Essential Tips for Replacing Siding on a House

Man replacing siding on house.

Vinyl, wood, and even hardboard siding are durable but not indestructible. If an accident, time, or weather event has damaged a section of your siding, it should be promptly replaced to protect your home. A hole in the siding can allow water to damage your home's framing, insulation, and other components. Don’t risk structural damage!

If you are researching how to replace siding on a house, there’s a good chance you have already noticed one or more of these issues. Signs that may mean replacing the siding on your house include:

  • Cracking
  • Warping
  • Holes in the siding
  • Soft or rotten pieces of wood siding
  • Pieces of siding falling off the house
  • Misaligned pieces
  • Missing pieces

Closely inspect your siding for these problems and follow these pro tips to replace your damaged siding. If you discover additional damage or moisture in your framing and insulation, Mr. Handyman provides a large number of home repair and maintenance services your home needs.

How to Replace Vinyl Siding

If your home has damaged vinyl siding, ensure you have these supplies: new matching vinyl siding, tin snips, minimum 1” galvanized steel nails with at least a 3/8” head, and a hammer. Also, remember safety, and wear protective gloves and eye protection.

Here’s how to replace damaged siding on a house in four steps:

  • Remove all the damaged pieces of the siding and the attached nails. Count each nail and ensure that none get loose, as these can cause problems, such as puncturing car tires.
  • Use tin snips to trim a piece of new siding to fit the lowest gap. Most vinyl siding should overlap the pieces on either side of it by at least an inch; check the instructions from your siding manufacturer’s installation guide.
  • Modern vinyl siding uses interlocking technology to maintain watertight protection. The bottom channel of the new siding will lock into the top channel of the piece below it. Carefully slide the new siding piece into place.
  • As you nail the new piece of siding, apply gentle upward pressure to ensure the two pieces stay interlocked.
  • Repeat this process until all the damaged vinyl siding is replaced.

How to Replace Plywood Siding

Plywood siding is a durable and low-maintenance siding option. But over time, the bottom edges of plywood sheets tend to become water-damaged and need to be replaced. Removing and replacing a plywood siding panel is straightforward but will take a good deal of time. You will need a new sheet of siding, paintable exterior caulk, hammer, pry bar, 8D galvanized nails, tape measure, utility knife, safety goggles, protective gloves, respiratory protection, jigsaw, and circular saw. Here are the five steps for replacing plywood siding on your house:

  • Carefully remove the damaged siding with a claw hammer and pry bar. Try to preserve the old piece as a template for cutting your new plywood sheet.
  • Remove any old nails, paint, and caulk from around the siding. A utility knife can be handy for this task. Keep track of all old nails and discard
  • Use the old plywood as a guide to measure a new piece of siding and mark any additional cuts required. Make sure the grooves on the new panel go in the right direction. Make the edge cuts with a circular saw and a jigsaw to cut out vent, window, and power outlet openings.
  • Nail the new piece of siding in place and caulk all the edges.
  • Once the caulk is dry, prime and paint the wood. Don’t be stingy with the primer; it will help prevent water damage from occurring in the future.
  • Repeat this process until all the damaged plywood siding panels are replaced.

How to Replace Wood Lap Siding

If a small piece of your wood siding is damaged, you may be able to get away with a quick replacement project. You will need new siding, paintable exterior caulk, a hammer, 8D galvanized nails, a utility knife, safety goggles, an oscillating multi-tool, and a circular saw. Here are the five steps for replacing siding on a house:

Even if only a small piece of a slat is damaged, you will want to replace the section of wood between at least two studs. This will allow you to attach the new piece of siding to two studs, which ensures a secure fitting. To remove all the damaged siding, use the oscillating multi-tool to cut the hidden nails and carefully remove the wood with a pry bar. If you need to buy new siding, take the old piece to the hardware store to ensure you buy matching replacement siding.

  • Remove any old nails, paint, and caulk from around the siding. A utility knife can be handy for this task. Keep track of all old nails and discard them.
  • Use the old siding to measure the new piece and a circular saw to cut the new siding to fit the gap. Remember: Measure twice, cut once.
  • Nail the new piece of siding in place. Caulk all the edges.
  • Once the caulk is dry, prime and paint the wood. Plan to apply at least two coats of paint.

How to Replace Fiber Cement Siding

Hardboard siding is constructed with Portland cement and wood pulp. It’s durable, but it can become water damaged. Typical areas that show wear and damage are the boards on the lower rows of the siding. Here's how to replace your hardboard siding.

  • Use a pry bar to remove the damaged pieces of hardboard siding.
  • Remove nails from the top piece of the remaining siding. Keep track of all old nails and discard them.
  • Wear a dust mask and eye protection, and cut the replacement board to the correct length.
  • Blind-nail the hardboard siding in place, beginning with the bottom piece.
  • Face-nail the top piece of the new siding through the old one.
  • Prime and paint the replacement boards to blend with the existing siding.

Time to Put New Siding on Your House?

If your siding is damaged, dull, or outdated, it might be time to change the siding on your house. When selecting new siding for your home, most people choose one of the following options.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is made from PVC and other plastics and is ideal for weather protection. It’s also available in many colors and is one of the least expensive options when changing the siding on your house. Vinyl siding is sensitive to extreme UV light and severe weather conditions, but you can expect it not to fade for 10 to 15 years.

Wood Siding

Wood siding can be stained or painted and installed in various configurations to create a unique look for your home. Of course, the downside to wood is that it’s combustible, unlike metal or cement siding. You'll need to add ongoing maintenance and occasional restaining or painting to your exterior maintenance tasks. Recoat your wood siding about every three years and repair the damage immediately. This way, your siding could last 20 years or more.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is ideal for homes in harsh climates because it offers plenty of protection against wind, hail, and ice. Hardboard siding can also be stamped to look like wood and other materials, so it's easy to find the right match for your style. Fiber cement siding is expensive to have installed, but it is fire-resistant and can last up to 50 years.

Regardless of the type you choose, changing the siding on a house is labor-intensive and time-consuming. For most homeowners, professionals should install new siding.

Need Help Replacing the Siding on Your House?

For help replacing siding on a house, your local Mr. Handyman professionals will protect your home’s exterior and restore your home's beauty. You can count on experienced service professionals for siding and all your home maintenance and repair projects. Because Mr. Handyman is a member of the Neighborly group of home services providers, you also get the Neighborly Done Right Promise™. Find out how we can assist with your home’s siding by requesting service now.