Re-siding your home is a great way to bring fresh curb appeal and new life to a fading exterior. It also is an important part of your home’s protective system, keeping weather and pests at bay. If your siding is beginning to show signs of wear or damage, here are some tips to be able to tell if the problem needs professional attention.
EVALUATING YOUR SIDING
The first step is to thoroughly inspect your home’s siding for signs of wear, decay or failure. Below are some of the more typical issues people have with their siding. Obvious signs are rotting, falling down or cracked boards, that need professional help, but some are subtler.
1. Problem: Swelling – Swelling occurs when too much moisture is trapped in the material. This issue is most typical in old Masonite siding. Pay particular attention to seams and areas where the siding has been cut or pieced as swelling usually begins in these places. Swelling may also show up as wavy boards. Stand beside your home and look along the wall to see how much sagging is present.
Level: Pro – Swelling can be a serious issue if it causes gaps that allow the elements into your home. Unexplained peeling wallpaper and paint on the inside are a sign that moisture is getting in.
2. Cracking – Cracked boards are usually easy to spot. Running over your siding with a bright light may highlight defects you might miss with the naked eye. Look particularly near the bottom edge of the siding where damage from swelling or lawn equipment can create that first flaw in your home’s armor.
Level: Semi-Pro – Cracks in your siding are bad because of what they can lead to (see swelling above). Depending on severity, you most likely should have the siding professionally evaluated.
3. Wildlife or Hail Damage – Our four footed and feathered friends, as well as mother nature, can wreak havoc on your siding creating an entry point for moisture. Much of the damage maybe cosmetic, but a determined pest may compromise your siding system creating an entry point for moisture and additional pests. Examine areas near the ground along eaves and near gutters and corners, where birds and squirrels frequent.
Level: Semi-Pro – Like cracks in your siding damage from pests may only be superficial and can be handled easily. However, if the depth of damage goes through the siding in multiple places, it is best to have it evaluated by a professional.
4. Fading, chipped or outdated paint – Over time, colors fade or become less popular. You may notice chipped areas or even peeling. You may even sometimes see a chalky residue on the surface. While paint is largely cosmetic – it does provide extra protection and is a bellwether of deeper issues.
Level: Semi-Pro – If your siding is otherwise in good condition, you may opt to handle repainting your siding yourself. If you do, make certain to check the standards for your particular type of siding to ensure you select paint that fits that material. Also – don’t scrimp on exterior paint – it has to last years in harsh conditions. Blistering or bubbling may be a sign of excessive heat or moisture and should be addressed by a pro.
PROTECTING YOUR SIDING
If your siding is still in great condition, there are a few steps you can take to prolong it’s life. These simple chores should be addressed 2 times a year to keep common problems from surfacing.
1. Maintain Trees & Shrubs – greenery is a way to beautify our homes and also provide protective ground cover. However, care should be taken to keep branches clear of walls, so that moisture doesn’t splash up or become trapped.
2. Garbage Cans and Outdoor Furnishings – In the same way, evaluate items such as garbage cans, storage bins, garden hose storage and other items that are typically placed against the exterior of your home. Leave a gap of at least 6 inches to minimize water splashing up or becoming trapped.
3. Roof & Gutters – Your home’s exterior systems all work together to keep weather and pests out of your home. Clogged or failing gutters or a damaged roof are sure to cause problems with your siding down the road. Evaluate the condition and contact a professional if repairs are needed.
The team at O.C. Taylor are experts in evaluating, maintaining and repairing your home’s exterior systems. If you see any of the warning signs of failure, don’t hesitate to give us a call, we’ll be right over for a free estimate.