Wood Siding Information & Maintenance Tips

  • Wood siding is found on many homes. Wood shingles, shakes, boards and panels come in a variety of shapes, styles, sizes, patterns and species. Yet, the various wood sidings are more alike than they are different.
  • Wood siding is susceptible to water and insect damage.
  • The first line of defense is paint or stain.
  • The second line of defense is regular inspection, maintenance and periodic cleaning.
  • Normal wood siding requires painting every 2 to 5 years. The wood siding should last as long as your home if properly maintained. Inspect and clean your wood siding regularly.


  • Protect your wood siding by inspecting for paint problems twice a year and repainting every five years, or as necessary.
  • Peeling or blistering paint is usually caused by warm, moist vapor from the house flowing through the walls, reaching the cold sheathing and condensing. Just a few drops of water between the siding and the film of paint will cause paint to blister and peel.
  • It may be necessary to install vents in the siding to remedy the moisture problem. The defective areas should be properly prepared and repainted.
  • If you observe other paint problems, such as worn, flaking, wrinkling or “alligatoring” paint, properly prepare and repaint the defective area.

Ground Clearance

  • Untreated wood must not be in contact with the ground. Moisture from the soil can cause decay and insects can gain entry to your siding.
  • Examine along the base of your home to make sure you have at least six to eight inches of clearance between the ground and any wood siding or wood trim.
  • If necessary, re-grade your soil away from any wood.


  • Stain also protects wood siding from moisture and insects. However, as the stain fades, so does its weather and insect protection properties.
  • Re-stain your siding every five to seven years, or as necessary, to restore color and preserve your siding.

Dry Rot and Termite Damage

  • Dry rot is a fungus that causes wood to crumble.
  • Termites destroy wood by chewing out its interior.
  • Probe the edges of the wood siding with a knife or thin screw driver and look for soft, spongy spots. Pay particular attention to any part of the siding that was close to the ground or in contact with the ground.bullet In addition.
  • Check for visible evidence of termites. Look for their translucent one-half-inch-long wings or the mud tubes they sometimes build.
  • If you find evidence of dry rot or termites, consult a licensed termite inspector or pest control professional.
  • If you spot dry rot and termite problems early, you can often prevent serious damage.

Holes and Split, Warped or Loose Siding

  • Simple surface problems such as holes in the wood, split or cracked boards, warped or buckled boards and loose siding should be repaired as soon as they appear.
  • Water will work its way through these defects into the interior wall where rotting can take place undetected.
  • Severely damaged board siding must be replaced.
  • Determine the cause of any serious damage before replacing siding. If moisture is causing the problem, find the source by checking for deteriorating roofing, leaking gutters or downspouts and poor drainage.
  • Consult a professional contractor to make corrections as needed.