Winter poses dozens of untimely problems for Wisconsin homeowners and the potential for siding damage is one of them. Throughout the Madison WI area an assortment of home siding materials appear in residential neighborhoods. Vinyl siding is the most popular for new construction and renovations while natural wood and cement board siding remain in demand. Engineered wood siding is gaining acceptance, too. The basic concerns for replacement siding are: 1. Low maintenance and 2. Energy efficiency.
No matter which siding material you have, making sure existing siding is intact of doing its job this winter is critical. Anything you do now to guard against large repair or replacement bills is worth it, right?
One of the first signs your house isn’t working properly is an increase in heating costs. If you’re sure the furnace is working as it should, look to the structure itself. Attic insulation and ventilation is a potential cause. So are old, inefficient windows. Often overlooked is poor siding. Siding is the envelope that surrounds your home to keep outside air from leaking in. When it isn’t up to the job cold air sneaks in and your furnace runs too much.
If you think your heating bills are higher than they should be, call upon Sims Exteriors & Remodeling to evaluate your home’s roof, siding and windows. Sims’ skilled professionals have been doing it for years and know what to look for and how to fix it.
Learn To Spot Wintertime Siding Damage
You can do a visual inspection of your home to spot damaged siding, too. Here are several forms of damage to look for:
- Loose panels – Winter storms are often accompanied by high winds, winds that loosen or break individual pieces of siding. They may be hard to spot on a nice day but you may hear them flapping when the winds picks up. Look for slanted or tilted pieces. Look for pieces that don’t line up. Unless a piece is missing you can make short-term repairs by fastening the loose pieces in place. Do whatever you can to secure the loose pieces so water and wind don’t make the damage worse.
- Cracks, holes or dents – aluminum siding the only version that really dents. Vinyl siding doesn’t dent but it does crack. If a wayward tree branch or chunk of ice tossed by a snow thrower whacks a section, for example, it may crack. A crack in the cold easily expands and edges get brittle. Cracks and holes not only allow cold air to penetrate the protective envelope, it opens door for insects this spring. Cracks and holes are less likely with wood siding but wood that is already cracked is in danger from the freeze/thaw stress of winter, too.
- Warped and bubbling sections – warped and misshapen siding is a sure sign of water getting trapped beneath the surface. Wood warps, vinyl “bubbles” but it’s the same effect. Something is wrong below the surface. Remove the panels as soon as you can to see if there’s extensive water damage like rot or mold.
Water Damage – The No. 1 Threat Indoors And Out
Water seeping beneath siding is the most lethal threat to it. In winter, water penetrating the siding expands when it freezes. Expansion leads to structural problems. When temperatures stay consistently warmer wood will rot and mold will grow.
On the outside of your house you can spot potential water problems by looking up. The number one source of water penetrating siding is ice building up on eaves. The same thing that causes ice dams that damage your roof can allow water to get into your walls. When that ice melts and runs down the side of the house it can backup under siding when it freezes again. Unfortunately it’s a problem for most siding materials but most common with vinyl products.
When moisture penetration goes undetected you’ll eventually see its impact inside your house. Signs your siding or roof is failing include:
- Peeling paint or wallpaper – moisture inside the wall gets out anyway it can. It seeps beneath siding and moves within structural materials – rotting wood and causing damage to drywall in corners and seams.
- Mold and mildew – it is common to see mold, mildew and even green algae on the exterior of your home. Unfortunately, that means conditions are right for it to grow underneath siding, too. Mold inside appears as blacks streaks, stains or smudges on walls – in corners and around drywall screws are prime spots.
Mold, mildew and algae are potential concerns on all forms of siding. Rot is not an exterior problem for vinyl or other man-made materials. But it is for real wood siding. Routine maintenance including painting and sealing helps combat it.
Does drifting snow pile against your siding? Taking time to remove it is another precaution. If there’s a weakness in your siding, that snow drift will find it.
Trust A Pro To Handle Siding Damage
Whether your home has vinyl siding, natural wood siding or one of the other options, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers of winter weather. Money invested to prevent serious problems is well spent, right?
If you see any of the signals that your home’s siding, roof or windows are don’t wait for nice weather. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling has been installing and repairing siding windows in the Madison area year-in and year-out for years. A contractor who understands the demands of local weather and the physics of temperature change in building materials, Sims’ craftsmen are at your service. There’s more science to winter replacement than you think, but we’re skilled and well-trained. No company in the area matches our crews’ training and experience.
Our supplies have the best warranties in the business and we stand behind our workmanship and commitment to deliver the professional results you expect. When you need help, any time of year, you want service from a company you can trust, right?
If you’ve seen tell-tales signs or just want to explore your options email us or give us a call at 608-825-4500. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is a recognized leader for reliable, long-lasting siding products. We’re ready to evaluate your situation, spot wintertime siding damage and recommend a solution for your Madison WI area home.