There are many materials that can be used to cover the exteriors of houses. Among these are wood siding and shingles. Although these materials have a great, rustic look and are ideal for historic homes, including Victorian-era residences, they can sustain damage over time. For example, termites sometimes bore into wood siding, particularly in Southern states, such as the Carolinas, and water damage can cause boards to rot. If your home’s wood siding or shingles need to be repaired, this guide will help you understand what steps you need to take to tackle several common problems.
Fixing holes in wood siding
- Clean any debris, such as twigs, leaves, or dead insects, out of the hole and use a high-quality stiff-bristled brush to sweep out the hole entirely. If the opening is very small, you might need to use a bottle brush or a toothbrush in order to clean it effectively.
- Apply stainable wood putty to the hole using an appropriately-sized putty knife. Small openings generally require just a single layer of putty, while bigger problem areas may require you to apply several layers for full coverage. If this is the case, make sure you wait for any coat to dry completely before putting any additional putty on the hole.
- Sand the puttied area down, so it is flush with the rest of the siding board or shingle. Then, stain or paint the area to match. When you’re done, the hole should be covered and not noticeable, especially to anyone who is not specifically looking for it.
Fixing warped wood siding
Typically, when siding boards warp, it is because they were installed too close together and, when they expanded and contracted due to dampness or temperature changes, they didn’t have enough space. Therefore, the first thing you need to do to fix warped wood pieces is making sure they are not actually jammed together. If you discover two stuck boards, remove all the nails from the warped section with a hammer or even a hacksaw.
- Pry the damaged board away from your home’s exterior wall and place the right sized block underneath of it. Take care to protect any house wrap or insulation that is directly under the siding.
- Cut the board in question with a saw or a perforated rasp, depending on the level of damage and the spacing you have to work with. Leave approximately 1/16 inch between the board you’re working on and board nearest to it. Nail your new wood siding board into position and stain or paint it to match your house.
Fixing broken or rotting wood shingles
When a wood shingles breaks, cracks, or rots, the best thing to do is to replace the damaged pieces entirely. First, don work gloves so you can pry out the problematic shingle or shingles. You may have to utilize a chisel for this step, but if the piece is very loose, it may come out just by pulling on it.
- Remove any nails that were underneath the shingle, holding it into position. Some homeowners prefer to use a hacksaw to cut these nails, but a flat crowbar may also work.
Some homeowners have extra shingles on-hand, but if you don’t, you will either need to cut a replacement shingle yourself or purchase a single shingle that is the proper size. Make sure there is an approximately ¼ inch of space on both sides of the shingle to allow for expansion.
- Nail the new shingle into place with two shingle nails, about 1 inch from each edge. If you do not want the nailheads to be visible, start with the shingle about a ⅜ inch too low and move it upward once your nails are where you want them.
- Paint or stain your new shingle or shingles to match the rest of your house. To achieve the aged look that wood shingles typically get as time passes, create a solution of baking soda and water and apply it with a brush until you are happy with the result.
Hopefully, this guide has given you some great tips that you can use next time you need to fix the wooden exterior of your house. Wood has a wonderful look that will serve you well for many years, so there’s no reason to shy away from it! You simply need to be aware of how to maintain it so it will look beautiful for decades to come.