Tell-Tale Signs It's Time for New Siding
New siding can be a big investment; here's how to tell if it's time to splurge on siding installation or if siding repair is your best bet.
General rule of thumb: If it wasn't there when your siding was installed, it probably shouldn't be there now. Dents, dings, cracks, gaps, pests -- all of these things can wreak havoc on your siding if they aren't properly treated. While purchasing and installing new siding may not be as fun as those other home improvement projects you've been saving for, sometimes it's downright necessary. But it's not all drab; new siding can increase your curb appeal and resale value, providing quite the return on investment when done correctly (and at the right time). If you're weighing which home improvement project it's time to do next, consider these four situations to determine if new siding should be at the top of your list.
Extensive Storm Damage Put a Damper on Your Curb Appeal
If you're looking for a surefire way to know that it's time for new siding, nothing quite compares to hail damage. One quick hailstorm is all it takes to leave your siding riddled with dents, dings, and cracks. This damage limits your siding's ability to stand up to subsequent storms, let alone keep pests and moisture out, so we recommend getting it taken care of ASAP. While siding repair can help if the damage is limited to a few individual boards, if the damage is widespread (think along one complete side of your home) you'll want a complete siding replacement.
After that storm passes, you should also inspect the siding for wind damage. Powerful wind gusts and straight-line winds can wreak havoc by knocking boards of siding loose, or even tearing pieces off completely. While it's easy to spot pieces that have become extremely loose or detached, take a close look at your siding after strong storms to make sure there aren't any slightly loosened areas waiting to fly off during the next storm. As with hail, if wind has damaged an entire area of siding versus a few individual boards, complete siding replacement tops repair.
You're Sick of Frequent Siding Repairs
When cracked, damaged, or loose siding begins to create a maintenance overload that's not the result of a storm, you could have even more reason for concern. With small and infrequent dents and dings, siding repair can easily get the job done. However, if those dents and dings have started to add up or keep coming back without reason, they could be signaling that your siding has reached the end of its life span. If this isn't the case, an overload of repairs could also signal that there is a deeper issue at hand, such as underlying water or pest damage that calls for professional inspection and treatment.
You'll want to pay close attention to siding cracks, gaps, bubbles, warps, and blisters. Cracks and gaps invite in excess moisture and troublesome pests, two things you don't want near your foundation -- or your home, for that matter. In addition to cracks and gaps, watch for bubbling, warped, or blistered siding -- three issues that can be caused by excess moisture or heat. If you notice bubbles, warps, or blisters on your siding, it's a good idea to have a professional inspect the area. Local siding contractors can help determine if the root issue is affecting all of your siding (and calling for siding replacement) or just affecting the area with visible flaws (and calling for siding repair).
Better Homes & Gardens Tip: When siding your home, ask your contractor if you can keep a few pieces of spare siding. This way, when those repair needs are minor, you'll have quick access to the perfect siding color, texture, and material.
The Battle with Dry Rot Has Become Never Ending
Homes with wood siding need to add another item to their siding inspection list: dry rot. Rot is a pretty common phenomenon, especially in older siding that was not designed or treated for weather resistance. As with other siding issues, a small area of rot can be repaired with new boards; but if the problem is widespread, it's time to start over with a weather-resistant material. Keep in mind that dry rot may not become visible until it has already done a significant amount of damage, and created an extensive need for completely new siding. If you want to stop this issue before it progresses, we recommend inspecting your siding regularly. Warping and crumbling are two major signs that rot has taken over. However, there are also signals you can look for long before the rot becomes visible.
If you're concerned that dry rot could be affecting your siding, here's what to do: Take a hard object, such as a screwdriver, and poke at the siding to see if it has become soft -- if so, it needs to go. Once dry rot is present, it will keep eating away at your remaining siding until it's addressed. So you'll want to get it taken care of with a new siding replacement straightaway.
Dull Siding Has Your House Fading into the Background
There's not much that can add to (or subtract from) the exterior of a home quite like siding. Whether you're sick of frequent staining and painting, avoiding drawing glances and glares, or getting ready to put your home on the market, new siding can be your saving grace.
If you're just not sure if your siding should stay or if it should go, remember that under normal conditions color fading is a tell-tale sign that your siding has reached the end of its life span. Over time the sun and other elements can, and will, fade the initial color of your siding. While this is nothing to be surprised about, it is something to be aware of, as drab, faded siding can bring down your curb appeal and resale ability. While painting and staining can help extend the life of your siding, they are not a permanent solution. In fact, the worse the problems get, the more frequently you'll need to paint, stain, and repeat.
Since you see your siding every day, it can be difficult to tell when the color has gone downhill. This is another reason to store a few extra boards of siding indoors and out of the sun. Then you can easily bring the spare board outside to compare how the coloring is holding up.
Looking for a low maintenance siding option? Consider installing vinyl siding. It doesn't need to be painted or stained as often as other materials, such as wood. Plus, you can easily clean and help restore its color with power washing.