If you’ve recently installed cedar siding on your home, then you probably already know it requires extra care. However, as Autumn is just around the corner, how much maintenance does cedar siding actually need?
Regardless of where you live, there are a few tasks that simply must be on your checklist this fall. These range from gentle cleaning, to larger tasks like resealing / refinishing.
You want your cedar siding to stay as vibrant and durable as the day it was installed, so check out these list of fall maintenance tasks for your cedar siding.
Fall Maintenance Checklist
Many folks believe that after they collect the fallen leaves from their outdoor space, their fall maintenance tasks are over.
For responsible homeowners with cedar siding, they know that their task-list is just beginning. Fall is the perfect time to address these maintenance concerns for many areas. The reason?
Most of America experiences a dry spell during the fall months.
Dry weather is essential for properly maintaining cedar siding. Too much moisture can ruin a cedar shake’s surface, causing it to deteriorate and become aesthetically unpleasing.
Ideally, you’ll wait up to a week after a rain to begin this checklist. However, an extended period (2-3 days) of direct sunlight should help dry out your cedar siding to a sufficient level.
Without further ado, let’s check out the maintenance tasks.
Wash with a Garden Hose
First and foremost, every homeowner with cedar siding should take the time to clean it at least once per year (and ideally more often). This prevents debris build-up from ruining the appearance and structural integrity of the shake.
Avoid washing your cedar siding with soap! Instead, use a mixture of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water.
What about a pressure washer?
Conventional wisdom might tell you that a pressure washer is appropriate for this job. While you can pressure wash cedar siding and shingles, be sure to use the lowest setting. High pressure power washing can irreparably damage cedar siding.
Nail Down Loose Cedar Shakes
Cedar siding is both beautiful and heavy. As a result, even well-managed siding can come loose. This is normal, but if not addressed can cause serious problems down the road.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you get the loose cedar shakes nailed back down as soon as possible. Like a hole in a knight’s armor, even a small opening of this kind can lead to water infiltration behind other shakes (and into your wall). In turn, water damage could require you to replace your shakes far more often.
Nailing down your cedar panels need not be challenging. Here’s a helpful guide from a true cedar enthusiast!
Check and Clear Your Gutters
If you haven’t done so already, take some time to clean your gutters. Not only will this help your drainage system to work better, but it will also protect your siding more effectively.
Of course, overflowing gutters are never a good thing. But that water can overflow onto your cedar siding, overcoming sealants and causing damage. Over time, this leads to mold, mildew, and even decay.
Cleaning your gutters is often necessary multiple times per season. The leaves don’t quit, and neither should your diligence at keeping your gutters clean.
Re-stain (every 2 years)
Every task I’ve listed so far should be done annually or more. Re-staining your cedar siding however only needs to occur once every 2 years or so to achieve an ideal result.
Generally, you’ll want to remove the old stain, wait for your cedar shakes to dry, and apply a new coat. Most wood stains are appropriate for this task and can be picked up from your local hardwood store.
If you’d prefer a more thorough explanation, this video from the Idaho painter explains it fully.
Re-seal (every 6 years)
Finally, every 6 years or so, you should set aside time in the fall to re-seal your cedar siding. While this is less frequent, it’s the most important step for maintaining the health of your cedar siding.
In many cases, the stain you choose will also include some type of sealant. However, if you’ve chosen to go the all-natural route, this step will be even more important.
In essence, the sealant creates a clear, durable barrier between the weather and your siding. Proper applicant is important to prevent gaps, or a “bleeding” effect from appearing on the siding’s surface (this is also called “weepage”).