What to look for on the outside:
- Look for warpness. This is an indication that the layer underneath maybe rotted. This issue would be a definite replacing of the siding.
- Bubbles in the Siding. One almost certain sign that a home needs new siding is the presence of bubbles just under the surface of the siding. Bubbles are an almost certain indication that water has become trapped. Any indication of water trapped on or under the siding is an immediate red flag. The one thing that siding is meant to do is to keep moisture away from the walls under the siding.
- Mold or mildew is a possible sign your siding might be failing. If not a siding issue, a sure sign something is a miss.
- The Home Needs Frequent Painting. 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. Good home siding should keep its shape and keep its color for at least 8-10 years, if not longer. Siding that is chipping, pealing, or cracking is an indication that there is a fundamental problem and that the siding needs replacement.
- Severely Faded Siding. Why should color fading be a cause for concern over a home’s siding? Because nothing lasts forever, and that includes siding. All siding has a life expectancy. Most siding is formulated to hold its color for only as long as the rating of the siding itself. If siding is so old that the color has faded, then that should tell the homeowner that the effective waterproofing of the siding may have also run its course. Faded color may not prove that a siding is no longer viable, but it is a good indication to watch for.
Keep an eye out on the inside:
- Peeling Paint or Loose Wallpaper Inside the Home. It may not be immediately obvious to all homeowners, but peeling paint or wallpaper that is pulling away from a wall inside of a home can be symptomatic of faulty siding. Bad siding allows moisture to seep its way underneath the siding where it can percolate through wallboard and eventually cause significant damage to the interior walls of a home.
- Large jumps in your heating and cooling costs. When a home’s heating or cooling costs go through the roof (so to speak), that can be a sure sign that a home is in need of new siding. Naturally it is important to rule out a bad or leaking roof or lack of attic insulation as the culprit, but heating or cooling costs that are not in line with those of neighbors with similar structures is an indication that something is seriously flawed with a home’s exterior wall insulation.
What To Look For When Shopping Siding:
- Don’t Over Pay – Keep yo9ur contractor honest by making sure you don’t pay for materials don’t need. You can estimate how much siding your home needs by calculating the number of “squares” (SQ’s) for your home. “Squares” is the term used by contractors when calculating the area to be covered by the siding (1 SQ = 100 square feet). Simply follow these steps to calculate your own SQ’s number:
- Multiply the height times the width of each rectangular section of your house in feet.
- Multiply the approximate height and width of gables and other triangular surfaces and divide each total by two.
- Then add the totals for A & B. To allow for waste, don’t subtract for doors, windows, or other areas that won’t be covered. Divide the total square footage by 100 to estimate how many squares of siding you’ll need.
- Have a professional install the siding – Don’t get caught by the old phrase “I know a guy”. This could save you tens of thousands of dollars in structural repairs later on by assuring the job is done right the first time.
- Make it last – Siding is susceptible to leaks, especially where it meets windows and doors. A $5 tube of caulk could ultimately save you thousands of dollars in structural repairs. If you live in a region with cold winters, check the siding under the eaves for water stains, possibly a sign of ice damming. Adding attic insulation and sealing any gaps around pipes and ducts into the attic may help prevent future damming—and may lower your heating and cooling bills as well.
- Make sure you know who you’re dealing with – How long has the company you’re looking at been in business? Are they local? Make sure that have valid liability & workers comp insurances.