What You Need To Know Before Replacing Siding on a House

Residential home in boulder undergoing siding replacement service
Siding is the exterior protection of your house, also referred to as armor and shield that protects it from severe weather conditions, wildlife damage and other unexpected incidents. When it serves its functions, we take it for granted until something goes wrong. Or you keep an annual checklist for maintenance to ensure your home's structural integrity and internal structures are in excellent shape and condition.

Whether you are replacing your siding or choosing an exterior for your new home, it's important to consider climate and surroundings. Planning to sell? Then, exterior remodeling will be your first step to increasing curb appeal.

This blog will cover replacing siding options, signs that you need replacement or repair and a general FAQ to ensure all your questions are answered before taking the next step. Our handyman service professionals at Mr. Handyman are here to serve you.

Types of Siding and Their Advantages

Depending on style and needs, you most likely want to combine functionality with aesthetics, not to mention durability and low carbon footprint.

Here are the most common types you see in residential homes and corporate buildings—all serving different purposes—suited for specific climates and places. See which is most compatible and advantageous to your needs.

  • Vinyl: By far the most popular and cost-effective variant. Textured vinyl has improved in quality over the years and even resembles real wood. Although more durable than wood, it can be vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and might be better suited for milder and constant temperatures. As a petroleum-based product, it doesn't attract insects and needs low-maintenance.
  • Wood (or Engineered Wood): Wood is a homeowner's eco-friendly choice, given that it's renewable, biodegradable and energy-efficient in production. Wood also reduces your environmental footprint, leading to a more proactive choice. However, wood siding is one of the most expensive types, but it could be a great investment depending on where you live. Engineered wood is fused with zinc borate and has a wax finish, making it rot resistant.
  • Cedar Shingle: Like the above, cedar is a sustainable resource and grows quickly throughout North America. They are fairly easy to repair and replace, as long as you identify underlying issues fast. As mentioned above, wood is expensive and requires high maintenance; it needs repainting and re-staining every ten years or less.
  • Composite: This can be made from various materials. (Traditionally, builders used scrapwood from cedar and pine until they noticed damage from rot.) A more modern formulation like Everlast composite has no wood ingredients and is made of stone, inorganic minerals and polymeric resin, which offer more durable and resilient qualities in the final product. It's easy to install, offers attractive wood-like appearance and is resistant to weather and heavy objects.
  • Fiber Cement: It's a resilient mix of wood fiber and sand molded into Portland cement, giving it a lumber or brick appearance. Some formulations include additives to enhance the product's performance. While the job requires expert masonry, you get guaranteed sturdiness and high security because it's fire-proof, termite-proof and prevents rot. Although labor-intensive, fiber cement gives homeowners the best value long-term and is low-maintenance.
  • Natural Stone (or Synthetic Stone): Stones give homes an earthy vibe, but whether you choose natural or synthetic, both have their pros and cons. Natural stone may be durable and colorfast but is difficult to source and reshape. Synthetic stone (veneer stone or manufactured stone) is lightweight and easy to cut but often has a homogeneous look and fades quickly. Because of the synthetic's low density and weight, you can install it easily with lath, mortar, and grout. Natural stone, on the other hand, is commonly installed on porous concrete or stone.
  • Brick Veneer: Brick veneer is more affordable than full brick and still provides efficient insulation. You can install it over your home's sheathing (just like vinyl or wood). Typically, you mount brick veneer on fiberglass mesh backing in the style of traditional brick walls. As these panels are produced in factories, the assembly is fast. They are extremely durable, low-maintenance and cost up to 40 percent less than full brick. Yet, they cost slightly more than wood fiber cement and vinyl.
  • Metal (aluminum or steel): Metal has become a popular exterior cladding alternative for homeowners seeking a modern vibe. Other than its durability and high-end protection, it's easy to install and comes with low-maintenance services. What appeals to homeowners the most is that metal is fire-, rot-, and rust-resistant. While aluminum and steel come with high energy footprints, buyers can opt for metal siding products infused with recycled material.

Certainly, there are more pros and cons to cover, if not more alternative types. Homeowners in North America want the safest and most cost-effective siding option. When we look at signs of damage, we should learn more about replacing options and preventative measures.

Signs Replacing Siding on Your House is Inevitable

You might wonder how long siding lasts? Depending on the type and whether necessary maintenance service was applied, it should last 15-50 years and more. We recommend keeping an annual checklist for cladding inspection.

Here are the most obvious signs of damage that call out for repair or replacement.

  • Rotting Wood: Even if you have vinyl exterior, you most likely have wood siding beneath. In that case, water seeps in and leads to fungus development. You can identify that through discolored patches, spongy textures and breaking wood. We recommend having a specialized technician inspect the wood. In lucky instances, the rot hasn't spread, and we can remove it and repair the affected area with polyester filler and coat with wood hardener.
  • Water Damage in the Interior Walls: Moisture and musty odors inside the house are a sign of damage to your exterior cladding even if not visible on the outside. Watch out for leaks and discoloration of your drywall and ceiling and take immediate action before the situation worsens.
  • Tip: To identify hidden water leaks, turn off your water and check your water meter hourly. If water usage goes up, you'll have your answer. Next, locate the leak. Addressing the issue involves removing your drywall and drying the area. We recommend consulting a water specialist to determine the next steps.
  • Warping, Buckling & Bulging: Vinyl can warp or melt in extreme heat conditions, leading colors to fade. Other times, parts can bulge outward or cup inward, which signifies that something major is wrong in the interior (such as moisture damage).
  • Dents, Gaps, Cracks & Holes: These might be signs of storm damage or other wear and tear related to aging. Other possibilities are squirrels might be chewing on your house! Or, woodpeckers have become partial to your cedar siding.
  • Increased Utility Bills: Many homeowners don't associate high utility bills with siding issues, especially if they don't know how old and worn their exterior cladding is. It's worth hiring a specialist to inspect both your interior and exterior walls and learn about replacement options to improve home insulation.
  • Gutter Cleaning & Downspout Inspection: While it's easy for homeowners to clean their siding with a garden hose, gutter cleaning and inspecting downspouts are a different story but highly important. Our expert handymen recommend keeping an eye on your exterior drainage systems. Maintaining it will help avoid dampness in your cladding and reduce the danger of wood rot and pests caused by moisture or standing water.

Pro Tip: We also recommend keeping soil and firewood away from your siding to avoid potential infestation. While a good foundation keeps your home insulated and dry, excess moisture will develop in the ground over time. This makes wood siding the most vulnerable to pests coming from below. Chances are that soil and overgrowth will cover your foundation. It will need digging out to prevent future problems. Firewood poses another danger for wood-boring insects finding a bridge to sneak into your siding.

Check any documents for warranty. Factories should offer 25 to limited lifetime warranties on sidings. Often you will find that they cover a 15-year warranty against fading or flaking.

FAQ - Common Questions about Replacing Siding on House

Having learned from the signs of trouble and replacement types available, you might want to go ahead. Don't worry if you're still unsure about what might be ideal for your needs. It's not easy putting yourself in the position of your house!

Let's tackle some FAQs that companies and technicians get from their customers. You will find yourself in the same boat, which means that you're not alone in this. There's a lot to choose from, and their pros and cons aren't always as clear.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace Siding?

Depending on material, time, and area, rough estimates for siding replacement cost per sq ft of material are:

  • Vinyl: ~ $3-$5
  • Wood: ~$4-$6
  • Fiber Cement: ~ $5-$6
  • Metal: $3-10
  • Stone: ~ $18-20

Note: These estimates are national averages and can vary depending on many factors

At Mr. Handyman, we are transparent about upfront pricing. What you see on the quote is the price you pay. Contact us today to discuss any concerns about pricing, labor costs and any other questions you might have. We guarantee peace of mind because your satisfaction is our priority.

Should I Remove Old Siding Before Installing New?

It's recommended but depends on the previous siding's condition. The underlayment should be in good shape, too, to continue smoothing out the existing surface.

It's almost always better to install new material as it increases home value if you ever consider selling. Recent renovations and remodeling efforts strike new buyers as extremely appealing.

Of course, in severe cases like rotten wood, you will have to remove it before installing new vinyl with no question.

Can I DIY Repair and Replace Siding?

It depends on project size and choice of material. For example, a 2000-foot house would be overkill if you chose fiber cement. Materials are fragile and weigh approximately 2.5 lbs per square foot on average. Instead of investing in specialized tools for a one-time job and risking mistakes, get in touch with our team of experienced handymen. We will guarantee a hassle-free process to get the job done right. All you will have to do is sit back and relax. We know what it's like to worry about perfectionism. If you leave it to the experts, you'll have more to look forward to.

Do You Have Any Tips for Siding Remodeling?

When you are already going through home remodeling ideas, we understand it entails many components concerning different parts of the house. If you plan to sell your home, you will want the siding remodeling to be eye candy to potential buyers.

Chances are you have wood beneath your current siding. During a remodel, we highly recommend switching to vinyl if you're not already using them). Other high-selling values include brick veneer, fiber cement or aluminum. These are more durable materials that lead to fewer problems with rot and moisture, and you won't have to worry too much about your location or weather conditions.

Any General Maintenance & Cleaning Tips?

Cleaning your exterior cladding once a year can increase its life expectancy. Before you begin, check the manufacturer's guidelines to ensure you use the right cleaning solution.

Vinyl: Mild bleach, vinegar or laundry detergent are your safest choice to clean vinyl. Dilute bleach with water; same with detergent, and mix vinegar with baking soda. General rule of thumb is to use mixtures that won't stain or damage your vinyl. Pressure-washing your vinyl is possible but could damage your siding if not done correctly. We recommend professional help.

Wood: Mix vinegar with warm water in a spray bottle and spray on the wooden boards. Then use a soft brush to scrub off any dirt and rinse it with a garden hose.

Fiber Cement: Fiber cement is easier to clean than vinyl and wood and would benefit from frequent cleaning routines (at least twice a year). Its durability can handle non-abrasive dish detergent with warm water. Use a soft cloth or sponge.

Need Help Replacing Siding on a House?

Did you investigate your home's interior and spot something you want someone to look at? Count on our siding installers at Mr. Handyman to answer all your questions.

Schedule an appointment or call to chat with our outstanding customer service representatives.