Replacing your vinyl siding is one of the easiest way to completely update and improve your home’s appearance. Fresh new siding can take your home from tired and outdated to modern and striking. The newest vinyl siding styles can also mimic just about any architectural feature, including wood shakes, board and batten, colonial beading and even Victorian gingerbread.
However, siding isn’t just about aesthetics. It also serves as your home’s first line of defense against moisture. If your siding is old, replacing it can stop mold, mildew and rot from costing you thousands of dollars in structural repairs down the road. New siding is also easy to clean and maintain.
How to Tell When It’s Time for New Siding
Not sure if you should repair or replace your siding? If you’re trying to decide between replacing your vinyl siding or repairing what you have, here are five signs that your siding is due for an upgrade.
Bubbling and Blistering
If you’ve seen homes from the 60s, 70s and 80s, you might have seen vinyl siding that is blistered or bubbled. It’s a bad look, and it’s one of the reasons why some people get turned off to the idea of vinyl for their homes.
However, it’s important to distinguish vinyl made in previous decades from its modern counterpart. Today’s vinyl is stronger, more durable and resistant to extreme weather and temperature swings. Vinyl manufactured decades ago simply can’t withstand a blazing hot sun or sub-zero temperatures. Fortunately, modern manufacturing techniques and materials produce vinyl that can look like new for decades. If you see a lot of blistering and bubbling on your home’s old vinyl, it’s best to replace it.
Dents, Chips and Cracks
In some cases, severe storms can lead to hail damage. Strong winds can blow hail at an angle that sends it hurtling into vinyl, leading to dents, chips and cracks. While a few dents here and there don’t look great, they generally won’t lead to moisture damage. However, cracks and chips can expose the underlying structure to water. Inspect your home regularly and keep an eye out for chipping and cracking.
Damage from Birds and Animals
If you live near a wooded area, there’s a chance nature’s critters have found their way into your home and possibly under your siding. Birds, squirrels and field mice seek warmth in the winter, and your house is a large source of heat in cold weather. If you have wood siding or old vinyl, replacing it with modern vinyl can protect your property from damage.
Warping and Rippling
Over time, siding can warp and ripple. It’s unattractive, but it can also provide an entry point for water. In some cases, a poor installation is the reason for unsightly warping and rippling. In other cases, the siding has simply sagged over time. An experienced siding company can help you determine if your siding is too damaged to repair.
High Energy Bills
Most homeowners don’t associate high heating and cooling bills with their siding, but old and worn exterior cladding can be a major factor in a home’s energy loss. Today’s home wrap is designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. Modern home wrap also serves as an important moisture barrier. If your siding is old, and you’re paying exorbitant heating and cooling bills every month, it’s probably time to think about installing new siding.
At Nu Look Home Design, our GreenLine® siding wraps your home in a protective layer of insulated foam that provides year-round defense against heating and cooling loss, and our polystyrene underlayment protects against water, mildew and mold. Check out our siding gallery to see all the amazing looks you can achieve with new vinyl siding.
Siding Repair and Cleaning
One of the benefits of vinyl siding is its ease of maintenance. In many cases, damaged pieces or sections can be replaced with new siding for a seamless siding repair. However, if your siding is faded by the sun or harsh weather, it may be impossible to match your existing vinyl with new pieces without seeing a noticeable difference in color in the patched areas. In these cases, many homeowners choose to replace all of their vinyl siding at once to achieve a uniform look that will last for decades.
But what if your siding is just dirty? In some situations, all it takes to bring vinyl back to its former glory is a thorough cleaning. If you have never cleaned your home’s vinyl siding, you have a couple options.
Cleaning Vinyl Siding Without a Pressure Washer
If you don’t own a pressure washer, don’t worry — it’s still possible to clean your home’s vinyl siding. The first step is to find a cleaning solution that won’t damage or fade your vinyl. If you decide to clean your siding without a pressure washer, always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for any warnings about chemicals or solutions to avoid. If you use a product or cleaning solution prohibited by the manufacturer, you can end up voiding any warranties.
In most cases, a mild bleach or vinegar solution is a safe choice for cleaning vinyl. If you use bleach, remember to dilute it with water and household laundry detergent before applying it to your home’s vinyl siding. In most cases, a mixture of one gallon of water, one quart of liquid bleach, two-thirds cup of powdered household cleaner and one-third cup of powdered or liquid laundry detergent is safe and won’t damage vinyl. However, before you apply any cleaning solution to your vinyl, test a small patch in an inconspicuous area.
If you decide to use vinegar, you can mix a 70:30 ratio (70% water and 30% vinegar) of water to vinegar, then add a half-cup of baking soda and one-quarter cup of water. This will create a paste with a gritty consistency, which will lift any stains and help make your vinyl sparkle. Apply the paste in a light coating, wait about 10 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with plain water.
Some homeowners also get good results using a basic mixture of one gallon of water and one-third cup powdered laundry detergent mixed thoroughly until it’s dissolved. This is a good solution if your home is surrounded by trees or landscaping that might get damaged by vinegar or bleach.
Regardless of which type of cleaning solution you use, it’s critical to make sure you take care when mixing the ingredients. It’s also important to be certain the mixture won’t stain, fade or damage your vinyl. Depending on the size of your home, this can be a big project. It goes without saying that you should only clean your vinyl if you can do so safely.
Pressure Washing Vinyl Siding
If you own a pressure washer or have the ability and resources to rent one, you can clean your vinyl siding with nothing more than water and elbow grease. However, it’s important to use care when it comes to the angle and direction of the spray — otherwise, you can accidentally spray water in between the vinyl pieces, causing moisture to seep behind the vinyl.
Keep these general tips in mind:
- Keep the Water Moving – Don’t allow the spray to focus on one spot. Instead, keep the sprayer or wand moving continuously to avoid damaging the vinyl.
- Stay at Eye Level – Always keep the pressure washer wand at eye level, not at an angle. This prevents water from going behind or underneath the vinyl. Be especially careful around windows and doors, where the vinyl has been cut to fit around openings.
- Don’t Use Abrasives – Avoid things like hard-bristled brushes and steel wool, as these can scratch and damage vinyl.
Pressure washing vinyl may seem like an easy job, but it’s very important to avoid getting water behind and underneath the siding. If you’re worried about moisture damage, it’s best to hire a professional.
It’s also important to make safety a top priority. If you’re uneasy about pressure washing your siding on your own, you can find a pro to do the job for you. Professional pressure washing companies have the gear, experience and safety equipment to do the job without getting hurt. Weigh the risks — and your abilities — carefully before deciding to go it alone. The do-it-yourself route might save you a little money, but it’s not worth risking your health.
Call Nu Look Today to Get 50% Off New Vinyl Siding Materials
New vinyl siding can completely transform the look of your home. Call Nu Look Home Design today to learn how you can get 50% off all siding materials. You can reach us at (800) 279-5300.