How Long Will Cedar Siding Last Untreated?

Jason Markey

Damage caused by water and moisture will weaken the exposed sapwood of your cedar siding. There are many causes of water damage to cedar siding, including chimney fires, leaking roofs or windows, and weather. Poorly installed flashing behind the siding can also let water and moisture into your walls, damaging your wood trim and siding.

Untreated cedar siding lasts about 5 years because it has a protective barrier on the outside surface that repels water and protects against rot. Cedar is one of the most preferred choices for exterior cladding because of its good looks and low maintenance requirements. It can be stained to add color or left to provide a naturally aged appeal. Find out from siding installers at  Lifetime Exteriors in Vancouver how to extend the life of your cedar siding and how to tell when it needs replacement.

Is It Possible to Leave Cedar Unstained?

Yes, it is possible to leave cedar unstained. The wood has a natural oil that helps protect it from water and other environmental damage, so you don’t have to worry about applying a stain or sealant. Just make sure not to let the wood soak in too much water—especially if it gets wet from the rain.

How Do You Tell Cedar Siding Needs Replacement?

Even though cedar siding is one of the most beautiful and pleasant materials in your home, it has drawbacks. If you notice any of these signs, you should consider replacing your cedar siding before it’s too late:

  • It’s faded or cracked: Cedar siding can fade over time, especially when exposed to the elements. It can happen after the wood has been used in your home for years, so if you’re noticing more than just a few splotches of color fading away, it may be time to replace the boards.
  • It’s rotting/rotting out: Cedar siding is naturally rot-resistant, but if it begins to rot or decay in any way, this will become apparent quite quickly. The wood will begin to swell and expand in size until eventually separating from each other completely. It can make the boards dangerous if they come loose while someone passes underneath them or walks on them during a storm.
  • When the paint starts chipping off in big chunks, it is usually caused by tree sap from the weather or exposure to rotting. 
  • It has holes: You can tell when cedar siding needs to be replaced by looking at the condition of your home. If you notice holes or if it has started discolouring, you may want to replace it before it decays further.

If you notice the signs above, contact your local siding contractor immediately so they can come out and inspect your property before they start work on replacing your cedar siding!

Cedar Siding Maintenance 

Cedar siding does not have any maintenance requirements, but it does require some care to keep it looking fresh for years. The important thing you can do for your cedar siding is to:

  • Ensure that the humidity in your home stays around 40%. You can do this by adding pieces of wood or shingles around your windows and doors, as well as adding fans or dehumidifiers indoors when necessary.
  • Ensure that all flashing around windows and doors are kept in good shape by periodically scraping away any mold growth or loose material on them (particularly on metal).
  • Insulate your attic. Cedar shingles are very susceptible to moisture, which can cause them to rot and deteriorate quickly. Even if you only have a tiny area of shingle damage, it can be detrimental over time. Insulating your attic will help prevent this problem and save you money down the road!

How to Make Cedar Siding  New

The first step in maintaining cedar siding is to clean it regularly. Cedar can be cleaned with a garden hose and mild soap, or you can use a pressure washer with a low-pressure setting.

It is especially true if you have not replaced the siding recently or if there are large amounts of dirt or moss on your siding.

You should never apply any chemical cleaner to cedar siding; this will leave behind residue that will damage the integrity of your shingles and cause them to rot prematurely. Another way to make cedar look new is by applying an exterior varnish to be able to sustain it.

Cedar siding lasts longer when properly installed and with minimum maintenance. It is much longer than fiber cement and vinyl. Provided proper measures are taken to prevent the siding from deteriorating from the elements, it should last longer than other types of siding.

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