What's wrong with my vinyl siding?

What's wrong with my vinyl siding?

Why did you choose vinyl siding for your home? A certain style or color may have caught your eye, but the cladding's low-maintenance requirements probably played a part in the decision, as well. Vinyl has a well-deserved reputation for requiring little upkeep. It may be the ideal exterior veneer for homeowners who think summer weekends should be spent at the pool rather than climbing a ladder.

However, even vinyl siding can sometimes need repairs. Fortunately, most issues can be corrected fairly easily if you know what's causing the problem.

Common vinyl siding issues and their repairs

Most vinyl siding manufactures warrant problems with their products for a period of time, but they rarely cover installation or structure issues. Here are a few common vinyl siding problems and how they can be repaired:

  • Buckling -- All vinyl siding expands and contracts as the outside temperature changes. If the installer nailed the panels so tightly that movement is restricted or there is improper spacing, the result can be buckled siding. The issue can usually be remedied by loosening the fasteners on the problem panels. In some cases a panel may need to have its length trimmed as well.
  • Bulges -- Just about all types of siding conform to the surface upon which they're adhered. However, vinyl isn't quite as good at hiding defects in that surface as other veneers such as wood or fiber cement -- even thicker gauge or insulated panels can show problems that exist in the structure being covered. If there's a bulge in your vinyl siding and there isn't any give when you push in on the panel, chances are the structure is the problem. Loose sheathing and bowed or broken wood studs can create unsightly bulges. The solution: remove the siding and make the structural repair.
  • Melting -- Even the most torrid heat wave shouldn't cause your home's vinyl siding to melt. If you have panels that appear to have suffered this fate, look for a source of high heat such as a barbecue grill or recent backyard fire. Both can cause panels to become misshapen if the flames get too close. Homeowners who live in a subdivision where the houses are close may have another suspect: their neighbor's windows. Some window manufacturers now have windows that are so effective at reflecting away the sun's rays that they can melt items in close proximity -- including your siding. The only way to repair melted vinyl panels is to replace them. However, if you suspect your neighbor's windows, planting a few shade trees before you make repairs may be a good idea.

All of these vinyl siding repairs can be done by most DIYers. However, if you'd rather spend your weekend at the pool, don't hesitate to call an experienced siding contractor.

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