Think of your home’s siding as its shining armor. Good siding protects a house against storms, hail, rain and other bad weather. But after years of battling the elements, siding can start to show its age and fail to protect as well as it should. When that happens, it’s time for a new suit of armor.
Replacing siding can improve the look of your home—and increase its value. Replacing siding is one of the most inexpensive ways to improve the curb appeal of just about any home, according to Business Insider. In addition, siding adds a 78 percent return at resale, requires little maintenance and can last more than 20 years.
When does a home need new siding? Here are six ways to tell.
- Missing siding. Siding that has fallen or been blown off by a storm creates gaps that can lead to other sections falling off, termites and other insects moving in or rot in the wood beneath. Siding that has been damaged or blown off by a storm should be repaired or replaced.
- Peeling paint. Look for bulges or flakes, especially on the south side of the house, where the sun does the most damage. One big advantage of replacing siding after excessive paint peeling: lower maintenance. For example, LP SmartSide trim and siding has a prorated 50-year limited warranty. LP SmartSide is also treated to resist fungal decay and termite damage while also protecting against damage from hailstones up to 1.75 inches in diameter.
- Storm damage. Hail can leave holes or dents in siding. Look at the bottom of siding panels for chips, which can best be seen from below. Storm-damaged panels may also buckle or warp, decreasing their effectiveness. A high-powered flashlight can also help you spot dents. Holes from storms can allow moisture to seep in, and the longer this initial damage remains, the more overall harm may occur. Homeowner’s insurance may cover siding replacement; check your policy carefully.
- Cracks and sagging. When siding cracks or sags, water can seep in behind the panels, promoting decay and rot. Peeling paint or loose wallpaper inside the house may be a sign that there are cracked or sagging siding panels on the exterior. Cracks can let in moisture, causing damage to the wood underneath.
- Increased energy costs. A more subtle sign of siding damage is an uptick in your energy bill. If it costs more to heat your home in the winter or cool it in the summer, the culprit might be the siding, a vital component of a home’s energy efficiency. Damaged siding may allow in drafts and make the heating or cooling system work much harder, at a higher cost. New siding could make a dramatic difference.
- Mildew, mold or fungal damage. Damp spots or discoloration are telltale signs of mildew or mold. A musty smell inside the home is, too. Fungus, mold or mildew often start growing at the seams of siding. This is an indication that water is able to seep into the home, causing more damage.