Skip to content
Home Remodeling Experts

How to Prevent Wood Siding From Rotting at the Bottom

Last updated 1/15/24

Rotting siding can ruin not only the beauty of your home but can also affect the inside of your home if not taken care of quickly and correctly. We have all heard, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”… This holds particularly true for preventing rotting wood siding.

Let’s dive into ten things you can do to prevent your siding from rotting at the bottom before it’s a problem.

Rotten siding along the bottom of a house. An example of a house that needs to be painted.

Exterior Painting is EVERYTHING

This has to be my number one answer to keeping your siding from rotting at the bottom.

So, let me be ultra clear. How do you keep your siding from rotting at the bottom? Painting your home is the best thing you can do to keep your wood siding from rotting.

Painting your home protects it from the elements. Have you ever gotten a sunburn? Imagine getting a little dirt and grit on your arm when it’s beet red. Ouch! Your siding works the same way. It’s not meant to take direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will cause UV damage to your home’s exterior. Think about paint as sun block for your home. Good paint will protect your siding from the elements and keep your home looking beautiful.

We all have heard it’s the last dollar you spend that is most important, and this couldn’t be more true with paint. The difference between cheap paint and a top choice paint, is around $20.00 a gallon and the top choice can last three times longer. What are we really saving here?

Freshly painted blue siding with white trim.

Inspect Your Home Regularly

There once was a time where people walked around their home and took note of problems they found. They took pride is keep their home in good shape. When they saw a problem, they took pride in themselves and got out their tools and fixed it right then and there. It’s time for you to get back to those old fashioned values.

Schedule self-inspection in your home, using your smartphone reminders will help you stay on track with doing this a few times a year.

Consider problem areas like the chimney flashing and soffits. Look at the very bottom of the siding around the house, keep debris away. Keep the yard trimmed along the house and don’t allow mulch to stack up and trap moisture on the wall. Look for cracked seams and be sure to re-caulk and touch up with a little paint.

Pro tip: We all know you have cans of paint in the garage. Well why the heck did you save it? Just so you could look at it? No, not you, you’re going to use it to save your siding!

This one routine costs you nothing goes a long way in keeping your home beautiful. It’s a good “adult” habit and it keeps the wet conditions outside where they belong.

Cracks in the siding joints indicate the need for caulk and paint

Clean Your Gutters

Who likes cleaning gutters? (Crickets…) You don’t have to like but you do have to do it if your want a trouble free home. It’s like the saying “An apple a day…”

I suggest cleaning your gutters in the fall and then again in the spring. You need to focus on keeping them clear in the wet seasons. When does it rain most? That’s when you need to get out there and clean them out.

I suggest you go to the hardware store, over to the concrete tools, and find yourself a handy little mixing trowel there. They are super strong and will last forever. Please avoid the plastic little scoops in the gutter isle. That’s total junk and we don’t buy junk!

Have a gutter cleaning routine in place will keep them from getting clogged with leaves, sticks, and other debris, which will cause water to overflow, damage your eaves, and allow water to get behind your exterior wall.

Word to the wise: Just because you bought those fancy gutter guards that are supposed to keep the leaves out doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. These products do keep a lot of leaves out of the gutters but they have a tendency to allow the leaves to just collect on the roof. If you see leaves on your roof, you can guarantee moisture is trapped in those leaves and that’s not good. Get up there and clean them off ASAP.

Not cleaning your gutters may be the reason you keep having to repair your soffits year after year. Do it right now and save yourself thousands in repair bills.

A home with rotten soffits caused by overflowing gutters

Install Drip Edge Flashing

Without a drip edge or flashing, water can roll behind your roof’s edge causing damage to not only the roof and siding but also to the interior of your home. If you have an older home keep in mind that building science has changed a lot in the past few decades and this flashing can go a long way towards protecting your home from damage.

Ok, ok. I’ll admit that it’s a lot easier to install when you’re having your roof replaced. It’s a super quick add on for the roofing company. If you don’t want to get up there and install drip edge right now, just store this tip away and have your roofer do it when it’s time for a replacement.

Wash Your Siding

Dirt gets trapped on your walls. When it rains, all the splashing throws grit onto the bottom of your siding. Where have we heard the word grit used? Sandpaper? Yes it’s that abrasive. Washing removes all that grit that is damaging your home. If you don’t give your house a bath every now and then, I can guarantee you’ll be painting again real soon.

Also, when mildew and mold are allowed to grow, it just traps moisture on the wall. Let’s say it together this time, “And that’s not good”. What’s worse is it will cover small problems like cracking caulk lines that could have been caught early and repaired during your inspections.

GIF of a bees flying around a hole in the siding because of a hive inside the wall.

Keep Up With Exterminations

The worst damage i’ve ever seen has been from bees getting into a home’s exterior walls. This is why we are out doing our inspections! If you see pests, do something about it right now.

Inspect your home often for signs of carpenter bees, termites, honey bees, wasps, ants, and rodents.

  • Carpenter bees stink because they love to drill holes in your deck.

  • Ants will just straight move in and make an anthill in your walls.

  • Look for wasps at your roofline. They love living in the soffits.

  • If free honey from the honey bees sounds nice, think again.

  • Termites eat away at your home’s structure.

  • And rodents cut tunnels in your walls so they can explore at night.

I think i’ve said enough. A good extermination routine will help prevent pests from making a home out of yours!

Windows Are Big Offenders

Inspect your window sills from inside and outside your home a few times a year to look for cracks and damaged wood.

These issues can create deeper moisture issues getting behind your siding and causing damage you may not notice until it is a much bigger issue. You’re looking for cracks in the paint and caulk or a weakened look in the wood window sill.

Most problems can be spotted by opening the window and inspecting the outside sill from the inside of your home. No ladders needed! If you can’t open your windows, just peek through the glass.

A water damaged window with cracks in the sill, allowing water behind the siding.

Install Ice and Water Shield

Install ice and water shield at the roof edges next time you replace the roof. This is a simple membrane that sticks to your roof decking and wraps down to your fascia board.

It completely stops water from getting to your soffits. Installing an ice and water shield allows water to drain off the roof properly. This protection can increase your roof and sidings longevity and decrease your need for as many repairs long term.

Keep Your Downspouts Clear

As part of your gutter maintenance, be sure your downspouts also are clean and functional. Make sure they also point away from your siding and home in general. Water should never be allowed to pool at your home’s foundation wall. Make sure any brackets attached to your home are also in good repair, and any screw holes are appropriately caulked to prevent moisture from getting under the siding.

Pro tip: Run your garden hose down your downspout while the water is turned on. This will usually take care of any clogs you might have.

Building Science Is Always Changing

Building science and better materials continue to change. The way we install siding has improved over the years and the types of materials are improving the protection they provide your home. If you’re having severe rotten siding problems, it might be time to not only beautify your home but give it a level of protection to keep the interior of your home beautiful and safe for years to come. If you’d like our help, give us a call today at (205) 858-1658 or contact us by filling out our quick form.


If you have Rotten Masonite Siding and don’t know what to do about it, read my masonite article that tell you what options you have.

T.j. Beckham

Share this post
Back To Top