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Do I need to replace or repair my home siding? (What to look for)

December 7th, 2021 | 16 min. read

Do I need to replace or repair my home siding? (What to look for)

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The side of a home with beige lap siding with some chipped panels at the corners.


Whenever you notice any damage on the side of your home, the first thing you’re probably thinking about is how you can get it fixed for the least amount of cost, time, and effort. Replacing your siding is a hefty investment. We get it; it can be scary to trust a contractor with your home’s entire exterior. It can also be hard to put so much time and money into a project all at once.

The last thing you want is to have your entire siding replaced when it could have just been repaired. If your siding is damaged, you need to know if you will have to replace the entire wall or get it repaired. 

In cases of extreme and irreversible damage, it’s always recommended to get your siding fully replaced. Where there is minor damage or a small section of damage, you can probably have the small patch repaired or replaced. 

Southwest Exteriors has been an exterior remodeling contractor in San Antonio since 1989. We specialize in installing James Hardie fiber cement siding and ensure our work by having every project checked and certified by a Hardie expert. 

We see dozens of homeowners weekly looking to either fix their siding or upgrade with HardiePlank. 

Of course, we’d love to be the right solution for every siding project. While we only offer full siding replacements, we never want any homeowner to have to replace their entire siding if it isn’t what they want or need. 

In this article, we will detail the specific symptoms to look for that tell you whether you need your siding fully replaced or just repaired. 

If you have any damage to your siding and wonder if you’ll need to replace your entire siding or can just repair it, you’ll know which is better for you after reading this article. 

When do I need to replace my entire siding? 

Replacing your entire home siding is a large commitment. There are instances where your siding may be far from repair and will need to be fully replaced. 


  1. You see significant rotting in your siding

Rotting is a sign of visual deterioration that should not be taken lightly. Rot occurs when excess water and moisture become trapped within the material of the siding. 

While this is more common with wood, it can happen with other wood-based sidings like masonite and oriented strand boarding. 

One of the most common areas for excess moisture is around the fascia and soffit, or front and underside of the roofing. This is a popular spot for water to hang out because there are a lot of corners and cuts between the boards. 

Any spot where two boards come together makes it easier for water to get in if the caulk or seal fails. This is why ensuring your siding is installed correctly with high-quality products is necessary. 

If you notice rotting on the exterior of your siding, this is a serious condition. You will want a professional siding contractor to come out and inspect the siding to determine the degree of severity.

2. Your siding looks swelled

Swelling is another sign of siding failure due to built-up water in the walls.

When water gets trapped in the siding, it expands. This can make the side of your home look bowed or swelled, and this damage is irreversible. 

This can also mean there is rotting within the wall. In that case, you will need to have a carpenter come to your home to repair or possibly replace the framing, and you won’t know this until the entire siding is taken off and inspected. 

3. Your siding looks misshapen

Similar to swelling, siding can become distorted from constant weather changes. 

When it is hot, siding expands. On the flip side, when it is cold, siding contracts. This puts pressure on the panels and causes them to split and crack. 

If the siding is bowed or bent, there can be small cracks between the panels that allow insects and water to get inside the walls, causing rot and infestation. 

4. You notice serious insect or critter infestation

The fourth sign you should have your entire siding replaced is if you find a serious insect or critter infestation. This could be anywhere from carpenter ants or termites tearing into the wall frame, bees building a hive inside the walls, or raccoons or opossums finding a small hole to climb inside and call home. 

Some birds can also build nests near the top of your siding or within the soffit. 

When insects or critters make their way behind your siding, it damages both the exterior of your siding and the interior of the wall. Any interior damage to your home’s frame will need to be inspected and repaired by a carpenter then your siding can be replaced. 

Ultimately, if an animal is living in your siding, it is not strong enough to keep them out. If you are a long-term homeowner, you will want to replace your siding with a durable and high-quality material to protect your home from future infestation. 

5. You see any sort of major visual deterioration

If you see visual deterioration, like cracked or chipped boards, visible rot, or any kind of damage across your entire siding, you will need to replace it. 

Deterioration can allow water and insects to infiltrate the siding, which we already discussed the consequences of, and will damage your siding and frame’s interior. If visual deterioration is spread across most of the siding, you will want to replace it. 

So, do I really need to replace my entire siding?

Each of these symptoms of damage affects not only the outside siding but threatens the walls of your home. When they are spread throughout the entirety of your siding or infiltrate into the framing, you will want to get your entire siding replaced and framing inspected. 

The siding of your home is the first barrier that protects your interior. Whether you are a long-term homeowner or not, these five symptoms pose a serious threat to the integrity of your home. If you notice any of these on or around your siding, you should replace it. 

When can I just repair my siding? 

Noticing any damage or deterioration in your siding can be intimidating. If you notice anything amiss on your siding, the first thing you probably think is, can I just get this fixed? 

A siding repair is typically a small-scale replacement. Damage to your siding is serious, however, sometimes, you may be able to have it repaired instead of fully replaced. 

  1. There is cracking or chipping in one or a few panels

Siding can become worn over time when constantly exposed to harsh weather like rain, snow, and sunlight. With traditional horizontal lap siding, some panels may crack and chip. 

If you notice a cracked or chipped panel or one area in a panel you would not want to pay for an entire siding replacement for one or a few panels. This is an instance where you can have that panel replaced or repaired to fill the crack.  

  1. There is minimal separation between one or a few panels 

The second instance where you can repair your siding is if there is a separation between one or a few panels in lap siding. When first installed, lap siding must be caulked around all edges, which includes between each panel. 

If the caulking between a panel fails, then this can allow water or insects to infiltrate the siding. If you notice any separation between one or a few panels on your lap siding, you can have this recaulk and resealed in that area. 

However, if there is separation around most of the siding, possibly caused by swelling or bowing, then you will want to consider replacing the entire siding. 

  1. There is rot in a small area

Sometimes rot can develop across an entire area of wood all at once. Other times it can begin in one small area. 

If you notice a small patch of rot on your wood siding or around the soffit or fascia, it may be early enough to attack it before it gets worse. As long as the rot has not spread into the wall behind the siding, a small replacement of the rotted area should be possible. 

However, you will need the opinion of a professional siding contractor or carpenter as to the degree of repair that is needed. 

So, do I need to repair my siding? 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to catch them early on. 

Repairing your siding may not be a top priority when you notice small deterioration or damage. However, if you let any deterioration or rot go unnoticed, it can develop into something worse that will cause you to replace the entire siding. 

What to do if you need your home siding replaced or repaired 

Now that you know the most common signs you need your siding replaced or repaired, you can determine which is better for you. 

In order to upkeep your siding and your home, you should inspect your siding at least once every few years to look for any damage, deterioration, or rot. 

If you notice a small amount of damage or rot, contact a siding repair company to inspect your home and ensure it can be repaired. 

If you notice a large amount of damaged siding, excess rotting, or infestation anywhere on your siding, you’ll want to contact a siding replacement contractor. 

It is important to differentiate between a siding replacement and a siding repair company. Some contractors may only do full replacements or repairs, but others may do both. 

When looking for the right contractor, you want to ask the right questions to ensure they will provide the right service for you and meet your needs for your project. Asking about their warranty, what materials they use, and what happens if there is rotting behind the siding are just a few questions to consider. 

This article will outline 10 questions to ask a siding replacement contractor before doing business with them. Then, you will be able to find the right siding contractor for your project. 

Looking to have your full siding replaced? 

Southwest Exteriors provides full siding replacements in San Antonio and surrounding areas. Although we do not service siding repairs or small replacements, we want to guide you to the right solution for you and can recommend siding repair companies that we trust in the area. 

If you think you need a full siding replacement and are interested in James Hardie fiber cement siding, then we might be the right contractor for you. 

Schedule your free, in-home consultation by filling out this form on our webpage. A representative will call you within the same day to talk with you about your siding project and schedule your consultation.