Signs Your House Needs New Siding
Old Man Winter is your home’s greatest enemy. When he’s not pelting your siding with hail, he’s launching a veritable storm of debris. Icy weather makes your vinyl brittle enough to crack and your wood moist enough to rot. In summer, Mother Nature strikes with just as much rage. In the heat of the afternoon, your siding expands and becomes fatigued. Infrared energy causes thermal stress, destroying the elasticity of your paint’s polymers. Every season has its own brand of destruction, and if you don’t catch the damage early enough, extreme weather will find its way through your siding and into your insulation. Here’s how to know if your house needs new siding.
Understanding your siding’s lifespan
All siding is finite, even the most powerful vinyl and fiber cement products. If you’ve chosen your materials well, yours might last several decades, but not all products can achieve that much. Wood will give you 15 to 40 years depending on its hardness and quality. Cedar delivers a middling 25 years, but it’s light on maintenance and perfect for homeowners who prefer a hands-free experience.
Aluminum siding’s age ranges from 20 to 40 years, while steel’s can last over 40 years. Stucco is a potent ally, checking out at 60 to 80 years. Vinyl and fiber cement win the longevity race at a maximum lifespan of 100 years.
Your siding’s age might seem irrelevant, but it tells you whether repairs make economical sense. If your materials are reaching the end of their lifespan, an expensive patch job won’t last long enough to offer genuine returns. If you’re a new resident and don’t know the age of your siding, put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and speak to the previous home owner. You can also attempt a color match, which will tell you how long the manufacturer has been producing your paint. Your local building inspector might also be able to help.
Interpret your symptoms
Your siding will tell you when it needs to be replaced if you know which symptoms to look for. Widespread cracks and warps are the most obvious sign of an irreparable surface. Even the tiniest imperfections give water and pests an easy way in. Blisters are another alarming symptom. They suggest that trapped water has crept all the way into your home, which will ultimately attract mold and mildew.
A severe mold infestation will present as dark spots and a musty scent, and while it might be possible to remove visible signs of growth, beating the spores is more challenging than it seems. If your family has developed respiratory symptoms, it’s time to take serious action.
Severe fading is a sure sign that your weatherproofing has failed. If your siding needs a fresh coat of paint every three to six years, your problem lies below your bottom coat. Your home’s interior will respond to failed siding in a similar way, so look for indoor peeling and bubbles.
Finally, if your energy bills are soaring, your siding might be to blame. Failed siding loses its insulation powers, and no amount of extra insulation will achieve a desirable R-value until you’ve replaced the siding itself.
Assess your maintenance costs
Some siding materials are high maintenance, but others need little more than an annual once-over. That’s why we love vinyl. It lasts almost as long as fiber cement and is the easiest siding material to maintain. It’s fade and crack-resistant, so if you want your home to look slick and sleek year after year, it might be worthwhile to wave goodbye to that high-maintenance exotic wood.
Homeowners spend an average of $500 on siding repairs and up to $5, 000 on stone products. In contrast, vinyl will set you back a $50 average per repair. Moving to vinyl offers a considerable return on investment.
Failed siding can cause catastrophic leaks that can wreak havoc inside your home. Mold, mildew, water stains, and rot can all take hold due to leaky materials. Take action if:
- Your ceilings have watermarks or bulges.
- Your paint is bubbling or peeling.
- You notice a chalky layer on your floors and walls.
- The telltale signs of mold are starting to move indoors.
- You detect a musty or damp scent.
Leaks need urgent attention because they threaten to infect your entire household infrastructure. Excess humidity can even trigger respiratory ailments and cause your appliances to rust.
Your siding is more than just a pretty façade. It creates a waterproof envelope that protects your home against pests, leaks, and mold. It’s also a key part of your insulation, so failed siding has a direct impact on your utility bills. When Old Man Winter gets ready for another season of destruction, make sure your siding is up to the challenge.