“Regardless of the season, it’s imperative that your siding effectively protects your home from the elements as well as any unwanted pests,” said Lance Dahl, CR, Senior Sales Representative – Exterior Products with Callen Construction, Inc. in Muskego. “However, with summer quickly approaching, it’s important to highlight the unique challenges that this hot and muggy season poses as well as outline the best ways to overcome these hurdles and protect your siding.”
The two most hazardous threats your siding must contend with during the summer months are high temperatures and humidity levels. “The sun, or more specifically, the UV rays the sun emits, can cause siding to fade or even crack over time,” said Lance. “As for humidity, the more moisture that’s present in the air, the better the environment for mold or mildew, which can form and thrive on your siding. Not only is this unsightly, it’s also a potential health risk.” If left untreated, mold or mildew can begin to work its way behind the siding, causing more extensive damage, such as rot or structural issues. Moreover, the combination of high temperatures and high moisture levels is often a recipe for severe weather, such as strong winds and heavy rainfall, which can also endanger siding.
A key to avoid or minimize these risks includes performing regular maintenance checks and applying proper cleaning techniques. “For example, you’ll want to thoroughly examine your siding this time of year for any serious issues, looking closely for dents, scratches, loose panels, water penetration, mold or mildew growth, or evidence of rot,” Lance said. “In the event any of these issues are present, it’s important to have your siding inspected by a professional as soon as possible so any problems can be resolved. The benefit of being proactive in this situation is avoiding more extensive damage and higher repair costs down the road.”
Sealant is another factor you’ll want to consider when conducting a maintenance check on your siding. Typically, sealant is used to cover all vertical seams and joints in your siding. Its primary purpose is to waterproof your home; however, it can crack, shrink, and even wear away over time. If this is the case, you’ll need a professional to apply new caulking. “As a general rule of thumb, your siding, should appear nearly seamless if caulked correctly,” he said.
Since you’re already examining the sealant, you may as well evaluate the condition of the paint too. If you find areas that are peeling or chipping, it’s evident that a new coat of paint needs to be applied to protect your siding. “Even though this may seem more aesthetic in nature, in actuality, paint serves as an added layer of defense against the elements and potential invaders, such as insects and small animals,” said Lance. “Plus, a fresh coat of paint will contribute to a longer lifespan for the siding.” Keep in mind, painting recommendations and frequency will vary based on the siding material.
Additionally, you’ll need to regularly clean your siding not only for aesthetic purposes, but to deter the growth of moss, mold, and mildew as well. A soft scrub brush and some mild soap mixed with water is more than sufficient to wipe away any dirt that’s accumulated on your siding panels and restore your siding to its original shine. Using a pressure washer is generally not recommended as this tool can cause extensive damage to your home, regardless of the material your siding is made of. Measured in pounds per square inch (psi), power washers generally range anywhere from 1,300 to 2,800 psi. “It’s this incredible force that gives these tools the ability to remove paint, cause water to build-up in the walls or attic, and damage nearby windows when not used properly,” he said.
Siding is a crucial exterior feature because its primary function is to protect the home. In order to perform this duty well, the siding must be cared for appropriately, especially when you consider summer weather poses unique threats. So, if you perform a maintenance check on your siding as well as maintain its cleanliness this summer, you can rest easy knowing you’re helping to extend the siding’s life expectancy. “Not only will you be protecting your investment, but passersby and potential homebuyers alike will also appreciate your efforts,” Lance said.