Siding Repair 101: What Princeton Homeowners Should Know

Siding is an integral part of your home. Also known as cladding, it protects your property from the elements, changing weather patterns and even pests. Not to mention, siding is often what people see first when they look at your home. Thus, it contributes greatly to the overall aesthetic of your property and your curb appeal. The better shape your siding is in, the more appealing your home is to friends, neighbors and prospective buyers—should you be looking to sell. Ensuring it's in tip-top condition by staying on top of siding repairs is essential to maintaining the look and function of your home.

Although siding is built to withstand the years, that doesn't mean that it will last forever. Wood rots, vinyl warps and accidents or storms can knock-out entire sections of your siding. Also, different materials have different benefits and drawbacks. Depending on what material is on the outside of your home, it has different siding repair considerations. Depending on the material, it might need to be refinished, have sections replaced, or a fresh coat of paint applied.

To help you know when to hire our expert Princeton handyman team to complete siding repairs, and keep your property in its best condition possible, we put together the following guide. In it you'll find details about different kinds of siding, common issues to look for, and insights from the pros at Mr. Handyman of Princeton and Robbinsville.

What Type of Siding Does My Home Have?

When it comes to cladding, there are numerous styles, materials and designs available. While it may be obvious what type of siding you have, it's helpful to know a little more about it so you can troubleshoot issues before siding repairs are needed. Also, if you're thinking of renovating or are building a new home, it doesn't hurt to explore your options and weigh the different pros and cons. In a nutshell, here's what you need to know about the common materials that may go on the outside of your home:

Stucco Siding

Made out of a mixture of cement, lime and sand, stucco possesses insulating qualities, is available in a wide variety of colors and can last up to 50 years. That said, a common pitfall of this material is that it may crumble or crack as time goes on—requiring immediate repair before the issue gets worse.

Vinyl Siding

A very popular choice for homes throughout the United States, vinyl is made out of a type of plastic called PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It's highly durable, requires minimal maintenance, lasts a long time and is available in a range of color choices and a variety of styles. Vinyl is also highly water resistant, because it's made out of plastic. However, a drawback of vinyl is that it can bleach in the sun and buckle/warp if installed incorrectly.

Wood Siding/Log Siding

One of the most traditional materials, many types of wood can be used to make cladding—although cedar and pine are the most common. Although it looks very natural and beautiful, wood is prone to rot and other types of water damage. Even treated wood can rot over time, requiring frequent maintenance and repair. For this reason, wood cladding is usually found on older homes.

Composite/Engineered Wood

Only containing a small amount of actual wood, composite cladding is made of various fibers and strands combined to look like real wood—but at a much lower cost. It is available in a wide range of colors and finishes, and if cared for, this material should last between 20 and 30 years. While engineered wood is less likely to rot than real wood, if cracked or damaged moisture may still be able to seep in and wreak havoc on your home.

Aluminum Siding

Incredibly durable and insulating, aluminum can help reduce your energy expenses—making it a very eco-friendly option for Princeton homeowners. It's also an ideal material to place on top of wood cladding to help protect it from wear and water damage. Aluminum is also affordable and low maintenance. However, it can be quite noisy when it rains.

Real Brick Siding

Contrarily to brick veneer, real brick has a high initial cost and requires a mason to properly install it. However, it's highly durable, long-lasting and has a timeless aesthetic. Also, brick is very eco-friendly. It's made of clay and shale, which are naturally plentiful. Bricks also absorb humidity better than other building materials, minimizing the chances of mold, mildew and dust mites. Furthermore, this material is flame retardant and non-combustible. A downside to brick is that color choices are fairly limited.

Real Stone

Many materials sourced from a quarry, including limestone, granite and slate can be used as cladding. While natural stone lasts a long time and does not require a lot of maintenance, it's usually quite expensive to install. It's also imperative that natural stone is installed correctly, or you may have issues with cracks that are hard to repair. These cracks could also lead to moisture damage and mold.

6 Common Home Siding Repairs in Princeton

All the above types of siding have their own pros and cons when it comes to maintenance, repair and installation. However, what they all share in common is how important it is to stay on-top of regular upkeep. Maintenance is the best way to keep your exterior walls looking their best, while preventing existing damage from getting worse. While you can't stop the weather or prevent accidents like storms or a vehicle crashing into the side of your house, maintenance is the next best thing.

Prevent issues with your current siding by inspecting your home and yard at least twice a year. You should walk through your property during the spring and the fall looking for damage, staining and irregular areas. Keep an eye out for the following red-flags that lead to siding repair needs:

1. Buckling & Warping

Buckling and warping is a common issue with vinyl. It happens when the material has not been installed correctly. Vinyl should be attached with fasteners, which provide a small space between the siding and exterior wall. Because vinyl is made out of plastic, it expands and contracts in warmer and cooler temperatures. The fasteners enable this process without damaging the material. However, if it's attached too tightly, the vinyl can't move properly. This puts stress on the material and causes it to warp and buckle. If you notice this happening, it's likely the cladding will need to be replaced as it was not installed correctly to begin with, and has subsequently been damaged.

2. Cracking & Bending Under Pressure

Siding is designed to withstand certain levels of stress and damage. After all, it does wrap around your home—so it needs to be strong. That said, most materials can be dented upon significant impact. Fast moving, heavy objects can result in the need for siding repairs if they hit your home hard enough. For example, hail during a storm, baseballs thrown by children playing, and even rocks expelled by a lawnmower, could cause damage.

Although a small chip may not seem like something you have to repair right away, it's actually very important to hire a siding repair expert as soon as possible. Like any structure, once one area has weakened, it's likely to get worse over time and eventually impact the overall structural integrity of your home. Dents that turn into holes or cracks could result in water infiltration, leaks, structural damage, mold and wood rot that will leave you no choice but to invest in expensive replacement services.

3. Mold, Mildew & Algae Build-Up

No homeowner wants to hear they have a mold problem. However, it's important to address mold, mildew and algae as soon as you see them forming. Mold spores will grow and spread, damaging other parts of your home and negatively impacting your air quality. This is especially concerning if you or your loved ones are elderly, have asthma or have allergies. If left unattended, mold, mildew and algae could result in needing to replace entire sections of siding—not to mention, these three undesirables can make the outside of your home look dilapidated and unkempt—something all self respecting homeowners seek to avoid.

Common Signs of Mold, Mildew & Algae

  • Mold and mildew look like a gray or white powder sprinkled with black specks

  • Algae typically looks green, brown or black

Common Areas to Check

  • Shaded areas where shrubs or trees cover the walls

  • Beneath gutters and drainage systems

  • Areas around washing machines vents and other appliances that expel moist air

4. Moisture Seepage

When installed correctly, cladding creates an effective barrier against moisture and humidity. But, no material is totally waterproof—even plastic materials like vinyl. It only takes one crack, chip or missing chunk of material to let water into your home. Water damage is a serious problem. Once it gets trapped between the walls of your house, it can result in wood rot, mold and structural damage.

Common Signs of Wood Rot

The enemy of many Princeton homeowners, wood rot is a pain to deal with. Yet, it's actually quite common in our beautiful city. The best approach when it comes to wood rot is to keep your eyes peeled for any signs of damage, and call a professional handyman service—such as the pros at Mr. Handyman of Princeton—to repair the problem right away. The best way to test for rotting is to inspect your property regularly with a flashlight and screwdriver. Use the flashlight to inspect dark, tough-to-reach places. Probe the screwdriver into suspicious looking wood. If it sinks in, you have rot. Signs of this homeowner's headache include:

  • Damaged or decaying timber

  • Damp or musty smell

  • Brittle wood or wood that crumbles in your hand

  • Concentrated patches of orange/brown spore dust

  • Gray strands on wood

  • Mushrooms and fungal growth

5. Flashing Problems

Also known as weatherproofing, flashing prevents moisture from infiltrating into your roof by fitting around areas susceptible to leakage. It's usually made out of a thin sheet or strip of water-resistant material that's installed at roof intersections, around windows and doors, along chimneys and along the tops of foundation walls. Flashing is typically made out of galvanized steel. It needs to be installed properly, otherwise it compromises your home's moisture barrier. Again, where there is moisture there is a risk of mold, mildew and wood rot.

6. Strange Noises

When it rains or is windy outside, does your home make strange and alarming noises? While come cladding materials are naturally noisy, like aluminum, usually siding is meant to be quiet. You shouldn't feel like you live in a haunted house! If you notice rattling noises, then it's likely your cladding was not installed correctly or has somehow come loose. Either way, you'll need expert siding repair services to repair the problem as soon as possible.

Call Your Local Siding Repair Expert Today!

Taking care of your siding means you can avoid costly repairs and replacements in the future. As soon as you notice issues with your home's exterior walls, call the pros at Mr. Handyman of Princeton and Robbinsville. Our team of professionals offer outstanding siding repair services.

Each of our technicians has the years of experience, quality skills and industry knowledge to complete a range of improvement services. We also are recognized throughout New Jersey for our dedication to outstanding customer service, professionalism, and acting with integrity in all that we do. We've brought our truly excellent workmanship to countless homeowners throughout Princeton and the surrounding areas—including in Montgomery and West Windsor. It's our honor to assist with your installation, repair and maintenance needs

To book an appointment today, or to ask any questions about our services, we invite you to call our friendly customer service representatives at 609-372-5867. We look forward to helping with your next home improvement project!