14 Signs of Siding Damage
Siding damage can be detrimental to your home’s condition. Holes, gaps, uneven boards, and mold growth can result in severe issues with your home. Understanding the signs to look for and how to repair them is crucial.
Typical Siding Lifespan
Siding damage doesn’t always mean you must replace it. Depending on the damage and the type of siding, it may be repairable, but it depends on its lifespan.
Here are the average life expectancies for the most common types of siding.
Vinyl siding usually lasts up to 60 years. The life expectancy of your siding depends on the amount of sun exposure, the weather, and the type of maintenance. With exquisite care, vinyl siding can last even longer than 20 years.
With proper care, wood siding can last much longer than vinyl. The key factors to watch out for are rot and pest damage, as wood is prone to pest infestation. Wood siding must also be refinished every five years to lock out moisture and limit damage. However, adequately cared for wood siding can last 20+ years, depending on the type of wood. Some wood siding is cheaper than others and doesn’t last as long.
Stone veneer is often used to accent a home’s siding, as it would be very costly to side an entire home with it. However, stone veneer is extremely durable and can last as long as 75 years, requiring little maintenance.
Aluminum siding is also very durable. However, it requires repainting every 15 years or so. In addition, aluminum siding is easily damaged and not as easily repaired. However, replacing it often results in a slightly different color since it’s nearly impossible to match the same color after exposure to weather and other elements. Aluminum siding has lost its appeal because of how easily it damages.
How Can You Tell if Siding is Damaged?
No matter the type of siding you have, it can be damaged in countless ways. The key is recognizing the damage and knowing how to fix it.
Here are the top signs of damaged siding.
1. Warped or Cracked Siding
As siding ages, it naturally warps or cracks. However, the warping results from rotting underneath or the cracks being too large; it can cause severe damage and require you to replace rather than repair your siding.
Warped or cracked siding may cause more extensive issues, including structural issues inside and outside the home. You might notice that the siding looks uneven, or the siding may have a wavy appearance.
You can tell this simply by walking around the property periodically to inspect the siding. Calling for a siding inspection immediately is crucial if you notice any of these signs.
2. Mold Growth
Noticing any type of mold growth on your siding isn’t a good sign. If you notice mold growth in the seams or anywhere on the siding, it’s a sign of moisture, which could lead to even more damage inside and outside the house.
At the first sign of mold, it’s essential to have your siding inspected to determine the reason. If there is a crack or other way water is seeping in, you can have it repaired before more damage occurs and you need much more than a siding replacement.
Rotting siding begins to crumble and fall off the house, exposing the structure to more damage. Rotting not only puts the house’s integrity at risk, but it’s unsightly too. Holes, cracks, or gaps in your house ruin its curb appeal.
It’s important to catch rot early so that it doesn’t spread. Early detection can mean the difference between repairing and replacing your siding.
4. Exposed Nails
If you suddenly see nails sticking out of your siding, it’s a sign that it has expanded and contracted so much that it lost its shape. You might notice odd nails sticking out or notice rusted nails, which is also a sign of a moisture issue.
You may also notice areas where your siding isn’t as secure, indicating missing nails. This could be a problem from the original installation or ongoing wear and tear on the siding.
Either way, it’s a sign that you need a siding inspection to immediately get to the root of the problem.
5. Missing Siding
Strong storms, hail, and other weather elements can cause pieces of siding to go missing. Since the siding protects the home, even a small exposed area can cause serious problems. Without proper siding, the area is prone to moisture damage, which in turn puts it at risk for mold or rotting.
Missing siding also gives pests easier access to the home and the ability to do more damage. If the missing siding isn’t replaced immediately, you could be on the hook for much larger repairs.
6. Uneven Boards – Cracking Caulk
Cracking caulk causes uneven boards. You can tell if the caulk is cracked by looking at the seams. If the seams don’t seem aligned, it could be because of cracked caulk. Properly aligned siding has straight seams that reduce the risk of moisture or pest damage.
Most homeowners notice uneven boards due to cracking caulk right after installation. It’s usually a sign of poor installation and should be inspected immediately.
7. Water Spots Inside the House
Water stains inside the house may indicate an issue with the siding. You might notice discolored ceilings or walls and have no leaks inside the house. Upon further inspection, you may notice water stains on the outside of the siding that coincides with the water stain inside the house.
Letting water stains sit untreated can lead to mold growth which not only causes unsightly siding but can also cause health damage to you and your loved ones.
8. Bubbled Siding
Bubbling or blistering siding can mean there is moisture underneath it. If there is water underneath the siding, it means the siding isn’t effectively doing its job, putting your home at risk for mold growth and rotting.
Most homeowners can see bubbled siding with a quick inspection of the house. If you’re unsure, you can slightly press on the area. If it feels soft, chances are there is moisture underneath, and you will need more than just siding repair.
9. Faded Paint
Paint is another layer of protection for your home. Faded paint can mean the siding is fading or is exposed to weather elements.
Paint can fade due to excessive sun exposure, old age, or storm damage. Either way, it’s a sign that you should inspect the siding to ensure it’s still in good shape. If you aren’t sure, consider a professional inspection. You should then have the house repainted to provide the siding with another layer of protection.
10. Siding Gaps
Gaps in siding mean the siding cannot do its job. Without perfectly aligned siding, the home’s structure is at risk. The gaps allow water, snow, ice, and pests to infiltrate the home. Getting siding gaps fixed immediately should be your top priority.
11. Pest Damage
The most common pest problem is termites on wood siding. Termites eat the wood, leaving the home exposed. Often you can have the termite problem taken care of and the siding replaced if you catch it soon enough.
In addition to termites, your siding could risk other rodents or insects feasting on the siding or damaging your home’s structure.
12. Noisy Siding
Noisy siding could be a sign of improper installation. This happens when the siding boards are installed too tightly. You might hear pops or creaks, especially at night when the house is quiet. Next, you’ll hear what sounds like the wind coming through the home; that’s a sign that the boards are too tightly woven and must be fixed.
13. Dents or Holes from Hail
Large enough hail can leave dents or even holes in siding, especially vinyl siding. Any signs of dents or holes should be inspected immediately. Holes are especially problematic because they expose the home’s structure, but dents can knock siding out of whack, causing just as much damage.
14. Higher Utility Bills
When siding ages or has extensive damage, it cannot do its job. This means your furnace or A/C must work much harder, resulting in higher utility bills. Consider a siding inspection if you notice a sudden increase in your utility costs.
Importance of Addressing Siding Damage
Ignoring siding damage can lead to more extensive and expensive repairs in the future. When left unattended, even minor issues with your home’s siding can escalate quickly, causing significant damage that requires costly repairs.
It’s crucial to address any signs of siding damage promptly to prevent further deterioration and save yourself from unnecessary expenses down the line.
Properly maintained siding protects your home from weather elements and prevents structural damage. Your home’s exterior is constantly exposed to various weather conditions such as rain, snow, wind, and sunlight.
Damaged or deteriorating siding compromises its ability to shield your house from these elements effectively. Moisture can seep into cracks or gaps in the siding, leading to mold growth, rotting wood, and even structural problems.
By addressing siding damage promptly, you ensure that your home remains protected against harsh weather conditions and maintain its structural integrity.
How do you know if Siding Needs to be Replaced?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to determine if your siding should be replaced or repaired. Having a professional inspect the siding is the only way to determine the right answer. Typically, the faster you notice an issue with your siding and take care of it, the higher the chances are of repairing vs. replacing it.
However, every siding type has a lifespan, and if you’re nearing the end of it, replacing the siding may be the best bet. Like your roof, your siding is your home’s protection. It’s not something to ignore or take lightly.
Steps to Preserve Your Siding
Your home’s siding creates its curb appeal and keeps it safe. While siding can last 10 – 40 years, depending on the type, there are ways you can prolong its life.
Inspecting your siding regularly is imperative. At least once a year, walk around the home’s exterior, taking note of the siding’s condition. Call for an inspection immediately if you notice any holes, uneven boards, rotting, mold, or pest damage.
You should also look around the inside of your home for any signs of water damage or mold growth that could be a sign that the siding isn’t doing its job.
You clean the interior of your house regularly but don’t forget about the outside. Depending on the type of siding you have and the manufacturer’s instructions, you might clean your siding annually or more often, depending on the weather in your area.
Paint as Needed
If you have paintable siding, keep up with it. Consult the manufacturer’s guidelines, and be sure to repaint the siding as directed. Not repainting it isn’t just a cosmetic issue. It could ruin the siding’s integrity.
How often should you replace the siding on your house?
How frequently you should replace your home’s siding depends on the type. Most siding, such as wood and aluminum, last 20 – 40 years, but steel, fiber cement, and vinyl siding can last much longer with proper care.
What happens if you don’t replace the siding?
If you don’t replace the siding when it needs it, you put the house at risk of other damages. The siding protects the home. If the protection isn’t sufficient, the home’s structure could experience mold, rotting, pest damage, and overall weakness.
Is it common to put new siding over old siding?
Putting new siding over old siding might be cheaper, but it’s never a good idea. It’s always best to have a fresh start. Not only will your new siding be stronger, but you’ll know immediately if there are other issues within the home that must be taken care of, such as mold or pest damage. Covering it up with another layer of siding doesn’t make the problem disappear but only worsens it.
What time of year is best to replace siding?
Fall and early winter are the best times to install new siding. The temperatures are usually mild enough that the siding won’t expand or contract too quickly, allowing it to settle before the weather changes too drastically. Installing siding when the temperatures are too hot or cold could result in siding issues immediately.
Are there any eco-friendly options for home siding replacement?
Yes, there are eco-friendly alternatives available such as recycled vinyl or fiber cement made from sustainable materials. These options provide durability while reducing environmental impact.
Can new siding improve energy efficiency in my home?
Yes! Upgrading your home’s insulation through new siding installation can enhance energy efficiency by reducing drafts and improving thermal insulation, resulting in potential energy savings.
Siding damage isn’t something to ignite. It’s important to check your home’s siding at least once a year and, at the first sign of an issue, have it inspected. Siding protects your house, but it can’t do its job if you don’t protect the siding.
Siding protects your home and increases its curb appeal. New siding can increase a home’s value while ensuring it’s in great shape. Painting, cleaning, and repairing your siding is the number one way to care for your home!