Buying A Home? 2 Signs That Siding Has Issues

When you start looking at houses with your real estate agent, it isn't always easy to spot big problems. After living in an apartment for several years, you might be more excited about a coat closet and having your own bathroom than you are about the exterior façade of your home. Unfortunately, overlooking issues can cause a lot of trouble later. Here are two signs that your vinyl siding has issues, and how a professional can correct the problem.

1: Warping or Buckling

When you look at the home, does the siding look straight and true? One of the most common issues with vinyl siding is warping or buckling. Unfortunately, it is also one of the easiest issues to miss, especially if you visit the home in the evening. Here are a few things that can cause this unsightly phenomenon:

  • Panels Nailed Too Tightly: Because vinyl siding contracts and expands slightly when the temperature changes, it can become buckled over time if it is nailed to the house too tightly. During installation, siding contractors should leave between 1/32 and 1/16 of an inch between the nail head and the home exterior to allow for expansion.
  • Sun Damage: Unfortunately, improper installation isn't the only thing that can destroy siding. If your home has exterior walls that face west, that heat can warp or melt the siding over time. Unfortunately, sun-damaged siding might need to be completely replaced.
  • Cheap Siding: The thicker the vinyl siding, the less susceptible it is to bending and warping. If the homebuilder used a cheap, builder-grade siding, you might end up with more warping problems. If you spot cheap siding, mention the issue to the seller to see if they will lower the price.

To spot warped siding, try to visit the home during the day, when sunlight would reflect strangely off of bent panels. Look at the home from different angles to find issues. If you spot problems, hire a professional home inspector to look for moisture damage underneath the panels. 

2: Dents and Cracks

What will you do if you love a home, but the exterior is covered with dented and cracked siding? If the home of your dreams is located in an area prone to severe weather, the vinyl siding may have sustained a lot of damage. As hail hits siding, the impact can be too much for those vinyl panels to bear. Although it isn't possible to pop out dents and repair cracked panels, you might be able to update your new home and fend off future damage by having it replaced with foam backed vinyl siding.

Unlike traditional vinyl siding, which generally has a gap between the vinyl and the exterior of the home, foam-backed siding has a layer of thick foam behind the façade to protect the home from impact. To top it off, that layer of foam can also help to insulate your home, which can cut down your heating and cooling bills.

Having foam backed siding professionally installed typically costs between $3.95 and $7.20 per square foot, but since it can cut other costs, it might pay for itself over time. Foam backed siding also has a great return on investment. Since new siding gives your home a fresh look and reduces energy expenses, installing foam-backed siding could yield as much as an 80% return on your investment.  

Being able to recognize siding problems might help you to negotiate repair or replacement costs with the sellers, so you don't end up footing the bill for an existing issue. If you notice warping, cracks, or dents, have your home inspected thoroughly, and talk with your real estate agent about asking for a lower sales price.