How to Protect Your Siding from Weather Damage
Dec 19, 2022
Siding keeps the exterior of our home protected from weather, debris, and water. But we also want to keep our siding protected from the weather so that it doesn’t need to be replaced prematurely. Weather can have many effects on siding, including:
- Fading from the sun
- Water damage from rain and storms
- Scratches and dents from debris and hail
- Being torn off by the wind
So how should you protect your siding from this type of damage?
Invest in Weatherproof Siding
The first step you can take is to invest in weatherproof siding to begin with. Most siding is not truly waterproof but instead water-resistant. However, some kinds of siding are more durable against certain kinds of weather than others. For example, aluminum siding is more prone to dings and dents than wooden siding. But wooden siding can experience more water damage than a plastic kind like vinyl. Some siding brands also have technology that helps color from fading.
Ensure Your Siding is Waterproofed
Siding can help keep water out of your home, and most types of siding are water-resistant. But additional steps must be taken in order to truly waterproof your home.
Use the Proper Layers
You’ll typically need additional layers of material underneath your siding to ensure the system is entirely waterproof, especially with wood and fiber cement siding. These layers include flashing, house wrap, sealants, caulk, tape, and trim in addition to the siding. If your siding hasn’t been up to snuff during bad weather in the past, you might want to check with a contractor that the proper waterproofing steps were taken.
Seal Any Cracks, Gaps, or Holes
You should also look for gaps in siding around your exterior, as these will allow water to seep in and cause damage. If you find a small gap or hole under a ¼-inch wide while you are searching, you can apply caulk to reseal it. If there is a gap in vinyl siding, you can get a zip tool at the hardware store to fix it. You can also use a cementitious patching compound on fiber cement siding. Alternatively, hire a handyman to help with your job to make sure it’s done properly.
Regularly Trim Your Property’s Trees
Flying tree limbs can cause damage to your house, and your siding might take the brunt of the damage. Make sure to cut back your trees’ branches regularly, especially the ones that are the closest to your house. This can prevent more damage in the case of a high-wind storm.
Maintain Your Exterior Siding
One of the most important steps in protecting your siding from weather damage is to perform routine maintenance. Depending on your type of siding, you will have to perform a different amount of maintenance every year. But no matter what type of siding you have, you should clean it regularly, check for water damage, and look for loose panels or pieces. Loose pieces of siding can come off with high winds and damage the rest of your house or hurt somebody.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding
To clean vinyl siding, you can use a cloth or soft-bristled brush with a long handle. Start at the bottom of the house and work your way up. Be sure to wipe off any cleaning solution, such as dish soap or detergent, before the water dries to avoid soap scum. You can also use a power washer on some types of siding. It’s best to find what the manufacturer recommends.
Cleaning Wood Siding
Clean wood siding with a mix of water and mild detergent. Use a sponge, cloth, or soft-bristled brush. Power washing is too intense for most types of wood siding. Alternatively, you can use an outdoor cleaning wand or brush that attaches to your garden hose.
Cleaning Aluminum Siding
You can use a power washer or a hand tool like a sponge on aluminum siding. Use a detergent or siding cleaner.
Cleaning Fiber Cement Siding
Use a hose to clean fiber cement siding rather than a power washer, which can be too harsh on the material. You don’t need to use soap on most fiber cement sidings.
Keep Gutters Clean
Keeping your gutters clean can help them successfully collect and redirect rainwater from the siding of your house. When they are full of debris or not cleaned, more rainwater can run down the side of your house and damage the siding.
What Are the Signs of Siding Damage?
You should regularly assess your siding for existing damage. Then, you can assess it after a storm or bad weather season to find any new signs of damage. Here are some of the main things to look out for. Although some of these signs might seem merely cosmetic, they can actually lead to further decay and damage to both your siding and your home.
Paint might start to peel away from the siding as a result of underlying moisture damage caused by a storm. This is especially common with wooden siding.
Although vinyl siding is generally water-resistant, it can sometimes crack, typically parallel to the way the siding lies. Cracking can also occur in wooden siding, which can lead to mold and rot if left untreated.
Vinyl and wood siding can often chip when exposed to severe weather. Typically, chips occur at the bottom of a panel of siding where the siding does not have inward flexibility.
Debris and precipitation like hail can punch holes into the siding. This is most common with siding materials such as stucco, but can also happen with vinyl siding. Holes can be large and easy to identify, but can also be on the smaller side.
Aluminum siding can be dented by debris or hail. Left untreated, dents can allow rust to form on the siding and also contribute to cracking or breaks.
High winds can tear the siding off of your house if it’s not secured properly. This is why it’s important to look for loose siding when doing routine maintenance.
How to Repair Siding After a Storm
It’s best to take care of damage to your siding as soon as possible after it occurs. But before you get started on any upgrades or repairs, take photos of your siding and some detailed notes that you can send your insurance provider. They may be able to help you lower your costs. A local contractor can then come to inspect the siding to provide a repair estimate. Then, you can decide if you want to file the claim with your insurance or not before the contractor gets started on the work.
Keep your house in good condition.
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