When the elements of the great outdoors hit, what is the most important barrier of protection for your house? Other than your roof, siding is your home interior’s first line of defense. So it’s important to keep your siding well-maintained and to know when it isn’t performing like it’s supposed to be. Materials like vinyl and concrete fiber are very low maintenance so, as homeowners, we tend to take it for granted that our siding doesn’t need anything from us.
However, even the best products of any material eventually break down. And sometimes knowing what issues to look for isn’t obvious. If you haven’t made a point to visually inspect your siding recently, it might be time. We suggest simply taking a walk around your property in good lighting and noting any trouble spots. Here are some things to look for when assessing siding:
Mold, mildew or dry rot.
This may sound obvious, but these spots could easily go unnoticed in areas that aren’t at eye level or clearly seen from the yard or driveway. A lone green patch might not mean your siding needs to be replaced, but if you have, several spots we suggest consulting a professional to help you evaluate what can be done to repair or possibly replace the exterior layer of your house. In your wood siding, mold leads to rot more quickly so be sure and clean it off before it gets too comfortable. It can be tempting to use a pressure washer, but that’s not a good idea if you have wood siding as the moisture can get into the wood and settle, leading to the very problem you are trying to prevent.
Knicks, scratches, dents or cracks.
Any break in the surface of siding makes it possible for water to penetrate the underlayment. These spots could be from hail damage, animals (think woodpecker holes), or a settling foundation, among other things. But whatever the cause, fixing these areas right away can save a world of trouble later.
Particularly on vinyl siding, warping is usually a sign of too much heat exposure and it means the siding is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing. The gaps that a warped area creates can allow moisture and other elements in. Any warped areas should be addressed immediately. An expert can also help you identify the source of the heat exposure or other cause to prevent it from happening again. This can sometimes be from unexpected sources – like the reflection off of UV-blocking windows or even the settling of your house.
Interior paint chipping or moisture.
You might be surprised that a visual inspection of your siding would include the interior or your house. But if you have unexplained moisture in your walls (wallpaper peeling, paint chipping, drywall bubbling), siding issues might be to blame. Insufficient insulation between the siding and the interior can lead to moisture getting trapped there and eventually showing itself in your walls. A professional can help you determine if siding is indeed your culprit if you see these issues.
Of course some fading is to be expected over time, but if your siding is sky blue when it started out as navy blue, it’s a sure sign that the siding is weaker than it should be and it’s time to retire it. This is particularly true of siding that isn’t painted – like vinyl.
If you notice any of these or other issues with the exterior of your home and you are unsure of how to correct them, it’s important to consult with a specialized contractor. However, even if your siding “checks out” on the list above, there are a few other things that might motivate you to evaluate your siding needs:
- So. Much. Maintenance. Wood shingles or boards can be very visually appealing, but they can also require a lot of work to keep protected and looking nice. If you are tired of painting every few years and applying a clear coat on the “off” years, or have reached a point in life where it doesn’t make sense for you to continue spending the required time and money on this project, you will want to consider replacing the high-maintenance siding. There are some options on the market now that are not only low maintenance but termite-proof, resistant to fire, mold, and rot that are worth considering.
- Curb appeal/resale value. If you think the way your house looks from the outside may prevent people from even looking at the inside, it may be time for an upgrade. There are countless colors on the market right now, and options that are much better at insulating and protecting your home for the long term than there used to be. Plus, many come with transferable warranties which might entice a potential buyer.
- Energy costs. If you have ruled out the more obvious sources of energy inefficiency – like an uninsulated attic space – or your energy costs have increased without explanation, your home insulation might be to blame. With the updates to siding materials in recent years, there are many options on the market to help improve your home insulation and, in turn, energy efficiency and costs.
How Deck Creations Can Help
If you find yourself needing back-up assessing your siding or you find yourself wanting to explore new siding options, you will want to go with an experienced company that guarantees their work.
Deck Creations is a family-owned business that started as a deck company and over the past 50 years has expanded its expertise into all areas of outdoor construction in the greater Richmond area. We serve clients in Richmond, Williamsburg, Hampton Roads and Charlottesville for all their siding needs, big or small – and we stand by our work.
When you’re ready; trust your local Virginia siding company, Deck Creations, to get the job done right, on time and on budget. Check out our different siding services or contact us for a free estimate! Our Virginia exterior renovation experts are ready to help you assess and address all your siding concerns.