Siding serves two main purposes- to protect the structural integrity of your home from outside elements and to create a clean, attractive aesthetic for your home.
The most important purpose is to protect the structural integrity of your home, however, the appearance of your siding directly affects the resale value of your home.
Unfortunately, even the best siding will ultimately break down or suffer from unexpected damage. Eventually, it may show signs that it needs to be replaced. If your siding begins to crack or break, it’s important to replace it in order to prevent any lasting damage to your home.
Most siding lasts around 10 to 15 years before it needs to be replaced. If you don’t know the age of your siding, this guide will help you understand how to spot signs of damaged or aged siding.
How to tell if your siding needs to be replaced
There are several signs that can indicate it’s time to replace your siding. Remember, siding protects your home from outside elements that can cause more expensive damage down the road.
Frequent need of paint
All siding has a life expectancy. Good siding should keep its shape and color for at least 8-10 years, if not longer. If a home needs frequent painting, say once every five or six years, that is a good sign that something is wrong with the current siding.
If you last painted your house only a couple of years ago and already see that the paint is faded, discolored, or hasn’t adhered to the siding well, it could mean that it’s damaged as damaged siding can start to chip, crack, and peel prematurely.
Most siding is formulated to hold its color for only as long as the rating of the siding itself. If the siding is so old that the color has faded, then the effective waterproofing may have also run its course. If you notice that the color on your siding is fading, it could indicate that it’s reaching the end of its lifespan and it’s time for replacement.
Cracks, gaps and holes
Cracks, gaps and holes are unsightly, but they don’t only jeopardize the appearance of your home. Whatever size they are, cracks and gaps can lead to big problems, allowing water and moisture to seep into the structure of your home and compromise its structural integrity.
Even small holes in a home’s siding can be a cause for concern. Small holes may indicate that insects are burrowing into the wood, like termites, ants, or other pests that can cause significant damage.
If insects have gotten into the siding, they can not only cause trouble on their own, but the holes they make also allow rain and snow to get underneath the siding—and that can mark the beginning of very costly repair work.
Increased energy bills
If you’ve lived in your house for years and notice that your heating and cooling bills have increased inexplicably, this could be an indication that your siding has become old and ineffective.
To ensure that this is a siding issue, first make sure to rule out a leaking roof or lack of attic insulation as the culprit. Then, check to make sure that your utility costs haven’t just risen per unit, which could be due to the power company raising the price of electricity, that your family hasn’t changed its behavior significantly, and compare your energy bills to those of your neighbors.
If your siding is at the end of its life, heating and cooling could be escaping through it, reducing your home’s energy efficiency and cost you a ton in heating and cooling payments. Replacing your siding can significantly increase your wall insulation and improve energy efficiency, lowering your bills.
Rotting or warping
If your siding has begun to warp or rot, it’s time to replace it. Take time to do a thorough inspection of your home’s siding. Look for warped siding or rotting boards.
If you suspect that your siding is rotting, insert a screwdriver gently under the boards to see if the material underneath is soft and easy to poke into. If it is, this indicates significant rotting damage. Also, tap on the outside of the siding with the handle of a screwdriver; if it crumbles, splits, or sounds hollow, this can indicate dry rot. Dry rot is virtually invisible because it festers below the surface, leaving just the top layer of the siding intact.
Fungus, mold, or mildew
Siding is meant to protect your home from the elements. However, if it’s damaged, it may cause mold and mildew inside the house due to moisture.
Any type of growth such as fungus, mold, or mildew can be a sign that moisture has penetrated the siding. While not all signs of fungus, mold, or mildew on the siding is a cause for alarm, such growth should be cause to investigate further. Some growth may just be on the exterior and should be washed off. However, if it has penetrated the siding, it could cause growth inside the walls of your home.
If you find any effects of moisture buildup inside your home, investigate the condition of the same area on the home’s exterior. If damaged siding appears to be to blame, then it must be replaced.
Selecting replacement siding
When deciding on what kind of siding material to buy, consider the climate you live in. While vinyl siding is a popular choice, it isn’t as strong or durable as other options. It can be prone to cracking in colder temperatures and won’t provide much insulation.
In Minnesota, fiber cement siding and steel siding tend to hold up the best in our frigid winter climate. Fiber cement siding is an eco-friendly option that’s been engineered for Minnesota’s climate while steel siding is exceptionally durable and unaffected by temperature changes.
If you plan to eventually sell your home, you should also consider what is popular in your neighborhood. Many new homes are built using fiber cement siding, which can help to boost your home’s value.
Replace your siding in the fall
Though siding can be replaced any time of the year, the ideal time is in the fall. Autumn tends to have fairly stable temperatures, free of the heat spikes of summer and the bitter cold of winter. In some cases, homeowners in Minnesota may not even have the option of full replacement in winter due to the snow and freezing temps.
Who can I trust for siding replacement?
New siding can improve your home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal. However, siding only provides these benefits if the contractor installs it correctly. This means it’s in your best interest to find a contractor that you can trust to do the job right.
BWBE is a local Twin Cities remodeling company with 20 years of experience providing high-quality home improvement services. We are dedicated to providing beautiful craftsmanship and professionalism to every project. If you’re looking for quality home improvement at a price you can afford, you’ve come to the right place. We are a trusted remodeling team that will work with you to get the most out of your budget. Submit a contact form or give us a call today to discuss your next project.