Preparing Your Siding for Spring

Siding Repair Madison WI Siding ContractorIn the third installment of our series on how to prepare the exterior of your home for spring, our focus is on your home’s siding. As a local siding contractor, we’ve seen just what a Wisconsin winter can do to a home’s exterior, which is why it’s important to review the following list to make sure your siding is in good shape. 

Clean it Up with a Power Wash
Take a good look at the siding on your home to see if it needs a cleaning. If it does, you may want to give it a good wash and light scrubbing with a power wash. If you don’t have a machine of your own, you can rent one to handle the job. Just note that doing this on your own could cause damage to your siding — like dents and pitting — so if you’re not experienced with power washing, you might want to hire a local siding contractor to do the job. Another important thing to consider is that vinyl siding has “molded-in colors,” although some vinyl siding has factory-applied finishes that can be stripped away with improper pressure washing, which can void your warranty.

Other benefits of power washing every spring include removal of germs and bacteria that can manifest with harsh weather conditions, which means power washing can prevent mold and mildew.

An Alternative to Power Washing
If power washing isn’t your thing, and you don’t want to hire a siding contractor to handle the project, you can also clean your siding with a garden hose and high-pressure nozzle. Other than that, some mild soap and warm water — specifically, ¼ cup of soap to 4 gallons of warm water — is all you’ll need to clean your siding this spring. 

Note: whether you are power washing, or washing your siding with a hose, it’s important to start from the top of the siding and work your way down to remove dirt most efficiently — and to always point the power washer or hose DOWN to avoid getting water behind the siding.

Look for Mold and Mildew
Once your siding is clean, make a thorough check for mold and mildew. If you’ve been keeping up with washing your siding annually, there’s less of a chance for this type of build up, but it’s always better to check. If you find any mold or mildew, it can be removed with a simple mix of 30% white vinegar and 70% water. Wear protective gloves, eye protection and an appropriate face mask to protect yourself.

Check for Missing or Loose Siding, Holes & Cracks
The winter weather can cause all kinds of damage to your siding, which is why part of your visual inspection needs to include looking for missing or loose siding, which can often happen due to strong winds that occur in winter, and even early spring.

In addition to loose or missing siding, be on the lookout for holes or cracks in your siding — or even missing or worn caulking. Of course, get any holes or cracks repaired ASAP, and if you need to recaulk, be sure to use a color-matched exterior caulking product for the repair. If you simply don’t want to deal with these types of repairs yourself, be sure that you hire an experienced, licensed local siding contractor to do the repairs.

Any of these issues can cause increased energy usage to heat or cool your home, as well as moisture getting inside the home.

Check for Water Infiltration from the Winter
Speaking of moisture, if water seeps into your siding, it can cause bubbles, blisters, and exacerbate existing cracks in your siding. The reason this happens is what’s called the “freeze-thaw cycle,” which can be pretty extreme in the Madison area. When water that has infiltrated a crack expands as it freezes, the crack in your siding can become larger. This process can repeat many times during a single winter, compromising your siding.

Check for Rotting of Wood Siding
With wood siding, rotting is one of the most common forms of damage that a harsh winter can cause. This can occur if you haven’t kept up with the maintenance of your wood siding, which could lead the wood to rot more easily from prolonged exposure to moisture. Most commonly, when temperatures drop, ice and snow can stick to the wood siding, slowly melt, and get absorbed into the wood, which can lead to rot (this is why maintaining wood siding is so important).

Check for Indentations in Aluminum Siding
Most common with aluminum siding, indentations can occur from physical impact caused by heavy winds that blow ice, snow clumps, and other debris into the siding. To be clear, dents do not affect the siding’s effectiveness, they are just an aesthetic blemish. 

Check for Warping
Finally, check for warping in your siding. Typical reasons you may find warping include siding that is old, cheap materials, poor installation, or harsh weather. 

We hope these tips to prepare your siding for spring prove helpful. If you have questions, or would like to schedule a complimentary inspection of your siding — or any other part of the exterior of your home — feel free to contact us anytime.