Vinyl and aluminum siding have all but replaced wood as exterior cladding materials. Although vinyl and aluminum require minimum upkeep, wood can create a series of problems you’ll need to contend with.
Traditionally, wood and hardboard siding were the materials used in house construction. However, with the advent of aluminum and the newest siding material, vinyl, homeowners attempting re-siding jobs have moved toward the modern materials, which will not corrode, rot or warp. Nor do they need to be painted. In fact, aluminum and vinyl will probably outlast the house! Both require minimum upkeep for long-lasting beauty.
Decay, warps, splits and peeling paint are the problems you can encounter with wood siding. Any damaged wood panel should be replaced as soon as possible, because moisture can seep into the cracks or splits and start to destroy the walls.
Peeling paint is usually caused by moisture that gets into the wood and forces the paint film away from the wood. Repainting over a wet board won’t solve the problem; the paint won’t adhere to the dampness and will bubble and peel again.
If only a couple of boards are damaged by moisture, they can be replaced. To remove a damaged board, insert wedges in the bottom of the board on top of the damaged piece. Use a hacksaw to cut the nails that join the two pieces, then remove the damaged siding.
Cut a new board to fit, and drive it into place using a hammer and a wood block to prevent damage to the siding. Use galvanized nails to fix the board in place. Countersink the nail heads, fill with a waterproof putty and repaint the board.
Less serious moisture problems can be handled by inserting wedges into the bottom of all the boards to allow moisture to dry out. More serious moisture problems can be helped by the installation of a venting system to release the moisture. Holes are bored into the siding and aluminum or plastic vents are inserted.
Warped wood can sometimes be repaired without removing the siding. Try hammering the board back into place, using ring-shank nails for a tighter grip. Warping can also be treated by sawing a series of cuts slightly more than halfway up the siding panel in the
area of the warp. This allows the wood to spring so it can be nailed back in place with ring-shank nails. Fill all saw cuts with exterior caulking to repel moisture. Smooth the cuts and repaint the siding.
Splits and cracks can also be repaired without removing the siding, by using the above method of ring-shank nails and caulking or by using a waterproof glue. Pry out the split portion so that you can liberally apply glue to the edges of the split. Force the two pieces together and clamp them by using a support from below the siding panel, such as a wood block nailed Tito the siding. Once the glue has hardened, remove the support and nail the panel back in place. It’s preferable to drill pilot holes for the nails to prevent further splitting of the wood. Remember to use galvanized nails for exterior work.
Hardboard is ground wood that has been heat-compressed This siding material requires little maintenance other than painting, but it does sometimes split from moisture penetration.
You can follow the steps under wood siding for replacement of a hardboard siding panel, or, if the damage is in only one small area of a panel, a hole can be cut in the siding and a new piece of hardboard cut to fit. The joint should be caulked to prevent further moisture damage.
The smaller size of cedar shingles or shakes makes them easier to repair than panelling. The damaged shake can be forced out by removing the nails, and a new one inserted and nailed in place. A brand-new shake will contrast very prominently with the old shakes. If you can, use a shake from another part of the house that isn’t as visible for the replacement, then nail a new shake in that location. The repaired portion of the visible side of the house will then have the same weathered look as the rest of the shakes.
As mentioned previously, there’s little that can go wrong with this type of siding. It will last for years, and about the only serious problem that can occur is a dent.
Properly applied siding will mean that a dent won’t be very noticeable and no repair action need be taken. If the dent is noticeable, remove the panel, force out the dent from the back, then reapply the panel.
Aluminum doesn’t need painting. The only maintenance necessary is a washing down once a year.
Vinyl is a fairly new siding material, which offers some advantages over aluminum. It won’t dent or scratch. This means little need for siding repairs.
Both aluminum and vinyl expand and contract with temperature changes, so the creaking you hear outside your walls is not necessarily a cause for alarm.
As with aluminum, vinyl should also be maintained with an annual washing down
Wood siding repairs step-by-step
To replace cedar shakes, cut the nail of the damaged shake with a hack saw blade. Chisel out the shake then apply a new one of the same size and thickness.
Splits in wood siding can be repaired with nails and caulking or a waterproof glue. Pry out the split portion; apply glue, then force the pieces together with nails.