Temperatures are dropping all over the U.S. Winter storm warnings have also been in effect, and mountainous areas have received more snow and moisture than they’ve seen in years.
The moisture is great for agriculture but not so much for the siding on your home. If you’ve noticed problems with leakage or decreased energy efficiency, it may be time for a replacement.
The winter is the worst time for your siding, according to siding installation experts Home Design Exteriors. “Though siding wear and tear occurs all year long, your home is most likely to sustain structural damage during the winter months, particularly if there are pre-existing issues, such as cracks or buckling,” they say.
They strongly recommend doing a pre-existing damage check before the weather gets really cold and checking for cracks, holes, or other signs of damaged siding. If it’s already snowed and reached sub-zero temperatures, they recommend you should do these inspections right away.
It’s not ideal to check and replace siding in the middle of winter, but this can protect your home from further damage and heat-loss problems. It’s better to look for damage now and stop the problem before it worsens. As you inspect your siding, these are some things to look for.
1. Frequently Chipped Paint
Have you repainted your home’s siding more than once in the last 10 years? If so, that’s a clear indication that your current siding is out of date and due for a replacement. When your siding is in good, durable condition, it should last about 10 years before it needs repainting. Chipping, peeling, or cracking in the paint indicates the siding is no longer able to weather the storms.
2. Rotting or Warping
Another clear indicator of worn-out siding is rotting or warping, which is usually pretty easy to spot during a visual inspection. Normally, you can see problems with warping or rotting, but sometimes the evidence lies beneath the top layer.
Take a screwdriver, butter knife, or other thin, sharp object and poke underneath any siding that has been warped. You’ll feel how solid or deteriorated the wood is at the base layer.
If it crumbles when you poke at it, you know your siding needs to be replaced as soon as possible before the cold and wet conditions cause more serious problems for your home’s interior.
3. Mold and Mildew
Look for this tell-tale sign of old siding on both the exterior and interior of your home. Any type of fungal growth, particularly near the seams of the siding or the corners of your interior walls, means that water has penetrated the siding at its seams.
This is either a sign of poor installation or aged siding. Either way, it must be replaced as soon as possible. The longer it sits through a cold, stormy winter, the more damage you’re likely to encounter both inside and out.
4. Winter Damage
Hailstorms, blizzards, and wind can all cause undue damage to your siding, but hail is the biggest nemesis. It can cause dents, cracks, and holes in the fixture, restricting its ability to protect the home from the elements. Wind can also tear at the seams of siding and throw objects like tree branches at it.
After a winter storm, examine your siding carefully for damage that could lead to larger problems. In some instances, the siding can be repaired, but if the damage is serious, you’ll want a replacement. Fiber cement siding, such as the kind by James Hardie, the number-one siding brand in America, comes highly recommended for durability against winter chaos.
5. Peaking Energy Costs
You can identify rising energy costs without an exterior examination of your siding. Look for a bill from the winter months of last year and compare it to your current bills. If you’re paying more for heating costs now, a problem with your siding could easily be part of the problem.
When it’s damaged or deteriorating, the siding doesn’t seal your home from the exterior elements very well but lets cold air seep in. To save your energy bill and protect your home better this winter, have your siding replaced!