How to Get the Longest Life Out of Your Wood Exterior when Living in the South

calander May 23 , 2021 user-iconAnderson Painting
Wood patio in Raleigh

It’s no secret that the southern United States is often hot and humid, especially in the spring and summertime. North Carolina, though not nearly as far south as most of its counterparts is no exception. Wooden exterior features such as siding and decking are constantly at risk of these environmental threats. Whether in the form of vapor, rain, sleet, or snow, moisture can penetrate wood’s pores and cause warping, rot, mold, and more; harsh sunlight and extreme temperatures can erode finishes; and wood-boring pests can eat through these surfaces, weakening their structural integrity.

With so many factors threatening your property’s wood components, it’s crucial to take preventative measures. Here’s how to get the longest life out of your wood exterior when living in the South.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Wood Exterior

Use the Proper Coatings for the Type of Wood in Question

To extend the longevity of your exterior wooden features, you need to protect them with durable coatings. However, not all exterior coatings are alike. Not only that -- there are numerous types of wood used for exterior construction, ranging in strength, pore size, moisture content, paint-holding characteristics, and more. All this means is that certain coatings are better suited for particular wood types, and it’s important to implement the correct match. Hardwoods like magnolia and cottonwood, for instance, which contain small pores and have a medium-low density, are more receptive to paint. On the other hand, penetrating wood stain finish options are recommended for woods containing earlywood and latewood bands (i.e., yellow pine), as these markings point to early paint failure. Your residential exterior painting experts may be able to help you determine which kinds of coatings are right for your various wooden exterior features.

Inspect and Re-apply Exterior Coatings Periodically

No matter which coatings you choose for your wood exterior, it’s important to keep a close eye on their performance and implement periodic touch-ups when necessary. Even a minor breach in your exterior paint or stain can lead to moisture intrusion, rot, etc. Most deck stains should be reapplied every 2-3 years, especially under standard southern conditions. You might re-apply exterior paint about every 5-7 years if possible, though durable coatings can last as long as 10 years or more if properly maintained. When painting or repainting your property, keep color in mind, too -- lighter shades are practical choices for siding, as these reflect rather than absorb sunlight, staying cool and better resisting peeling, fading, and other UV-related issues.

Thoroughly Clean Your Exterior Surfaces

It’s also critical to wash your exterior surfaces at least once a year (twice is recommended for southern homes with wooden features). Proper power washing and scrubbing removes any dust, dirt, grime, mold, and mildew accumulated over the past period and gives your paint or stain a fresh start. Just make sure your exterior is secure before blasting it with a pressure washer, as this method can further contribute to moisture intrusion if your exterior is filled with holes and cracks.

Maintain Your Roofing and Gutters

If moisture is the main threat to your wood exterior, you must keep your roofing and gutters in proper working order. These features help keep water away from your siding and foundation. Inspect your roof at least twice a year to make sure no shingles are loose, damaged, or missing. Install flashing where necessary to waterproof your roof and other exterior features. And clean your gutters seasonally to remove any debris (i.e., leaves, nests, dirt), prevent ice damming in winter, and ensure that water can properly flow away from your home. Keeping up with these maintenance tasks will reduce the amount of siding repair necessary over time and extend the lifespan of your wood exterior.

Keep Your Home Well-Ventilated

Finally, to care for your home’s exterior, you must also take care of its interior. More specifically, maintaining proper ventilation in your home (especially your attic and crawl spaces) will prevent moisture and mold from accumulating inside your home and doing further damage to your wood exterior. You’ll also want to maintain proper air circulation underneath your deck by keeping it at least 18 inches (1.5 feet) above the ground.

Preserve Your Wooden Southern Exterior

Living in the South comes with many blessings, but the climate you know and love isn’t always so kind to your home. At Anderson Painting, we’re committed to helping you get the most out of your home’s wooden exterior features despite all the looming threats. Our team can help you with deck stain selection and application, siding repair and replacement, exterior painting, power washing, and much more. To learn more about us and all we do, call today at 919-610-1855 or email us at info@andersonpaintingnc.com!