The exterior siding of your home is not something that most people think much about. When you get home from work or errands, you make B-line for the front door so that bags can be dropped and you can put your feet up. No doubt, you would notice any significant cracks, warping, or discoloration on your interior walls. But who pays attention to their siding?
Unfortunately, ignoring your siding doesn’t make it immortal. Eventually, all types of siding materials wear out and will need to be repaired or replaced in order to keep your home secure from the weather. Just as the roof keeps the sun and rain off of your head, siding keeps the elements from blowing into your home laterally. Rain hits the side of your house and runs harmlessly down the siding. The heat and humidity may rise outside, but your siding allows your AC to do its work keeping the home cool and dry. But when your siding is damaged or quite old, your home is no longer secure from weather, moisture, and insect invasions. For every homeowner, it’s important to know the warning signs and when it’s time to call a professional for siding repair or replacement.
Let’s look at ten of the most common signs that your siding needs a little professional TLC.
1) Hail Damage
You may already be aware of the damage hail can do to a rooftop and, unfortunately, your siding isn’t much safer. Hail blowing in at an angle can hammer your siding with hundreds of little ice-bullet strikes. After a bad hail storm, you may notice divets like little craters in your siding material or a great deal of paint chipped off of the surface. Both of these telltale signs are a clear indication that you should get your siding inspected and, at the very least, re-sealed.
2) Wildlife Damage
Every neighborhood has certain environmental hazards in the form of local wildlife. While most wouldn’t think of the birds and squirrels as a risk to their siding, there are all sorts of ways that animals can compromise the outside of your home. Wood siding is especially at risk of damage from wildlife, both plant and animal, because nature sees wood siding the same as any other dead wood. And nature has plans for dead wood.
You may notice woodpeckers trying to hunt for insects in your siding (and they just might find a few squirmy residents) or scratches in the paint from squirrels climbing your house. And, of course, your biggest worry should always be the possibility of insect infestation. Particularly termites and carpenter bees that will both take apart your home to build their own.
3) Rot or Fungus
Speaking of damage caused by nature, high humidity in your region or simple rainstorms can soak your siding and make it much more susceptible to rot and fungus. Rot occurs when wood siding is soaked for too long, usually as a result of already compromised siding sealant or improperly sealed siding. Over time, the wood will become soft and crumbly to the touch, clearly no longer protecting your home. Fungus does something similar, growing into the porous material of your siding and breaking it down, just as it would do to an old log.
4) Cracks and Gaps
There are a number of reasons why your siding might develop cracks in the panels or gaps between the panels. These range from warping due to heat, flexing caused by foundation shifts, simple age of your siding as starts to pull apart. Look very carefully for siding panels that are no longer perfectly lined up and for cracks that appear anywhere on the outside of your home. If there is even one gap in your siding, insects, air, and rain can get in to cause much greater damage.
5) Creeping Utility Bills
Of course, even if you can’t see any damage to your siding, your utility bill can reveal an unspotted gap or somehow compromised integrity of your outer seal. If your power bill is much higher than it should be or has been creeping up further each month, this could be a sign that your HVAC is leaking somewhere and the most likely culprit is siding damage that will need to be repaired.
6) Warping or Bubbles
If your siding lives through a very hot summer and extreme heat, keep a close eye on it for signs of warping or bubbles. Bubbles in your siding can happen with vinyl or be a paint response to high heat while warping can occur with most of the older conventional siding materials. Extreme heat is not good for homes in general and you will need to watch for problems with more than just siding during or after a heat wave.
7) Peeling or Missing Paint
Siding is almost always covered in a special sealant followed by paint in order to make it the ideal exterior protection for your home and look good in the neighborhood. That outer layer of paint and sealant is very important to maintain the integrity of your siding and the protection of your home. If you notice the paint peeling or missing pieces when doing an inspection of your home exterior, siding repair should be your first solution. Your siders will be able to determine if there is underlying damage or if your siding just needs a new coat of sealant and paint.
8) Peeling Interior Paint
Another more subtle sign that your siding is experiencing problems is the state of the paint inside your home. Siding protects the outside of walls and maintains the correct climate inside your home. Without fully functioning siding, excess humidity and a temperature difference in the wall space can cause interior paint to pull away from the drywall and begin peeling or chipping away.
9) Significant Fading or Discoloration
Over time, siding may look mostly normal to you, but the state of the color can be a big reveal for its true state. Siding that has faded significantly in the past several years or siding that is clearly discolored in certain places is likely to have taken damage from long sun exposure or whatever caused the discoloration. As your professional siders to investigate. A best-case scenario is that you just need a new coat of paint.
10) More Than 20 Years of Service
Finally, remember that siding is not eternal. Though your home may stand for a century if properly maintained, each piece will need to be repaired and replaced many times over a home’s lifespan including the siding. If your siding is over 20 years old, you are no doubt due for a check-up and probably full replacement.
Does your home need siding repair or installation? If you’ve seen signs of damage or aren’t sure and would like to consult with a professional, contact us today!