If you purchase an older home with exterior walls consisting of materials other than sturdy masonry such as brick, stone or concrete, you may need to upgrade the siding of the structure. Sturdy masonry protects your home from the effects of the sun and inclement weather. If you have never purchased siding before and want to avoid installing expensive, high-maintenance wood material, the following guide can help you determine when it is time to remove dated siding and choose the right replacement product.
Signs That You Need to Replace Siding
When siding is at the end of its lifespan, there are telltale signs that you need to replace the material. In addition to making a house look shabby and decrepit, damaged siding will let moisture infiltrate the drywall and interior insulation of your home, causing mold and mildew to develop.
In addition, hard to eradicate pests can enter your home via small openings left uncovered by bent, rotted or missing siding panels. Other signs of irreparably damaged siding include:
- Warped, rotted and faded wood
- Exposed, rusty or missing nails
- Uneven panels and missing caulk
- Termites that eat or burrow through wood and plaster
- Numerous water stains on the sides of your house
While many of these problems result from general wear and tear, improperly installed materials, siding too close to the ground and poorly designed sprinkler systems that keep siding moist also lead to problems.
Choosing Siding Material
Installing new siding will provide an old home with an instant aesthetic makeover. You can choose from vinyl, fiber cement and aluminum siding when you want to keep costs low but protect your home for decades.
Vinyl siding is ideal for many homeowners because it is easy to maintain, fire-resistant and comes in a variety of grades and colors. You can also cover up weathered wood with vinyl siding.
In addition vinyl siding dos not rot or decay. You can also purchase energy-efficient and environmentally friendly vinyl.
Fiber cement siding consists of a composite material of cement, sand and cellulose. Siding contractors install sheets of fiber cement in a careful process that involves cutting the material to exact specifications. The material is available in a variety of thicknesses, is low maintenance and resists rot and termites.
Fiber cement is also fire-resistant and sustainable as many manufactures produce the material from recycled products. You can also paint the material any color you desire or have it installed in patterns that resemble wood or brick.
Aluminum siding remains popular among homeowners because of its cost-effectiveness, ease of installation and versatility. You can also install aluminum siding on a small home in as little as a day and paint it any color. If you are on a tight budget and are confident in your home improvement skills, you can safely install aluminum siding yourself on a one-story home.
No matter what type of siding you choose, in general, the thicker the material the better. Thin siding will be flimsy and vulnerable to wind damage. Some types of siding come with wind resistance ratings.
Preparing to Install New Siding
When you are ready to install new siding, schedule an on-site consultation with a contractor so you can obtain an accurate estimate. Before the contractor arrives, use an online siding calculator to obtain a rough estimate of your home's exterior measurements and siding costs.
In addition, ask the contractor to bring examples of siding materials and color swatches to help you choose the right type of siding and color scheme.
Installing siding is a major expense and you do not want to choose the wrong color or spend money on a product that does not accentuate your home's architecture. To help you make a good choice, spend time looking at the colors of other homes in your neighborhood if you do not want your home to look out of place on your street.