You may have installed vinyl siding on your home with the promise of an extended maintenance-free period during which you won’t need to worry about your home’s siding. Although vinyl siding can cover the exterior surfaces of your home with a sturdy and attractive layer, there are common issues that you may face.
The Connecticut Trust has compiled a preservation guide for historic property owners who are considering installing vinyl siding on a home. Even if you don’t own a historic home, this guide presents an informative overview of many of the issues common with vinyl siding.
Once you know the top five causes of siding problems, you’ll be ready to proceed with full understanding of issues you may face in the future.
If the installer does not install the flashing properly, damaging leaks can occur with moisture causing significant harm behind the siding.
1.Warping and Buckling Problems
If vinyl siding is not installed properly on a home’s exterior, warping and buckling will often result. Although vinyl siding has the appearance of wood siding, it is very different and has significantly different installation requirements. Whereas wood boards must be nailed tightly to exterior walls, vinyl siding has a different design. Instead, it must be hung from fasteners to enable expansion and contraction with temperature variations.
If the installer attaches vinyl siding boards to a house tightly with nails, preventing the pieces from moving, the result will be warping and buckling.
A simple test will diagnose tight siding installation. Grab a siding panel in your hand and try to move it back and forth. If the siding has a correct installation, it should move about ½ inch both ways. If you cannot move the siding, it is too tight.
Vinyl siding does not have a waterproof design. In fact, it is specifically designed to prevent an airtight seal over the exterior surface of a home. For this reason, the home must have a waterproof barrier installed over the exterior of the house underneath the siding prior to installing the siding. This waterproof barrier is what holds moisture away from the house and prevents it from absorbing into the structure. If the installer makes mistakes with the waterproof barrier, moisture issues will result.
3.Mold and Algae on Siding
Mold on vinyl siding appears as a white or gray powder with tiny specks of black. Areas of the siding that do not receive direct sunlight and that have a high moisture level often develop mold. Eliminate areas around the siding that contribute to shade, such as shrubs that touch the house and trap moisture near the siding surface. Algae often appear on vinyl siding also. Differentiate mold and algae by color. Algae will create an unsightly black, brown or green discoloration over the surface of the siding in areas that stay moist and damp.
When installing vinyl siding, special flashing trim pieces surround edges of the siding and structural elements such as doors and windows. If the installer does not install the flashing properly, damaging leaks can occur with moisture causing significant harm behind the siding.
Because siding does not have a tight seal against a house, wind may create unpleasant noises as it moves the siding pieces. Some homeowners notice loud clatters and squeaks during windstorms as the loose vinyl siding pieces move in the wind.
With careful installation and preparation of the exterior surface of your home, you should be able to avoid many common siding problems.