If you feel like Illinois is one of the most challenging places to live during the winter months, you’re not alone. The treacherous rain, sleet, snow, and ice of the Chicagoland area is not only tough on people—it’s also hard on your home exterior.
Since your exterior siding takes a beating in winter, it’s definitely one of the most important areas you can maintain to keep your number one investment looking great year after year. Here’s how to keep your siding in excellent shape—so it retains its beauty and keeps the elements at bay.
Maintenance Tips for Every Type of Home Siding
Most houses are sided with one of three materials: vinyl, wood, or fiber cement. All three of these types of siding can be damaged over time in their own way. Follow these tips to care for each type of siding during winter, so you can stay proud of your home year-round.
Fiber Siding Care
Fiber cement siding like James Hardie has become known as one of the most durable and weather-resistant siding products available in the market. However, fiber cement siding also benefits from preservation steps so it retains its lasting appeal.
Work with an Experienced Siding Contractor
More than other siding materials, fiber cement requires topnotch installation techniques to protect your manufacturer’s warranty. The boards are heavy and require an expert team that knows how to move and hang the siding to James Hardie’s high standards. It pays to have your fiber cement siding installed by a James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor like us.
Paint It Regularly
Though it doesn’t wear down as quickly as wood, fiber cement siding does require a new coat of paint after 10-15 years. Choose a top-shelf, quality paint to ensure lasting results.
James Hardie’s ColorPlus technology is one way to lessen the need for constant repainting—just ask us about it if you’re considering installing fiber cement siding. It’s warrantied to last 15 years when installed properly.
Do a Gentle Cleaning Once a Year
Washing off dirt, dust, mold, and other debris is important to fiber cement siding maintenance, especially after winter’s wear and tear. A simple, gentle cleaning regimen with soap, water and a garden hose will make this a breeze.
Vinyl Siding Care
Out of the three siding materials, vinyl is probably the easiest to maintain, needing very little of your time. This makes it one of the most popular forms of home exterior siding material. However, there are still some things you can do to help your home’s siding last as long as possible.
Install Vinyl Siding in Spring
First of all, if you’re planning to have beautiful new vinyl siding installed, wait until warmer weather is here before doing so. Installing vinyl during the coldest months risks siding expansion, which can lead to buckling and cracking.
The truth is, both ends of the extreme weather spectrum are bad for new siding. Ideally, you’ll want your siding contractor to do the installation when temperatures are around 50-60 degrees.
Rinse Vinyl Siding to Remove Dirt
Although vinyl is extremely durable, rinsing it once or twice a year will help remove dust, grime, fungus, and mildew—so it can keep looking attractive.
Use an ordinary garden hose to wash your vinyl siding. If removing a stubborn stain, use a gentle soap in water or other specialized vinyl cleanser.
Say No to Paint
Vinyl siding is not made to take paint. In fact, painting vinyl siding can make it look worse than before it was painted—and this can even void the manufacturer’s warranty.
If you notice old vinyl siding has faded or has become discolored, it’s better to choose a color you love, install new siding in that tint, and then care for it so it lasts as long as possible.
Protect against Damage
Vinyl siding is susceptible to the effects of harsh cleansers, and can be dinged and dented by debris. So if you’re doing outdoor projects, be mindful of your siding. Cover the vinyl if you’ll be spraying pesticides. Trim trees and bushes so they don’t scrape your home exterior during windy weather. Move grills a safe distance away so the heat can’t do damage.
Wood Siding Care
Homeowners love wood siding because of its classic appearance, but it definitely needs a lot of care to stay in good shape.
Do Regular Visual Checks
Excess moisture can be the enemy of beautiful wood siding. Being on the lookout for signs of rotting is a wise idea, especially in Illinois where melting snow and ice melts can wear down wood siding.
To keep your home’s wood siding looking gorgeous, do a visual inspection every few months to look for peeling paint, which is a sign of too much moisture.
Treat Wood to Withstand Moisture
Since wood siding is so vulnerable to water, it is of utmost importance to seal wood siding with paint, stain, sealer, or all of the above. Sealant can be applied every two years. Every 5 to 7 years, a fresh coat of paint is a smart idea to provide additional years of protection for your wood siding.
Make Repairs Quickly
If you notice rotten, warped or loose siding boards, don’t delay repairs. Acting fast can limit how much the wood rot spreads, saving you in the long run. A professional siding contractor (like our team!) can address these concerns.
Love Your Home Year-Round
Caring properly for your new siding is the best way to ensure it lasts as long as possible, giving you gorgeous curb appeal for years to come.
Whether you need new siding, replacement windows, updated doors or other home exterior upgrades, we’re here to help you be proud of your home. We’ll work with you to create the design you desire in an affordable way. Check out our financing options, and let us know how we can serve you.