Monday, July 27, 2009

How to Maintain Wood Siding

Ah, wood siding. It's one of the things that gives our Heights homes their character. It's also one of those things that requires regular maintenance...

I talked with our neighborhood carpentry guru about how to fix small problem areas in siding, such as peeling paint. He gave me this run-down:

Step One: Scrape off loose paint
  • This initial step involves two different types of scrapers: a small one and a big one. The bigger one is useful for large, flat areas, while the smaller one helps with the more intricate detail areas. This step is an integral part of preparing the surface.
Step Two: Sand the area
  • After all the loose paint has been scraped off, it's time to sand the area with a coarse sandpaper (like 60 grit). Depending on the tools available, as well as the size of the area you're refinishing, you can sand by hand or use a machine. Again, this step is an integral part of preparing the surface.
Step Three: Secure the nails
  • Another aspect of preparing the surface involves hammering any loose nails as well as re-nailing any loose siding. During this stage, it's important to use a nail set which allows you to apply force to each nail more precisely and prevents the wood from getting dented.

Step Four: Prime the area
  • Once the area has been scraped, sanded, and re-nailed, it's time to apply primer. Check the weather before applying the primer to ensure that it won't rain for at least twelve hours. In total, you'll want to let the primer dry for an entire day or two.
Step Five: Caulk joints or openings
  • This step is not the place to skimp on materials! Avoid being lured in by a $2 tube of caulk. It's worth a few more dollars to ensure that you get a good caulk that won't fail you. You'll want to caulk areas where the siding boards come together, as well as around doors and windows. Pay special attention to the area on top of windows!
Step Six: Sand primed areas
  • The final preparation stage involves lightly sanding (approximately 120 grit) the areas you primed to give it a nice, smooth finish.
Step Seven: Paint
  • The final step is to paint over your repaired area (with at least two coats of paint). And--voila!--you're finished!
Don't be fooled by the seeming simplicity of these seven steps. An area that is a couple feet wide by a couple feet tall can take anywhere from 6-10 hours. However, the time and effort is worth it in the end. It's a lot easier to maintain our homes proactively rather than reactively! Taking care of our siding (and especially the areas around our windows!) can keep wood rot at bay.


  1. Not to whine here, but I have done a great deal of remodeling over the years and your sequence is a bit off. You don't want to apply the caulking prior to the final sanding. Sanding after applying the caulking only gets grit from the sanding into the pliant caulk and also tends to ruin an otherwise smooth finish on the caulking. Also, any deeply nail setted in nails, could stand to have a dab of caulk applied to them as well. When applying latex caulk, always have a moist towel at hand to wipe off excess caulk. There are now silicone based caulks that are paintable, but on needs rubbing alcohol on the moist towel instead of water for the cleanup of silicone based caulks.

    Pressure washing and drying afterwards prior to any stripping helps tremendously too. You can get inexpensive electric pressure washers at numerous stores like Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight Tools, Costco, Sams, Walmart, etc. At most of those same places you can get a cheap 2 hp or more air compressor which is one of the handiest tools a homeowner can have. They work instrumentally at helping to clean out the damaged areas, and remove sanding debris.

  2. Maintaining wood siding is always tough. We need to take extra care about these things.

    Brooklyn siding

  3. Wood siding looks nice, and it's safe and eco-friendly as well, but yeah you have to maintain it regularly. Moss can grow and rot the wood if you don't take care of it. So, you need to roll up your sleeves, or get some help, to make sure it's all fine and clean. It can be hard work, but looking at it clean, freshly painted siding can be really satisfying!