Siding does wear out, it cracks, it breaks, it gets old. Eventually it will fail, it will leak and when that happens it may already be too late to prevent other major (and probably expensive) repairs.
There are specific things you should look for in determining whether a home's siding needs replacement.
1. The home needs frequent painting - A coat of paint should last 5 - 6 years. If you are repainting more than that there could be a fundamental problem with your siding and it might need replaced.
2. High heating or cooling bills - If your heating or cooling bills are going up and not in line with people in your neighborhood, there could be something wrong with your siding not properly sealing off the exterior of your house.
3. Rotting or warping - Visually inspect your home's siding. Poke under any warped siding to see if there is damage. If the underlayer is beginning to rot and feels soft, it is a sure sign that the siding needs replaced.
4. Cracked or loose siding - If one or two boards come loose after a storm, it may not be difficult to replace those without further damage. Always be sure to check the underlayer to insure there has not been additional damage.
5. Loose wallpaper or peeling paint inside the house - It may not be immediately obvious but loose wallpaper or peeling paint may be symptomatic of faulty siding. Bad siding allows moisture to find its way into your home causing significant damage.
6. Fungus, mold or mildew on a homes' siding - These items specifically at or near seams in the siding may indicate that water is penetrating it and being held inside the wall where it is slowly released again causing this unwanted growth.
7. Severely Faded Siding - You might ask why fading is a cause for concern. Nothing lasts forever and that includes siding. All siding has a life expectancy and is formulated to hold its color through that period. As it fades, so will the rating of the siding.
8. Bubbles in the siding - This is almost a certain sign that water has become trapped under the siding in some capacity. Siding is meant to keep moisture away from the walls under the siding.
9. Holes in the siding - Even small holes in the siding should be a major cause of concern. Generally speaking, holes are from insects and if they have penetrated through the siding they themselves may cause damage. The holes they leave behind can allow the weather through and cause further damage.
10. Dry Rot - Tapping on the siding with the handle of a screwdriver can reveal dry rot problems before they become noticeable to the naked eye. Dry rotting works from the inside out, the surface could look good yet significant damage is possible to the material underneath.
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