it will also protect your home and the foundation from water damage.
Do Regular Visual Checks
Check the siding for damage. Regardless of the type of cladding your home has, do regular visual checks for damage such as holes and cracks; peeling or blistering paint; any changes to the surface of siding panels; gaps between the siding panels and exterior walls; and colour fading or dicolouration (red streaks, dirt build-up).
Also look for loose or rusted nails – even the tiniest gap or pinhole can let water in. All of these signs are the direct result of excess moisture seeping into cracks or holes or getting in behind loosened siding panels. Examine the exterior walls of your house for siding panels that aren’t just loose but have also shifted.
Make Repairs ASAP
After a visual inspection, make a note of loose hardware, damaged siding panels, mold or mildew growth, and damp patches on exterior walls. Take action – don’t delay making the necessary repairs,
Clean According to Type
While maintaining the siding is important, it is also crucial to clean it according to its type of siding material. Occasionally rinsing siding off with a garden hose to get rid of a light accumulation of surface grime is okay for any type of cladding. But when it comes to a thorough annual or spring clean it’s good to know what to do (and not to do) to extend the lifespan of your siding.
Cedar siding: Plan to apply wood, paint, or sealant every two to seven years to protect it from excess moisture and wood rot. Clean cedar siding regularly so grime buildup doesn’t cause the protective coating to deteriorate faster. The same home maintenance routine applies to composite wood and wood siding.
Aluminum siding: Aluminum siding is relatively easy to care for. Mix an earth-friendly detergent or all purpose cleaner with water. Apply with a soft-bristle brush or use a cloth made of natural fibers and then rinse.
Vinyl siding: Vinyl siding is also easy to maintain. A quick rinse once or twice a year removes most types of buildup. However, never paint it – it can shorten this siding material’s lifespan and make it vulnerable to winter’s colder temperatures.
Fiber cement siding: While fiber cement siding is one of the most durable siding materials, it does need be to maintained properly. To keep it strong and durable paint it every 10 to 15 years. In late winter, early spring, take the time to rinse off the season’s grime and residue with a solution of mild liquid soap and water.
Be Gentle when Cleaning
The gentler you are when cleaning your siding throughout the seasons, the better the chance it will last through winter. When cleaning siding use earth-friendly cleaning products that won’t damage the siding’s protective finish.
Pressure washing can dent aluminum siding and damage other types of siding, especially siding older than ten years. Water that is forced in behind siding panels can cause wood rot, mold growth, and structural damage. If you do want to use a pressure washer, select a low setting.
Keep Gutters Working
Keep the gutters in optimal working condition to prevent roof and siding disasters during winter months. Clean gutters and well-maintained downspouts will protect your siding from overflowing gutters, leaking seams, and other issues that deposit moisture directly on to the siding.