Log siding can be used in cabin construction, as finish for your frame-constructed home or even to make a beautiful remodel design statement for your existing home. Many people prefer quality wood siding because it can fit conventional house frames while adding rustic warmth to an existing home. It combines the aesthetics and feel of an authentic log structure and the cost-effectiveness of a traditional frame structure too. The choice of exterior material determines the appearance of your house and in addition it is most important for the insulation of the home from heat and cold or keeping the moisture out.
Log Siding Types
Lately there are many options available for log siding such as concrete log siding, vinyl log siding and steel log siding but wood siding remains immensely popular.
Reasons For The Popularity Of Wood Siding
Wood log siding is durable having been tried and tested for centuries now. Besides a long life span, wood also offers good insulation and the greatest visual appeal. Wood log siding is often favored by log home owners because of the use of environmentally-friendly natural materials. Wood siding is a great fit for those looking for green architecture solutions and renewable resources.
There are different species of wood that offer varying levels of protection from moisture, rot, pests and shrinking. But almost all log siding requires proper maintenance in order to keep their integrity and look good for years to come.
Woods that are commonly used for log siding include pine, cedar, redwood and spruce. Pine is a relative soft wood that can hold stains or paint really well. But it is prone to rot and required regular sealing. Cedar offers more resistance to rot and pests but it also needs routine servicing. Redwood works well to keep off insects, moisture and shrinkage. Moreover it also holds external finishes and its joints and profile better than other kind of woods. It may require less maintenance than other log sidings but it does need an occasional sealing too. Spruce is more often used for board siding and is cheaper than other woods but is also more prone to rot and must therefore be regularly sealed.
Log siding comes in a range of cuts of varying sizes- quarter-log and half-log. And wood siding is available in different styles, including clapboard and plank.
How To Prevent Damage To Wood Siding
Wood siding is expensive and it is critical to protect the natural beauty of your investment through regular upkeep and special care.
Check For Rot and Water Penetration
Excessive moisture can cause wood to rot and allow water infiltration in the wood siding, especially where joints do not overlap.
Siding stubs against windows, doors and corner moldings have to be inspected regularly for cracked caulking or gaps.
In case of vertical siding the vertical joints need to be caulked to fill up any crack or opening for water.
Attach flashing with horizontal joints on panel siding. If horizontal siding is not sloped properly, water can collect on the wood trim protecting joints. Pick a dry day when the temperature is above 65 degrees F to reapply a color-matched exterior caulk.
Avoid Inappropriate Nailing
Wood siding gets weakened when nails are put close to the edge or there are too many nails used during installation. This prevents the wood from expanding and contracting freely, causing wood siding to split.
The wood siding should never be placed over foam insulation. The foam insulation is inherently impenetrable as it does not absorb water and nor does it allow even vapor from the rear surface of the siding to escape. When humidity from rain or dew gets into the siding, it can evaporate easily from the exterior surface but the rear surface will remain saturated because of the foam insulation. As the exterior surface of the wood dries, it shrinks, and puts stress on the wood siding because the rear surface remains swollen from the moisture. It can cause paint to crack, wood to split, mildew to form, and even curling to occur.
Where wood siding is installed over foam insulation in your log home, it will require regular maintenance till you remove and replace the foam with plywood.
Prime and apply a water repellent wood preservative to the back of the wood siding, but avoid natural oil based products.
Mold and Mildew
When mold and mildew spores land on the wood siding they find hospitable feeding conditions. Natural resins in many oil based house stains, such as linseed, vegetable, tong oils and animal fat, co-incidentally are food that mildew thrives on. There are chemical mildewcides and fungicides that can be added to the exterior stains by the manufacturers but the natural ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sunlight and rain water wear off these chemicals within a short time. It is better to use stains that contain no natural oils and are preferably made of synthetic resins so that your siding does not attract mildew.
Plants can conduct moisture, which often make its way into any tiny gaps or opening in the siding. So regularly trim bushes, tree branches and shrubs to ensure they do not touch the wood siding. Prime the exposed side of the wood siding to ward off fungus and mildew.