Replacing a home’s siding may not be at the top of most homeowner’s to-do lists. But perhaps it should be.

After all, siding does wear out. It cracks. It breaks. It gets old. Eventually it begins to leak; and when that happens it may already be too late to prevent other major and potentially expensive repairs.

But how does a homeowner know when a home needs new siding? Here are ten sure-fire signs that a home’s siding needs attention before potentially catastrophic damage takes place.

  1. The Home Needs Frequent Painting
    • If a home needs frequent painting, say once every five or six years, that is a good sign that something is wrong with the current siding. Good home siding should keep its shape and keep its color for at least 8-10 years, if not longer.
  2. High Heating and Cooling Bills
    • When a home’s heating or cooling costs go through the roof, that can be a sure sign that a home is in need of new siding. Naturally it is important to rule out a bad or leaking roof or lack of attic insulation as the culprit, but heating or cooling costs that are not in line with those of neighbors with similar structures is an indication that something is seriously flawed with a home’s exterior wall insulation.
  3. Rotting or Warping
    • Take some time to do a thorough visual inspection of a home’s siding. If the layer under a home’s siding has begun to rot or become soft, that is a sure sign that the home’s siding is due for immediate replacement.
  4. Cracked or Loose Siding
    • If only one or two boards are cracked or have come loose after a storm, this may not be cause for great alarm. If large sections of the siding show signs of cracking, or if large numbers of siding pieces are loose, this can indicate severe problems. In any event, cracked, broken, or loose pieces of siding must be removed and replaced. Otherwise, water may seep behind those pieces of siding and potentially cause severe and expensive problems down the line.
  5. Peeling Paint or Loose Wallpaper Inside the Home
    • It may not be immediately obvious to all homeowners, but peeling paint or wallpaper that is pulling away from a wall inside of a home can be symptomatic of faulty siding. Bad siding allows moisture to seep its way underneath the siding where it can percolate through wallboard and eventually cause significant damage to the interior walls of a home.
  6. Fungus, Mold, or Mildew
    • Any type of growth such as fungus, mold, or mildew on a home’s siding, especially at or near seams in the siding, may indicate that water is penetrating it and being held inside the wall, where it is slowly released once again, causing unwanted growth. While not all signs of fungus, mold, or mildew on siding is a cause for alarm, such growth should be cause to investigate further.
  7. Severely Faded Siding
    • Why should color fading be a cause for concern over a home’s siding? Because nothing lasts forever, and that includes siding. All siding has a life expectancy. Most siding is formulated to hold its color for only as long as the rating of the siding itself. If siding is so old that the color has faded, then that should tell the homeowner that the effective waterproofing of the siding may have also run its course.
  8. Bubbles in the Siding
    • One almost certain sign that a home needs new siding is the presence of bubbles just under the surface of the siding. Bubbles are an almost certain indication that water has become trapped. Any indication of water trapped on or under the siding is an immediate red flag. The one thing that siding is meant to do is to keep moisture away from the walls under the siding.
  9. Holes in the Siding
    • Even small holes in a home’s siding can be a major cause for concern. Generally speaking, holes in siding are caused by insects. If insects have gotten into or through the siding, they can not only cause trouble on their own, but the holes they make also allow rain and snow to get into and, eventually, underneath the siding—and that can mark the beginning of some very costly repair work.
  10. Dry Rot
    • Tapping on siding with the handle of a screwdriver can reveal dry rot problems before they become noticeable to the naked eye. Dry rot begins below the surface of the siding and eats away the main body of the siding, basically leaving just the top layer of the siding intact. It is possible for the siding to look quite good even when the bulk of the material has rotted away.