Wood siding is extremely common in the San Jose area and Silicon Valley as a whole, both on condominiums & townhouses and also on houses. (We do not see a lot of vinyl siding here, as we might in other parts of the country.) Water is the #1 enemy of houses – even more than termites! It is necessary to control water intruding into the wood, because if it gets in, fungus and rot can get a start on your home.
How do you prevent water damage, fungus, and dry rot on wood siding?
Exterior wood needs to be painted about every five years or it can crack, peel, and otherwise allow moisture intrusion. If the wood is kept sealed, it can do very well against water. Another big cause of expensive wood repairs outdoors is earth to wood contact. If you have ever built a fence, or had one made for you, you’ve probably seen that the best practice is to put the wooden posts into concrete rather than directly into the dirt. The reason is simple: soil gets damp and the wood will wick up the moisture, whether it’s fence boards, posts, part of a wooden deck, or the siding on your home. If the siding or other wood comes near the soil, the recommendation is to separate them one way or the other. In the photo I’ve included with this article, the siding of this townhome complex was allowed to touch the earth. You can see the results: expensive repairs needed! The old saying goes that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of curse”. It’s especially true with caring for wood siding and other times of wood on the outside of your home or in your yard. If you can remember to do a walk-around every few months, at least twice a year, you are more likely to find the beginnings of issues before they become thousands of dollars. Keep a schedule for painting and make sure you do it before it looks like it’s needed. If you wait until there’s chipping and cracking, you may already have trouble! Watch for earth to wood contact, and rake away the soil or take other measures to protect your siding. This is true for owners of townhomes too. It seems like decades ago, home owner associations were often responsible for siding, but in the last few years I’ve been finding more and more HOAs make that the owner’s responsibility, even if the HOA is in charge of the painting schedule. Make sure that you have a look at your siding regularly so that you can stop fungus and dry rot in their tracks and prevent a small headache from becoming extremely costly. Finally, it’s a good idea to have a pest inspection (termite inspection) every 3 to 5 years to nip any issues in the bud. Related reading: What Is Cellulose Debris (in a pest or termite report)?