What to Use on Redwood Siding to Keep it Looking New

Homeowners have a range of siding materials for their homes. Natural wood siding, such as redwood, is a common choice because of its attractive red-brown color, natural appearance and long-lasting character. Redwood requires periodic maintenance to keep it looking new, however. A number of finishes are used to preserve both the surface appearance as well as the structural integrity of the wood.
Redwood offers many advantages as a siding material. The natural reddish color fits well into wooded environments and gradually weathers to a gray color. At any stage in the aging process, it is possible to preserve the color you like by applying a sealer. With regular maintenance, redwood siding can last up to 30 years. In addition, redwood siding gives good sound insulation for your home, muffling the noise of rain, hail and wind. Redwood requires re-painting or re-staining every 3 to 5 years.
Redwood Siding Problems
Constant exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun can deteriorate redwood siding, drying out the wood and making it vulnerable to environmental damage. Mildew can often grow on the wood surfaces, leaving dark, discolorations. This mildew growth can be removed with household chlorine bleach or oxalic acid, available at hardware stores. Iron nails can also rust and discolor the wood siding. Use aluminum, stainless steel, or good-quality hot-dipped galvanized nails.
Cleaning Redwood Siding
Regular cleaning of the surface of the redwood with water will remove surface dirt and stains from tree sap. Pressure washing is often used on siding, but should be done carefully to avoid pitting the wood and dislodging the siding from its position. Hire a pressure-washing company experienced in working with wood siding materials. If you attempt to clean the siding yourself, use a low pressure setting on the sprayer.
Oiling Redwood
Boiled linseed oil is often used to nourish the redwood and give an attractive sheen to the surface of the material. These oils tend to favor the growth of mildew, however, and are not recommended. Linseed oil is sometimes added to oil-based paint to enhance the penetration and add moisture to the wood
Transparent Stains
Transparent stains help to preserve the natural color and integrity of the wood without changing the color. They are lightly colored to enhance the natural look of the wood while protecting the surface against UV rays and mildew, to keep your redwood siding looking new. Avoid the use of varnish or polyurethane coatings which crack and peel with exposure to the elements and create a bad appearance on the wood.
Painting Redwood Siding
Painting wood siding offers a good protective coating for the redwood siding and helps to eliminate mildew growth. Oil-based are recommended to redwood siding as these protect the wood better than latex paints which form a thicker coating over the wood.