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Home Siding Repair 101: What to Know

Siding, also known as cladding, is an integral part of your home. It protects your property from the elements, changing weather patterns, and pests. Not to mention, cladding takes up the majority of your home's real estate—meaning it contributes greatly to the overall aesthetic of your property and your curb appeal.

Although cladding is built to last, and there are many siding options with different pros and cons, no matter what material is on the outside of your home it will need a little TLC occasionally. Like anything else on your property, your cladding will wear over time. Depending on the material, it might need to be refinished, have sections replaced, or a fresh coat of paint applied.

In this blog—put together by the experts at Mr. Handyman of Upper Fairfield County—we'll go over common issues to look for, and the home siding repairs you should know about.

What Type of Siding Does Your Home Have?

Cladding comes in many materials, styles and designs. And different materials need varying degrees of maintenance to stay in good condition. It's likely you already know what material makes up the exterior walls of your home. However, if you've just moved into a new place and aren't sure, are building a home, or are thinking of renovating, here's what you need to know about the common choices:

  • Vinyl Siding: A very popular choice, vinyl is made out of a type of plastic called PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It's found on homes throughout the United States; 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. However, a drawback of vinyl is that it can bleach in the sun.

  • Stucco Siding: Made out of a mixture of cement, lime and sand, stucco has insulating qualities, is available in a wide variety of colors and can last up to 50 years. That said, it may crumble or crack from time to time.

  • 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. Usually, wood cladding is found on older homes. It looks very natural, yet be aware that water damage may cause rot and warping.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Aluminum Siding: Incredibly durable and insulating, aluminum can help reduce your energy expenses. It's also an ideal material to place on top of wood cladding to help protect it.

5 Common Home Siding Repairs

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. Although your exterior walls might experience weather damage or issues from pests, regular maintenance is the best way to keep it looking its best while preventing any existing damage from worsening.

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 problems:

1. Mold, Mildew & Algae Build-Up

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. If left unattended, it could result in needing to replace entire sections of siding. Also, mold and mildew are bad for your family's health and could cause lung problems.

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

2. Moisture Seepage

When installed correctly, cladding creates an effective barrier against moisture and humidity. But, even plastic materials like vinyl are not completely waterproof—especially when cracked or otherwise damaged. Even one small chip, crack, or missing piece can let water seep in. Water damage is a serious problem; once water gets trapped between the walls of your house, it can result in wood rot, mold and structural damage.

3. Buckling & Warping

A common issue with vinyl, buckling and warping happens when PVC 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, the fasteners enable it to expand and contract as the weather changes. If it's attached too tightly, it can't move properly. This puts stress on the material and makes it warp and buckle. If you notice this happening, it's likely the cladding will need to be replaced.

4. 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. Fast moving, heavy objects can make an impact if they hit your home hard enough. For example, rocks expelled by a lawnmower, hail during a storm and even baseballs thrown by playing children could cause damage.

Although a small chip may not seem like a big deal, it's actually very important to fix it as soon as possible. Like any structure, even one weak area could worsen, resulting in water infiltration, leaks, structural damage, mold and wood rot that will leave you no choice but to invest in expensive replacement services.

5. Flashing Problems

Flashing—also known as weather proofing—prevents moisture from infiltrating into your roof by fitting around areas susceptible to leakage. It is made out of a thin sheet or strip of water-resistant material (typically galvanized steel) that's installed at roof intersections, along chimneys, along the tops of foundation walls and around windows and doors. It needs to be installed properly, otherwise it compromises your home's moisture barrier.

Call Your Local Siding Expert Today!

Taking care of your cladding 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 Upper Fairfield County. 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've assisted countless homeowners throughout Fairfield County with their installation, repair and maintenance needs—including in Westport, Darien and Stamford.

To book an appointment today, or to ask any questions about our services, we invite you to call our friendly customer service representatives at 1-866-550-1710.