Upgrading or replacing worn or damaged siding can do wonders for the efficiency and appearance of your home. But there are certain considerations and details you need to think about before getting started on this project.
Whether it is safety related or concerns the structure of your home, you'll need to take these particulars into account.
Type of Siding
The scope of your siding repair or replacement project will depend on the type of siding you have. Aluminum and wood siding can be painted to spruce up the appearance, but if vinyl siding becomes discolored, stained or damaged replacement is likely the only option.
If you're not happy with the maintenance level, appearance or finish of your current siding, you may want to consider replacing it entirely. Wood siding is more expensive than vinyl, but provides a distinctly warm character. Newer products such as fiber cement siding offer a unique look and superior strength, but come with their own limitations.
Scope of the Damage
When storms or high winds damage a portion of your siding you may be able to get away with replacing only a section or a few pieces. It depends entirely on the condition of the existing siding and the area that has been damaged. Wood siding can be replaced almost piece by piece, while aluminum and vinyl may need to be done in larger sections.
Safety During Installation
If your home is a two story or has a walkout, you will likely need to be up high for the repair or replacement. Be sure that you have sturdy scaffolding or ladders and tie off to prevent falls. Have a partner on the ground to spot you while on the ladder and don't tackle this project if the winds and weather are unfriendly. Try to keep all of your equipment and tools close by to eliminate the need to go up and down the structure repeatedly.
What's Underneath the Siding?
Often you will find house wrap or building paper underneath your siding. Other homes will have foam board insulation or simply a layer of plywood. Whatever is underneath, be sure it's solid and free of mold, rot and pest damage. Also be sure that the framing is strong enough to hold your siding. Read through the installation instructions for your product and contact your local building department to find out what the requirements are in your area.
Handling of the Product
Products like vinyl siding come with all of the components and parts, creating an entire system of siding. To fit these standard sized pieces onto your home you'll need to snip and cut the various materials. Wood panels will also need to be cut, sanded or ripped. And aluminum, although much less flexible than vinyl, will also need to be trimmed and cut to fit. This work requires special handling to avoid injury from the sharp edges or splinters.
Other products like fiber cement siding need to be treated with extra care. The composite products within this type of siding need special handling and should be looked after by someone fully trained and highly skilled.
Think through all of the aspects of your siding project, including the limitations of your particular type of siding, the scope of the project, how to handle and install the product safely and what to look for underneath. All of these considerations will guide you towards a solid, quality siding project.