Your Questions About Siding Replacement and Installation Answered

Is your house showing its age? When houses in Northern Virginia are looking rough around the edges, the problem can often be traced back to the condition of outer walls. If your exteriors are looking worse-for-wear with fading, cracks, missing pieces, and a thick layer of grime, siding replacement could really boost your home's curb appeal and property value.

But while appearances are important, there's a lot more to siding replacement than just looks. Exterior siding serves as your home's armor, it's first line of defense against rough weather damage, wildlife damage, and the homeowner's natural enemy, moisture damage. When it's in bad condition, it can't do its job to protect your home against some seriously nasty problems that require costly and time-consuming repairs.

If you're looking into replacement, you likely have some questions. This guide answers frequently asked questions about siding replacement with useful information and expert advice from Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket. When you're ready to get your home a new suit of armor, our experienced team will get the job done quickly and efficiently.

What Are the Different Types of Siding?

If you've taken a look at the type of siding materials, also known as cladding, you've probably noticed that there are extensive style options and a lot of other considerations such as ease of maintenance and energy efficiency. Popular options include:

  • Fiber cement

  • Vinyl

  • Natural wood, including cedar shingles

  • Engineered wood

  • Brick veneer and solid brick siding

  • Natural stone and stone veneer

  • Metal siding, including aluminum

  • Stucco

What Are the Major Signs of Damage?

Wondering if your cladding is really all that bad? Some signs of trouble are pretty obvious, but others are more difficult to spot. To check your cladding, walk around the entire house and examine the exterior walls from as many angles as possible—both up close and from a distance—for the following symptoms:

Cracks or Gaps

Any kind of break or gap in your exterior will let moisture into the interior of your walls, where it festers and causes severe problems — such as mold, mildew, and wood rot — that not only threaten the structural stability of the building, but also have a negative impact on the health of your family. Additionally, gaps are access points for pests such as rats and insects to get inside your house and cause more problems.

Increased Utility Costs

Has your energy bill increased even though your energy usage hasn't changed? Damaged siding could be to blame. It lets in cold air drafts that force your HVAC system to work much harder, driving up your energy costs needlessly.

Warping and Bulging

This is why you need to examine the house from multiple angles. You may not have obvious holes or gaps, but some types of siding will bulge outward or cup inward as a result of moisture build-up underneath.

Interior Water Damage

Speaking of moisture build-up, if you notice signs of water damage inside your house, such as bubbling wallpaper, water stains on the walls or ceiling, peeling paint and drywall tape, or mold and mildew growth, it may be related to a problem with your exterior cladding, even if you don’t see any obvious issues outside.

When Should I Get Siding Replacement Service?

Seasons should be the first consideration for siding replacement service. Because siding is affected by extreme weather, the best time of year for a new installation is spring, fall, or the early and late parts of summer when the weather is generally milder.

Another consideration is the state of your roof and windows. If the roof needs to be replaced or you need window repair, that should be taken care of before the cladding is replaced. Additionally, some siding material will be longer lasting than others. If it's been a couple of decades and you're noticing some of the signs of damage listed above, it's probably time for siding replacement service.

Is It OK to Get Vinyl Siding Replacement in the Winter?

In general, it's not considered a good idea because vinyl could crack if it's installed in weather below around 40 degrees, and temperatures here in Northern Virginia can definitely dip much lower than that in the coldest months. Another issue is that vinyl can expand in the heat. The installation may look perfect in cool weather, but when summer hits, the vinyl panels can expand and push against each other, causing buckling. That's why it's generally best to get it done in shoulder seasons when temperatures are in-between.

Can New Siding Be Placed Over Old?

It is possible to install new cladding over top of your current siding, but there are some problems with this method. The existing cladding needs to be in great condition, with no signs of warping, bulging, or rotting—and that's usually not the case when homeowners are looking at getting a new exterior installation. Another issue is that it eliminates an opportunity to find out what's happening underneath the old siding. Even material that appears to be in good shape from the outside can be hiding a multitude of serious problems underneath. When our repair specialists take off the old cladding, they'll inspect the walls underneath for signs of moisture damage and structural instability that would be missed if the old material wasn't removed.

Can You Put Vinyl Siding Over Rotted Wood?

In a word, no. Timber that has been affected by wood rot is softened and crumbly, and the anchors used to hang your new cladding will have nothing to grab on to. Your new siding could just fall right off the house in a couple of weeks or months. Also, because wood rot only affects damp timber, whatever caused the problem with excess moisture is probably still there, serving as an open invitation to mold, mildew, insect infestations, air drafts, and other unpleasant moisture damage problems.

Do You Have to Replace House Wrap During Siding Replacement?

Maybe not. If your existing house wrap is in great shape, then it probably doesn't need to be replaced. If it's only in decent condition, installing a new layer over top of the old may be a possibility. One factor to consider is how much UV exposure the wrap has received. If it's been unprotected for a few months, the best practice is to replace it.

What Color Has the Best Resale Value?

If you're thinking of selling your home in the near future, or just planning ahead for an eventual sale, this is an important consideration. You want to choose a color that will offer maximum curb appeal to impress prospective buyers, but it's key to choose color options with a classic appeal that won't present a challenge to new homeowners either. Because of that, lighter, neutral colors such as tan, gray, and off-white are going to get you the most bang for your buck. Neutral green (a "dusty" khaki green or gray-green) is also a popular choice. Avoid bright, unique colors that will make your house stand out in the wrong way.

Need Siding Replacement in NoVA?

Whether you're in Arlington or a nearby part of Northern Virginia such as Clifton, Westgate, and Springfield, you can rely on the improvement professionals at Mr. Handyman of Northern Virginia - Arlington to Haymarket for quality workmanship and outstanding customer service. We handle siding repairs, replacement, and much more!

Give us a call today at 703-621-4817 to make a service request and chat with our friendly customer service representatives about how we can enhance your home and make your life easier!