Other Siding Considerations

Many homeowners experience serious problems with wood-composite siding only a short time after installation. When this siding was introduced in the 1980s, manufacturers predicted it would last much longer than it has. In some cases, it was even warranted for as long as 40 years.

Homeowners with cracking, crumbling, or buckling Masonite or wood-composite siding may be able to make a claim against the manufacturer. For information about making a claim, contact the siding manufacturer. It may be possible to identify the manufacturer by markings on the back surface of the siding. Unfortunately, many homeowners do not recoup enough money to cover the full cost of replacement.

Stripping. Stripping is the process of tearing off the old siding. It may not always be necessary to strip the old siding before installing the new. As long as the old siding is not rotting, new vinyl siding can be put on top of it. In this case, the old siding provides added insulation. Some contractors may also choose to install a layer of foam between the old and new siding. However, if a portion of old siding is rotting, it is often easier and more cost effective to replace only the rotting portion of the old siding before putting up the new siding.

Trim. While attaching long, horizontal pieces of siding to the wall is relatively easy, correctly installing the trim on corners, window casings, and overhangs is not. On quality jobs, pieces and trim will be straight, properly aligned, and neat. Since putting siding on a home is a large investment, homeowners should educate themselves about the quality offered by various contractors. A good way to do this is to look at one or more of the jobs completed by potential companies and to pay close attention to the jobs’ smaller details, like the trim.

Cutting corners. Siding installers can cut corners in several ways. One way is to use scrap pieces. Vinyl siding and fiber cement siding are usually manufactured in 12-foot-long pieces. When an area of the wall requires fewer than 12 feet of siding (for example, between two windows), only one piece of siding should be used. In other words, there should not be a seam or a joint in that area. Some companies cut corners by fitting together pieces of scrap to fill these areas. However, seams or other breaks in the siding should be kept to the minimum necessary, as they may allow water to enter the home, resulting in mold or rot.