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When is it time to replace my siding? Top 5 things to look for

May 6th, 2021 | 6 min. read

When is it time to replace my siding? Top 5 things to look for

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Taking care of your home is like taking care of your health. If you never drink water, eat your veggies, or get a good night’s sleep, you’re going to wear down your body. 

If you don’t invest in the proper products and care for your home, it’s not going to last you as long as it should.

Many are not avid inspectors for their home siding, and one day you might look up and notice a crack, hole, or chip in the siding you never noticed before. How long has it been there? What kind of damages is this bringing to my home?

Southwest Exteriors has been locally established for over 30 years working on windows, siding, and exterior home remodeling, and we’ve seen a lot of homes. Our siding experts at Southwest Exteriors have seen it all from neglected home siding and can tell you exactly why your siding is failing.

Knowing when it is time to replace your siding typically encompasses a visual inspection of your home for deterioration, cracking, rot, or even critters nesting near your roof. 

In this article, we will outline how long siding commonly lasts, signs to look out for in your siding that indicate it needs replacing, and how you can care for your siding. 

How long does siding typically last?

Depending on the material of your siding, it can last close to 30 years with constant care every five or six years. 

Fiber cement siding is one of the best types of material you can have that will last on your home with little to no care. The top companies formulate their fiber cement product advertised to last essentially forever. 

If you have wood, vinyl, or masonite siding, for example, you will need to have the siding caulked, sealed, and painted every few years for it to last. If the siding is not properly cared for, it’s going to fail you. 

This can cost you up to $6,000 every five or six years if you really want to maintain your siding.

The most common reason homeowners get their siding replaced is because of neglect. When the siding is neglected, that leaves room for rot, swelling, discoloration, and overall deterioration to come in. 

When it comes time to have your siding replaced, the best decision you can make is to invest in a quality product that requires minimal care and is meant to last a lifetime.

Top 5 signs it’s time to replace your siding

Performing a visual inspection will give you a good idea of what’s going on with your siding and will expose you to any potential issues. What are some specifics you should look out for?

1. Visual deterioration

One of the most obvious signs your siding needs replacing or repair is if you see visual deterioration caused by water and the sun. 

Things to specifically look out for are cracks or chips in panels and paint. Even if you see one crack, it’s an indicator that more is to come, and you will need your siding replaced soon.

If you notice a spot in the siding is darker than the rest or any other discoloration in the paint, this means there is built-up moisture within the siding. There could be underlying rot in the panels or can cause rotting if left untreated.

2. Rot

Rotting is a sign of visual deterioration that should not be taken lightly. Rot occurs when excess water and moisture becomes 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. The reason this is a popular spot for water to hang out is that 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. 

3. Swelling

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. 

4. Shapeshifting

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

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

5. Animal inhabitation

No matter your area, wildlife is all around and looking for a place to nest. Another common reason siding becomes damaged and needing repair is due to birds and rodents finding their way into the siding.

In Texas, woodpeckers, raccoons, squirrels, and opossums are the most common. It is also common for the critters to get in near the roofline where there is the greatest potential for a split or crack for them to crawl through. 

Like the other signs it’s time to replace your siding, this occurs from neglect. The longer an animal is living in your siding, the worse the damage is going to be. 

Removing an animal has difficulty ranging from how long it has been there and what type of animal it is. A mother raccoon living with her babies inside your wall will be more difficult and require more repair than a small bird’s nest in a small nook near the roof. 

Depending on the difficulty and damage from the animal, you will have to have a specialist come to trap, remove, and relocate the animal and make repairs to the area of your home deeper than the siding. 

Performing a visual inspection of your siding every few years will help you care for your siding and lookout for these signs of deterioration. Minimal damage can get by with a small repair, but if you neglect your siding for too long, a full replacement is necessary to protect your home. 

What can I do to take care of my siding? 

If you want to take care of your existing siding, make sure to inspect it every few years for signs of deterioration, water damage, or potential animal habitats. 

With most siding, like vinyl or wood, you will need to have it maintained every five years to caulk, paint, and reseal it. The best thing you can do for your home is invest in a quality siding that is meant to last forever like fiber cement or stone. 

With top-of-the-line fiber cement siding, the only maintenance you will need to do is give it a nice powerwash once a year to keep it looking fresh. 

It is better to pay a little more and invest upfront in a siding you will never have to worry about rather than paying thousands of dollars over and over again to maintain something that is of less value.

Does your siding need replacing?

If you haven’t looked at your siding in a while, it’s best to take a look for any deterioration, discoloration, swelling, rotting, or animal nesting. 

You may not need to get your entire siding replaced, but if you leave any issues unaddressed, it will only cost you more in the future.

When looking to replace your siding, you can decide to go with a less expensive, low-quality product that you will need constant care every few years to maintain or a product that needs little to no maintenance and will last for a lifetime. 

Southwest Exteriors offers James Hardie fiber cement siding because it is ranked as the best siding company in North America. We want to offer you the best of the best, and although it is not the least expensive option, it comes with professional, quality installation and a lifetime value.

Curious about how much a siding replacement will cost you? Read this article detailing the top factors that influence the price of a siding replacement, and stay on our blog for more content about siding and home repairs.