Now that the weather is warming up, many home owners are heading outdoors to begin spring improvement projects on their home exteriors. One area you should check thoroughly is your siding. Your siding has the burden of protecting the underlying structure of your home from water, weather, insects, and other threats. Ensuring that it is up to the job is critical. Not only does worn, damaged siding make your home look less than ideal, but it can also allow moisture to get in, compromising the structural integrity of your home and potentially causing mold, which can cause serious health issues.
In cases of minor damage or wear, you may be able to resolve the issue with some minor repairs or by replacing a few boards or a section of your siding. But in many cases, a complete siding replacement is in order. There are a few things to look for that indicate your siding is past its prime and ready to be replaced:
Your siding needs frequent painting – Exterior paint should last at least 8 to 10 years. Chipping, peeling, or cracking paint on the siding is one of the first signs of decay. If your paint is only lasting 5 or 6 years, it may indicate a problem with your current siding.
Rotting or warping – If you notice siding that is warped, use a screwdriver and press it under the siding. If it is soft or spongy, it has begun to rot.
Cracked or loose siding – Finding one or two cracked or loose boards may be not be cause for alarm. But if you find more than a few loose or cracked boards, it may be time for siding replacement.
Mold or mildew – Finding mold, mildew, or fungus, especially near seams, indicates that water is penetrating and getting trapped inside the wall.
Bubbled siding – Siding that is bubbling also indicates trapped moisture.
Holes in the siding – Holes in the siding is typically caused by insects. Even small holes can allow moisture to enter and get under the siding.
High heating and cooling bills – If your utility bills are higher than usual or higher than those of your neighbors with a similar house, or if some rooms are too warm or too cold, it could indicate a problem with your exterior wall insulation.
Blistering wallpaper or peeling paint inside the house – Many homeowners don’t make the connection between issues with interior wall condition and their siding. If you notice that paint is peeling or wallpaper is coming loose inside your home, it could indicate faulty siding that is allowing moisture to seep under the siding and into the wallboard.
If you’re unsure about whether or not your siding needs to be replaced, have it inspected by a professional who can assess it and recommend repairs or replacement.
Even if your siding isn’t in need of replacement at this time, you may choose to replace it for other reasons. New siding can give your home a fresh, new look, boosting its curb appeal. Newer siding also offers increased R values for better energy efficiency that older siding, helping you lower your utility bills. You may also opt for new siding to reduce the maintenance required. Most fiber cement and vinyl siding do not require painting and require less maintenance than wood siding.