Many homeowners buy siding with the sales pitch that it will last “forever.” But anyone who has owned a house covered with siding probably knows it can be damaged by wind, moisture, flying baseballs and plenty of other unforeseen nuisances.
Deciding whether or repair or replace siding requires answering a handful of questions. How old is the siding? Is it made out of vinyl, wood, aluminum, plywood, fiber cement or something else? Is the damage the size of a hokey puck or the one side of the house. Compared with other roofing, window & painting projects, fixing siding is relatively easy, but should be carefully thought out.
Vinyl Siding Can be Easy to Repair, Others Types Are More Complex
The first step to figuring out if the damage is extensive is looking underneath the shingles or covering. If the siding has fallen off the house, it should be easy to take a look at the building paper and flashing that helps keep the home dry. You'll be able to see if reconstruction work is necessary.
To peak underneath wood or plywood siding, you may need to pry off a shingle or cut a section away with a power saw.
Repairing wood siding can be more complicated than vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding is typically built in rows and snapped in place, With the right tools, a section of a row, or an entire row can be popped out and replaced.
Wood repairs can be more complex. Not only do you have to remove the damaged elements without disturbing any of the other nearby pieces, you may also need to replace the flashing, size the new shingles, and then attach and paint them. Unless you're a skilled repairperson, you may want to consider hiring a professional.
Fiber cement shingles can crack if improperly handled. They also require specialized tools for cutting and nailing. Patching a divot is relatively easy. Anything bigger and hiring a professional may be necessary to keep you from causing further damage.
If water is seeping in through the siding or a portion of the material is water-damaged, you’ll probably want to consult a professional even if you wind up doing the work yourself. A contractor can help find the source of leaks and tell you whether or not a rain screen or new flashing may be necessary.
Few people look forward to a fully replacement of their siding. This job is typically expensive and time consuming. However, siding rarely lasts forever, or even as long as it’s promised. Before refitting the entire house, make sure that the warranty on your original purchase is up and you can’t extend the life of the current shingles with a new paint job or other fix.
Below are several videos to help with repairing your siding.
Replacing a Section of Vinyl Siding
When you replace a piece of vinyl siding, the first step is buying replacement materials. Find out out who manufactured the current material so you can order a matching replacement. In the above video, Tom Silva from "This Old House" explains out to pop a row of siding out and nail in a new one.
Patching Minor Damage with Bondo
The Handyman demonstrates how to fill in a worn corner or divot of vinyl siding with fiberglass-threaded putty.
Fixing a Wood Shingle
To replace one broken wood shingle, Fine Homebuilding’s Mike Guertin cuts out the broken piece and slides a layer of flashing into the exposed area. A similarly sized piece of new wood is cut out, primed and nailed into place. Guertin finishes the job with a fresh coat of paint.
T1-11 Plywood Siding Section Repair
Repairing plywood siding can be more complicated than other types of siding, particularly if the problem is moisture. The current siding needs to be checked for moisture and the damaged area sawed off. Then the tar paper is replaced with a new house wrap. A new piece of flashing will help keep the siding dry where it previously rotted from moisture. Then the replacement siding is nailed into place.
Painting Vinyl Siding
Does your siding need a facelift? This is how you prepare the surface to paint it.