Cedar is one of the most popular options for residential exteriors, and for several good reasons.
First, cedar is naturally stunning. Compared to other types of natural wood, cedar is warmer and more vibrant in appearance, and it stays that way for years with proper treatment.
Moreover, cedar is easy to maintain. This is because cedar has a natural resistance to rot, pests, and warping. Hence, cedar requires little maintenance and usually needs no more than annual cleaning to stay durable.
Best of all, cedar lasts a very long time, whether it’s used as decking, siding, or some other type of exterior structure.
But exactly how long does cedar siding last? And how can you maximize your cedar siding’s lifespan?
While the answer will depend on factors such as your location, the maintenance you do, and more, cedar siding can last as long as 30 years in the right circumstances. However, some homeowners may only get 10 years of use out of their cedar siding.
In this article, we’re going to help you gain a better understanding of how long you can expect your cedar siding to last. We’ll cover all the relevant factors and help you come up with a maintenance plan to preserve your siding as long as possible. First, some general information.
What Is The Purpose Of Cedar Siding?
Western red cedar siding is used to protect the exterior surface of your house from the elements. Since cedar is naturally strong and durable, having it as siding helps extend the overall lifespan of your home.
Apart from that, cedar siding helps prevent heat loss, thus contributing to good insulation (and savings on your heating bill!) in the winter months. Furthermore, cedar siding unifies the visual appearance of your home’s facade, providing a naturally beautiful look for your exteriors.
If you want a rustic, weathered aesthetic for your home, you can even leave your cedar untreated. It will turn into a light silvery color as it ages, which can occur anywhere from 2 months to a year after installation.
Why Does It Even Matter How Long Cedar Siding Lasts?
All types of wood will degrade eventually, including cedar. But sometimes, cedar siding can look fine on the outside when it’s actually already compromising the durability of your home’s exteriors.
Therefore, knowing exactly how cedar siding lasts can help you determine whether your siding is due for a replacement or not. When your siding is damaged, moisture can seep through your walls and cause further damage to your home’s siding panels and interior walls. To avoid this, you must know when it’s time to replace your cedar siding.
This brings us to our main question: how long does cedar siding last?
How Long Does Cedar Siding Last?
With proper maintenance, cedar siding can last up to 20 to 30 years. Even in the best of circumstances,lthough, you may need to replace some planks after around 10 to 15 years. Nevertheless, cedar siding lasts way longer than other types of material, making it one of the most desirable types of wood for home exteriors.
However, the longevity of cedar siding can be shorter or longer depending on a number of factors.
What Factors Affect How Long Cedar Siding Lasts?
Cedar siding typically lasts 20 to 30 years, but sometimes its lifespan can be longer or shorter. Here are the different factors that affect how long cedar siding lasts:
Proper installation is imperative to cedar siding’s longevity. Mistakes like failing to space planks properly, installing the panels too tight, and skimping on flashing can shorten the lifespan of cedar siding. This is why it’s highly important to get a reliable contractor that will install your siding correctly.
Not all cedar products are made equal. In general, higher-quality cedar withstands damage better than lower-quality cedar products. More than that, higher-quality cedar is more likely to retain its natural color over time. We’ll talk about getting the best quality cedar siding for your project later on.
Is cedar siding hard to maintain? Not at all. Regular cleaning alone can extend the lifespan of your cedar siding beyond 30 years. But if you skimp on cleaning, the dirt, grime, and organic residue that accumulates on your siding will eventually cause degradation.
Cedar is naturally resistant to all types of weather, including extremes of temperature. However, cedar tends to last longer in climates that are generally mild with low humidity. This is because the less moisture there is, the lower the risk of rot, molding, and early deterioration.
Tips & Tricks To Make Your Cedar Siding Last Longer
As you have probably guessed by now, cedar siding can last a very long time even with little maintenance. However, a bit of effort can go a long way. Here are some useful tips and tricks on how to make your cedar siding last even longer:
Buy High-Quality Cedar
First things first, invest in high-quality cedar siding and buy only from a reliable supplier. Steer clear from cedar products that are damp, musty, spongy, and showing signs of damage (e.g. cracks, holes, gaps). After this section, we’ll explain where you can find the quality cedar lumber you deserve.
Clean Your Cedar Siding Regularly
Make it a point to clean your cedar siding at least once a year. Use a mild cleaning solution (e.g. diluted dish soap) and a non-abrasive brush to remove dirt and grime. For contaminants like bird droppings and mildew, we recommend using an oxygen-based bleach to get rid of them completely without damaging the wood.
You can also use a power washer to make the job easier, but be sure to set the pressure at the lowest level to avoid damaging the wood. Also, avoid angling the spray upward to prevent the water from seeping inside your siding panels. Take a look at our in-depth guide on cleaning cedar for more tips!
Consider Removing Nearby Trees and Bushes
Trees can leak sap onto your cedar siding and also serve as a bridge for pests. Nearby bushes, on the other hand, can make it harder for moisture to evaporate from your siding when it rains. Thus, having trees and bushes near your cedar siding can increase the risk of water damage, pest infestations, and even mold.
To avoid these consequences, consider removing or relocating nearby greenery. At the very least, trim branches and leaves so that they don’t touch your siding.
Repair and Replace as Needed
After about 10 to 15 years, some panels of your cedar siding may need to be repaired or replaced. Inspect your cedar siding every year to see if there are panels that need to be repaired or replaced completely. Leaving damaged panels as they are can cause water to leak into your home, which, in turn, can lead to indoor water damage.
The same applies after a strong storm or hurricane. Check to see if the strong winds have blown off or damaged some of your panels, and then replace them as needed.
Reposition Your Downspouts
Downspouts should direct water away from your house. So, if your downspouts are not facing the right direction or are simply not long enough, they may be leaking water into your siding and foundation after it rains.
To prevent water from damaging your cedar siding, see if your downspouts are draining water properly after a rain shower. Alternatively, drop a tennis ball from the opening of the downspout and see where the ball rolls. If it rolls inward or does not roll a significant distance from your foundation, you will likely need to reposition your downspouts so that they move water far away enough from your home.
Clean Your Gutters
Leaves, nests, sediments, and other types of debris will accumulate in your gutters over time. When you don’t clear them out regularly, the debris can cause a blockage and cause water to pour over the sides of your house instead of down the gutter. As a result, your cedar siding may experience constant exposure to moisture, which can lead to water damage and mold growth.
That said, make it a point to clean your gutters at least once every season. Clearing out your gutters is especially important during the fall, when a lot of debris tends to build up due to the leaves.
Seal Your Cedar Siding
Cedar siding is naturally resistant to moisture, but if you want to make it last longer, consider painting and/or sealing it.
Painting cedar siding provides an additional barrier against moisture, dirt, and stains. It also helps to beautify the wood when it turns gray over time, which will occur in untreated cedar.
But if you don’t want to cover the natural beauty of your cedar siding with paint, we recommend applying a layer of waterproof sealant instead. This will protect your cedar from moisture and wear, helping it last longer than untreated cedar.
Pro tip: if your cedar siding has already started turning gray, consider staining the wood to emphasize its natural texture before sealing it.
How Long Does Cedar Siding Last? Closing Thoughts
The lifespan of cedar siding is around 20 to 30 years. But exactly how long does cedar siding last? Well, it all depends on the quality of the wood and installation; how well you maintain it, and, of course, the climate in your area.
Among these factors, there are only two you can control: maintenance and quality. Clean your cedar siding regularly to extend its lifespan for as long as possible. But more importantly, choose the best red cedar lumber supplier when looking for materials to build your siding. Here at G&B Quality Cedar Products, you’ll find quality cedar wholesale deals that won’t break the bank–but won’t compromise on quality either!