Wood siding is one of the most attractive siding options in the market. Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to moisture, insect infestations, rotting, and other environmental elements.

To get the most out of your wood siding, you need to seal and paint it after every 2 years to 5 years. Cleaning it on a regular basis is essential to maintaining its aesthetic appeal. And so is occasionally patching or replacing cracked, rotten or worn-out sections.

Wood Siding Maintenance and Care   Home Garden Guides

Here is what you should know about how to maintain and take care of your wood siding.

You maintain wood siding by doing the following.Cleaning

Cleaning is a maintenance routine that has to be carried out at least once a year. It is done primarily to get rid of dirt, debris, mold, and stains.


While wood sidings are beautiful, painting them can enhance their appeal. It will also arm them with an extra coat that will make it harder for them to be infiltrated by moisture. This will reduce the likelihood of premature warping or rotting.


If you don’t want to compromise the natural look of your siding by coating it with paint, you should consider staining it.

Staining your sidings after about 3 years to 5 years is a great way of maintaining its aesthetic appeal. It will also provide your sidings with an extra layer against the weather and UV light. All of these things will help to prolong its lifespan.
Repainting after every two or three years is thus necessary to ensure that your sidings are protected.

Caulk reapplication

When the siding splits, cracks or breaks, it creates gaps that can allow water infiltration. These areas, especially caulked seams around windows and doors, also form points of weaknesses that can easily compromise the integrity of the siding.

Therefore, it is always advisable that you apply caulk to any damaged sections. Reapplying caulk to these areas will prevent water seepage. And in the long run, the newly applied caulk will help to reduce the odds of rot or mold infestations.

Color restoration

In cases where the siding has lost its natural color, you can restore it by using wood brighteners or cleaners. These are products that are readily available in local stores.

Removing and replacing

Any warped, split, rotten, or broken siding needs to be replaced as soon as possible. This is so as to avoid compromising the remaining sections.
It slows down the rotting process. And it protects the siding from infiltration by moisture.


You can also maintain your siding by protecting it against the damaging effects of trees ad shrubs.

This is because when left to grow near your house, they can scratch any protective coat of paint off the siding’s surface. And since they can hold water for longer periods, they can also subject your siding to extended moisture exposure.

Therefore, you should trim or remove trees and shrubs, or any other plants near your siding, Doing so will go a long way towards shielding them from insect infestations, premature paint peeling, and rotting.

What are the major wood siding problems?

While wood siding boards are generally tough and durable, without proper maintenance, they tend to develop a number of problems.

Here are the problems that most homeowners face.

What are the major wood siding problems

Cracks and splits

Cracks and splits often happen due to moisture or changes in temperature. They can also happen as a result of physical impact — stones thrown by lawn mores or children are a common cause.

Cracks and splits are a problem because they expose the rest of the siding to rot and mold problems, something that makes it less durable. They also make it less attractive.


Rot is a common symptom of moisture damage. It usually happens when the siding is exposed to water. And whether it is a soft, white, or brown rot, rotting will make the siding weaker. It will also make it vulnerable to further water infiltration. As a result, it is a problem that usually necessitates immediate siding repair.

Washboard effect

While washing with a power washer makes cleaning them easier, it tends to create a washboard effect. This reduces the siding’s attractiveness.

Peeling paint or cracking paint

After about 2 years to 5 years, any paint on wood will start to chip and peel due to normal changes in the environment. The peeling, cracked, or peeling paint will make the siding ugly.

As a result, regular maintenance routines and repairs are necessary.

Homeowners have to regularly remove old paint from the siding, prime it, and after giving the primer enough time to dry completely, apply several coats of fresh paint in order to keep their siding in good shape. This is so especially around windows, doors, and other vulnerable areas.

Stains from rusting nails

With time, the nails that are used to attach the sidings will start to rot. This then creates ugly marks that ruin the aesthetic appeal of the siding.

Insect infestation

Wood is a favorite target of carpenter ants and termites. These ants destroy the sidings. They discolor them. And they also create pockets that make moisture accumulation easier — which then increases the odds of rotting.

Color change

With time, the siding usually loses its color. It starts to turn grey, especially after constant exposure to sunlight. And the sidings that don’t turn grey usually blacken or assume a dark brown appearance.

How to clean natural wood siding

To maintain the aesthetic appeal of natural wood siding, you need to clean it at least every other year.

Here is what you should know about the cleaning process, the cleaning solution to use, and the mistakes to avoid.

How to clean natural wood siding

Dirt and debris

Dust and dirt will naturally accumulate on your siding. Therefore, you may need to hose it down with clean water. This is sometimes enough to get it looking great.

However, most times, you will need to use soapy water.

Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the surface of your siding if you are dealing with a stubborn stain. For effective cleaning, start by dividing the surface that has to be cleaned into a number of sections. And then clean it, section after section, until you are done.

Rust stains

To remove rust stain from the surface of your siding, wear eye protection, and then wash the affected area with soapy water. This will get rid of any dirt, dust, or debris.

Take a cup of warm water and pour it into a container. Dissolve about 4 ounces of oxalic acid in it. And then soak the stained area with the resulting solution.

Thereafter, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub off the stains and then rinse the surface with clean water after you are done. And then let it dry completely.

Mildew spots

Mildew creates ugly spots on a house. These spots are hard to get rid of with basic scrubbing.

To remove mildew stains, start off by mixing bleach and water in a ratio of 1 to 4. Pour the resulting solution into a spray bottle and then spray it on the stains. Let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

When cleaning mildew and mold spots, it is important to make sure that you shield yourself from the harmful effects of bleach or any other antifungal chemicals that you may use. You should wear eye protection, acid-proof gloves, long-sleeved clothing, and even a respiratory mask.

Natural discoloration

Homeowners can restore the natural color of wood siding that has started to lose its color due to extended exposure to weather elements. All you need to get rid of the discolored effect is a wood brightener or a wood cleaner.

While these products are primarily designed for use on wood decks, they will still be effective in removing any traces of discoloration from your siding.

How do you keep wood siding looking new?

To keep wood siding looking new, regular upkeep is necessary. This usually involves having to commit to carrying out a number of maintenance tasks that are designed to protect it and at the same time refresh its look.

Use a wood cleaner or a wood brightener. Applying it on your siding will get rid of the weathered wood look that sidings tend to adopt after years of exposure to the sun.

If you have painted siding, then applying a new coat of paint will refresh its look. Remembering to prime the siding, before painting it, will help the paint stick better. Using lighter colors can also help to prolong their longevity.

However, a fresh coat of paint isn’t always the ideal solution. This is because there are times when you want to preserve the original color and look of the wood. In such cases, applying a stain is the best alternative. The wood stain will still refresh its look, offer it protection against elements like moisture and sunlight. The stain will also keep it from rotting. And if the stain fades, you can always re-stain.

You can also keep it looking great by using a clear sealer. Like a stain, a sealer will help to shield the wood from moisture infiltration. And by so doing, it will keep it from deteriorating. Therefore, just like a stain, it will keep your siding in great shape by protecting it from the things that are likely to compromise its aesthetic appeal.

The benefit of having a sealed, painted, or stained surface is that it is less vulnerable to water intrusion and water damage.

When carrying out these maintenance activities, it is important to note that some of the chemicals that you will be using are detrimental to the health of plants. Therefore, ensuring that you protect plants that are near your house will be an essential part of your maintenance routine.

Therefore, in order to avoid splashing a wood cleaner or any other harmful chemicals, you will need to cover any plants near your house. Doing so will ensure that they aren’t left unprotected.


Power washing wood siding at high pressure is not OK. This is because the high pressure of the pressure washer will damage its surface. It will eventually lead to the washboard effect.

You can clean your wood sidings naturally by using white vinegar, a soft-bristled brush, and water.

It is time to replace your siding if it becomes extremely soft, rotten, or warped. This is so especially if the problem extends to underlying areas.

Wood siding lasts between 20 years and 40 years. The exact time that yours will last will depend on the type of wood that you are using and how well you take care of it.

You keep it from from rotting by shielding it from water. To effectively do so, you will need to regularly re-paint, re-stain, and reseal it.

Any siding that has undergone such treatment won’t absorb moisture easily. Therefore, it will be less likely to rot. And if part of the siding is already rotten, you will have to remove and then replace that section. This is because when you replace the rotten section, you eliminate any odds of the rot spreading to adjacent surfaces of the siding. As a result, this is the best way to preserve the rest of the wood.

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist with 20 years of industry experience. Ben has a wide knowledge of renovation and DIY projects around the house such as lawns, fencing and painting. Ben shares his skills with DIY enthusiasts.