Exterior siding which is exposed to the elements is finished to slow down weathering and the rate at which moisture is absorbed into the material. Wood siding or wood products exposed to weathering should be sealed with a protective coating, generally stain or paint. Exterior stains and paints are chosen for their durability and appearance but will fade after exposure to the elements. Fading is most noticeable if touch-up should be necessary as a result of localized repairs. Repainting of your home every few years is an inevitable homeowner maintenance item and should erase such fading contrasts. Before painting:
Treated wood, redwood and cedar materials, while being decay resistant, will normally stain and discolor unless adequately protected with a paint or stain finish. Surface cracking or checking is normal and will occur with stain or natural finish products on wood.
Remember, on most parts of the home, just keeping the wood dry will keep it from rotting. Most decay organisms require moisture.
Because wood is a product of nature, miters, end butted joints and other joined details will, in time, develop separation due to the nature of wood shrinkage. This is normal during the periods of change in temperature and seasons and especially changing moisture condition. After a full season, most of these occurrences should begin to minimize. Inspect the caulking around doors, windows, skylights and trim once a year. If a space develops at joints, corners or ends, you should apply outdoor grade caulking to correct the situation and touch-up with paint or stain as necessary.
Use only quality caulking products which are specifically recommended for the materials being caulked.
Surfaces of masonry and masonry walls, especially above ground, generally need no exterior treatment. However, masonry walls sometimes develop "efflorescence," a white, powdery substance. This can often be cleaned off with a stiff brush and water. If it does not respond, use one part muriatic acid to nine parts water. Rinse thoroughly before and after. If the efflorescence is green use one part caustic soda to ten parts water. We recommend that a professional be hired to do this.
CAUTION: If you decide to do this yourself, both muriatic acid and caustic soda are dangerous. Wear rubber gloves and goggles. Pour slowly into water to prevent splashing.