Your siding has a primary purpose: to protect your home. When installed correctly, your siding will keep your home warm during the winter and stop mold and mildew from compromising your home's structure. Additionally, quality siding will keep out pests and absorb the everyday bumps, knocks, and bangs that would otherwise tear through your building.
But while your siding acts as your home's first defense against damage, siding also has a primary weakness: water. If rain, snow, or ice slip through the slats, the water could soften and warp the wood of your walls and ceilings. And since the siding covers your home's exterior, you might not notice the damage until it requires drastic repairs.
Fortunately, you can help your siding perform its role more effectively through a few small tasks. The following steps in particular reduce the likelihood of water damaging your siding.
1. Trim Plants and Trees
A few well-placed shrubs and flowers can significantly improve your home's overall appearance. With the right landscaping, you can boost your property's resale value and create a more relaxing and inviting environment for your family.
But plants also trap a lot of rainwater on their branches, and they release water vapor through the small pores on their leaves. If your bushes sit too close to your home, the branches may brush up against the siding and allow water to creep into the cracks.
To ensure proper air flow and allow for drying, trim any branches so they rest several inches away from your building.
2. Adjust Sprinkler Heads
Your sprinklers save you a lot of time and hassle. They ensure your lawn and garden receive adequate water without dragging around a heavy hose.
But sprinklers only work as installed. If the original installer pointed the heads in the wrong direction, you can bet that your sprinklers will spray water over your driveway, into the sidewalk, or against the foundation. And if your sprinklers hit your house every morning, you can bet that the constant spray will find its way past your siding.
If needed, adjust any wayward sprinkler heads that point toward your home. If you have any flowers or shrubs against your home that the sprinklers can't reach properly, consider watering them by hand or installing a drip system.
3. Clear Your Gutters
Your siding isn't the only thing protecting your home from the elements. Your gutters and downspout collect rainwater and redirect it away from your siding and foundation.
Yet if you neglect your gutters, you can increase the likelihood of water damage on your siding. When leaves, branches, and other debris clog your gutters, the water will overflow and spill onto your home's siding.
Ideally, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year, during the fall and spring seasons. If you have large trees that shed a lot of organic material, you may need to clear your gutters more frequently.
Don't feel comfortable cleaning the gutters so often? Invest in a gutter guard that will allow water to flow freely but will keep out leaves and pests.
4. Promptly Remove Snow and Ice
In Minnesota, the Twin Cities and the surrounding cities see some of the coldest average temperatures in the US. In fact, the Twin Cities have an average of 12 inches of snow per month in January and December and another 9 to 10 inches of snow per month in February, March, and November.
When winter storms hit, you may feel tempted to scrape away just enough snow to escape your driveway or to avoid slip-and-fall accidents on your sidewalk. However, if you leave snow piled next to your home, that snow will eventually melt against your siding and into your foundation.
While you don't have to obsessively clear your property of every last inch of snow, do your best during the colder months to keep snow away from your home. Remember to use gentle movements with the shovel, as scraping and pounding against ice may dent or crack your siding.
5. Insulate Your Attic
As you look for ways to protect your home's exterior, you might not initially think about what you can do to your home's interior. But your insulation can have a profound impact on how much snow collects on your roof, and in turn, that snowmelt affects your siding's lifespan.
Ice dams form when your shingles warm enough to melt the under layer of snow on your roof. The water then trickles down between the snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves of your home, and then the water refreezes. As the snow repeatedly melts and refreezes, the water eventually backs up underneath your shingles and drips behind your eaves and your siding. If the ice becomes heavy enough, it can break away from your roof and pull gutters, shingles, and siding along with it.
Insulation, fortunately, keeps temperature fluctuations in check. It stops the heat in your attic from escaping through the roof. If you see frequent ice dams, ask a professional to assess whether your attic needs additional insulation.
Talk to a Contractor About Damaged Siding
These five steps can keep moisture buildup in check and stop water damage before it starts. However, if your siding already seems worse for wear, you may need to replace it to ensure your home stays dry throughout the year.
Talk to a contractor a D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. about repairing or replacing your damaged or aging siding. We'll gladly install fiber cement, vinyl, wood, or steel siding at your request.