Your siding adds style, beauty, and curb appeal to your home. However, siding boards also serve another important purpose—guarding your home against costly moisture damage.
Unfortunately, when your siding boards aren’t doing their job, they can allow severe moisture infiltration to damage your home. If your home is suffering from water damage, you’re not alone. Water damage is a common siding problem that many homeowners face during their home’s lifespan.
Although the same types of factors typically cause water damage, the effects can manifest in several different ways. We created this guide to equip homeowners, just like you, to quickly notice the signs of water damage, so you can proactively protect your most precious investment.
What Causes Siding to Become Water Damaged?
Water-damaged siding can be caused by various circumstances. However, these three aggravating factors are typically the culprits:
- Weather—Powerful wind and hail storms can chip, dent, or crack your siding, allowing water from rain and snowstorms to seep in.
- Wildlife—Woodpeckers, ants, bees, termites, and other pests can create holes or burrow into your siding, making your boards more susceptible to water infiltration.
- Moisture—Humidity, rainwater, leaky gutters, and poor ventilation all contribute to a moist environment, which eventually leads to mold growth and rot on your siding.
Signs Your Siding Has Water Damage
If you’re wondering how to identify if your siding has suffered the effects of water infiltration, look for these common signs of moisture damage.
Mold and Mildew
Mold, mildew, and fungus on your siding panels are a clear indicator that water is penetrating your boards and hiding underlying damage. Typically, you’ll notice mold and mildew growth on areas of your home’s exterior that are damp and shaded.
It’s common for a few of your siding boards to become loose or misplaced during a powerful storm. However, if several of your siding boards are cracked, unfastened, or missing, it may be a sign of water damage. Moisture weakens your siding boards and makes them more susceptible to destruction.
Bubbling and Warping
Bubbling, bulging, or warped siding indicates that water is finding a way to get underneath your paint and is settling into the cracks in your boards. Unfortunately, warped siding causes a snowball effect—the more warped your boards become, the more susceptible they are to water damage.
Dry rot is always a sign of water damage and a serious one, too. If dry rot is left unchecked, it can begin to eat away at the structural foundation of your home. If you notice dark orange or rust-colored spots on your siding, call your contractor immediately to evaluate the severity of the situation.
When your siding reaches the end of its lifespan, you’ll notice that the color and vibrancy of the boards will begin to fade. This sign usually indicates that your siding’s waterproofing abilities are fading, too. If your siding is starting to deteriorate, consider a siding replacement, even if you don’t notice other signs of moisture infiltration. This proactive action can protect your home from severe (and expensive!) water damage repairs in the future.
High Energy Costs
Although you may not think of your siding after noticing a spike in your energy bills, water-soaked boards may be the culprit. Contact a trusted contractor to evaluate the source of your expensive cooling or heating bills and create a plan of action to remedy the issue.
How to Fix Your Siding’s Water Damage
Fortunately, fixing water-damaged siding doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are some tips to remedy boards suffering from moisture infiltration.
Create a Plan Quickly
The longer you allow your moist siding to sit against your home, the more collateral damage the water-soaked boards will cause. It’s imperative to develop a plan for siding replacement right after you notice signs of water-damaged panels. This will allow you to prevent frustrating repairs, structural issues, and other problems down the road.
Invest in Proper Installation
Even though it may be tempting to save money by installing siding panels by yourself, it’s best to leave siding replacement and installation to the professionals. Expert contractors will be able to remove your old siding, treat the moisture damage underneath, and securely fasten water-resistant siding to prevent future water-related repairs.
Use High-Quality Products
One of the best ways to rid your home’s exterior of moisture-damaged siding forever is to invest in top-notch, water-resistant siding products.
Although vinyl siding is technically waterproof, even a tiny gap in your panels can allow water to seep through. When moisture penetrates the boards, vinyl siding traps the water that accumulates behind it. Unfortunately, this moisture trap can lead to mold growth, rot, and structural damage, especially when proper sheathing, caulking, and waterproof barriers aren’t installed.
That’s why replacing your water-damaged siding with James Hardie® fiber cement siding is an excellent option. Hardie siding is made from Portland cement, sand, water, and cellulose fibers to resist rain, snow, and hail damage. Plus, Hardie products are Engineered for Climate to ensure your siding is fit to withstand the long-term effects of Indiana’s weather, year after year.
Discover Popular Siding Replacement Options for Your Indianapolis Home
Fortunately, a siding replacement with a reliable, experienced contractor like JD Hostetter may be the key to fixing your water-damaged siding for good.
If you’re considering your choices for a siding replacement, check out our handy guide to siding replacement options. We share the real benefits and disadvantages of vinyl, wood, and fiber cement siding to help you decide which investment is best for you!