Wood panel sidings are something of a luxury and should last, so it is a good idea to understand how to treat wood panel siding to withstand weather. The majority of standard houses prefer plastic sidings, because of their cost efficiency and impermeability. Wood panels are beautiful and are often chosen just for this reason. They can last for decades, but require occasional maintenance to protect them from the elements.
How Wood Panels Function
All wood is naturally designed to absorb water at a slow rate. Most water runs off the side of wood panels due to gravity, and so the panels do their job by deflecting water and then hanging to dry quickly. Wood on the ground will rot quickly, while dead wood left standing on a limb will stay dry. Panels are thus long lived in spite of being an organic material.
Wood is also resistant to rot due to a natural substance called lignin. The resistance of wood depends on the species, as pine tends towards rapid decay and oak and locust wood can hang around for decades. Mold that can break down the lignin in wood might colonize panels during a long bout of wet weather. Since all wood eventually breaks down, its resilience is enhanced with oils and finishes.
Oil helps to prevent cracking while at the same time reducing the water absorption rate. Stain further coats the wood while at the same time adding a darker color. Stains help to bring out the grains of the wood, which can increase beauty if the stain is applied conscientiously. It also helps if wood panels are well-sanded before coating. This is overlooked, but a smooth texture causes water to run off more quickly. A rough texture tends to retain droplets.
Deciding If It is Worth the Work
Someone who has already chosen wood siding or has purchased a house with it can maintain their investment with a little time every year. It is really not too much of a hassle to treat wood panels, although it must be done along the entire length of the house, according to Mrs. Clean. Deciding when is very much a matter of climate and house construction.
Some houses are benefited by overhanging roofs that protect the siding. This means that their exposure to wind and sun is lessened and can survive admirably without treatment every year. On the other hand, one side might be more exposed and therefore need work more frequently. Sun breaks down exterior coatings, while water inevitably penetrates and starts to cause cycles of swelling and shrinking.
Dry weather is also an incentive to treat wood, because too much dryness promotes cracking. Hot climates promote wood destruction as easily as wet ones. The entire exterior should be treated once every few years, which means standing on a ladder for a few afternoons. Regular treatment is about preserving appearance as well as function.
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Mistakes Not To Make
It is unwise to paint wood sidings. The bright color gives them the appearance of plastic, which defeats the point. Paints are also impermeable to water. This means that moisture cannot enter the wood as easily, but moisture also cannot escape. Water becomes trapped behind the paint, and the consequence is decay in summer and peeling. This is an important incentive to learn how to properly treat wood panel siding to withstand weather.