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How To Maintain Exterior Trim and Siding

Water destroys houses - plain and simple. It leads to rot, mold, insect infestation and several other destructive conditions. Keeping water on the outermost part of your home should be a top priority. Don't give rain and melting snow a chance to contact bare wood in your home. Not just wood either, seepage and freezing water in stone, brick and concrete also are destructive.

These gaps between the clapboard siding boards, the siding and the window and the gap in the window trim can all admit water. The gaps should be filled and painted. The bare wood where the paint has chipped should also be painted.

Before the wet season begins is the best time to find and repair your home's envelope to keep it water-tight. Start by inspecting your home exterior and make notes of what needs to be done.

First, inspect for peeling paint. Bare wood or metal should be cleaned and spot painted to protect it from the elements. Hammer in any "nail pops" and paint those as well. For stucco, apply stucco patch for larger cracks or just primer and paint for hairline cracks.

Look for gaps in exterior siding, between butt joints where two boards come together end-to-end and where the siding meets corners and other trim pieces. Use a high quality exterior caulk to seal all gaps; this will help to keep out water and insects.

Inspect the trim around doors, windows and all other places where pipes, vents etc pass through an exterior wall. The trim around the top and sides should be sealed with a high quality exterior caulk. Gaps between trim and the house will allow in water, as it runs down the side of the house. Water that gets behind the trim can damage walls, windows, drywall, and interior trim. Seal gaps between the trim and the wall at the top edge and ends of horizontal trim. Leave the bottom edges uncaulked so that condensation or any water can flow out. Vertical trim should have the top and sides sealed and leave the bottom uncaulked.

In the warm season, direct sunlight will deteriorate materials. Inspect and repair again in the Spring for peeling paint and gaps to minimize UV damage and pest infiltration.

Sealing gaps to prevent water infiltration has a dramatic impact on preserving a home. Your home will look better and last longer while requiring less maintenance and repairs. It is important maintenance and relatively simple to complete. Following these steps will improve the life span of your home and reduce long-run maintenance expense.

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