Welcome back! In last week’s episode, we talked about landscaping and drainage. This week we’re going to look at siding. Siding plays an important role in protecting a home from the elements. Siding is available in a variety of materials. We’ll look at vinly, aluminum, and wood siding today. Different types of siding have different installation requirements and aging characteristics. Some types of siding will degrade more quickly than others. When we’re inspecting, we pay particular attention to the overall condition of the siding as well as some of the particulars of the installation.

 From the very first phone call, Steve was very professional, even when we had to reschedule at the last minute because our kids were sick.

Vinyl siding first appeared around the 1950s and has remained relatively popular. Vinyl siding, as is true with each type of siding, has its own benefits and drawbacks. Vinyl is great because it’s durable, is resistant to fading, doesn’t rust, and is dent resistant. Vinyl in general is relatively low maintenance. Vinyl is not particularly well suited for extreme weather conditions. In extreme heat, it can melt and warp. In extreme cold, vinly is susceptible to cracking and chipping. Improper installation of vinyl siding can lead to water being trapped behind the siding which can lead to water damage.

When inspecting vinyl siding, we’ll look for ripples in the siding which are usually due to attaching the fasteners through the face of the siding rather than using the nail hem. Another issue we’ll see is connecting the fasteners too tightly to the nail hem, which will be problematic when the siding expands and contracts due with changes in the weather. We also want to see staggared joints which helps prevent wind-driven rain from getting behind the siding. Staggared joints are usually preferred aethestically as well.

Aluminum Siding

Research at InterNACHI suggests new aluminum siding installations are on the decline, but we still see quite a bit of it in the field. Aluminum first appeared in the 1940s or so. The resource-intensive production process of aluminum siding has probably played a role in its decline.

For all of its benefits, aluminum is declining in popularity. Aluminum siding can dent, and the sound of rain or hail hitting the siding can be quite loud in the home. While aluminum can be painted any color, it may need to be repainted as often as every five years. The repainting process can actually require removal of the siding.Aluminum siding is fairly easy to distinguish from wood or vinyl siding, but it can be a bit more challenging to distinguish from steel. Aluminum siding should not be in contact with the ground. Since aluminum siding can conduct electricity, some municipalities will require the siding be grounded.Wood SidingWood siding has been in use for a very long time. Newer types of siding, like aluminum and vinyl, have some advantages over wood in terms of durability and weather resistance, but wood siding remains very popular. Wood siding has several types including clapboard, plank, plywood, shingles or shake, solid lumber, and hardboard.As we saw with vinyl and aluminum siding, wood siding has its own pros and cons. Wood siding can actually increase the resale value of a home. Wood siding is very versatile in terms of styles and its ability to be painted or stained in any color. Wood siding can also be easier to repair in some cases.

Probably the biggest disadvantage of wood siding is its durability. Wood is susciptible to rot. Wood will degrade faster than metal or synthetic materials like aluminum and vinyl. Wood siding can be damaged by woodpeckers, termites, and othe wildlife. Wood siding is also relatively expensive when compared to aluminum and vinyl.When inspecting wood siding, we will see defects along the lines of cupping, curling, cracking, and splitting. We’ll also look for evidence of damage from wildlife like termites and woodpeckers. The fasteners used in the installation are important. Specific fasteners should be used for the face and the casing. We’ll also see buckling or cracking when the siding is attached in such a way that doesn’t provide for the natural expansion and contraction of the material.Thanks for joining us this week. We’ll be back next week with Episode 3. We’ll be diving into decks on residential structures. Decks are great for enjoying the weather and entertaining guests.