Water is a silent enemy to your home's siding and can cause significant harm to your home’s structure. Early detection is important to minimize water damage and save you time & money on costly repairs.
Let’s explore the various signs of water-damaged siding and what you can do to protect your home.
What causes siding water damage?
Your home's siding is like a shield that protects your house from various elements but can start to take damage over time.
Let's look at the main culprits that cause water damage to your siding:
- Weather: Weather is one of the biggest factors that causes water-damaged siding. Torrential rains, snow, and ice can find their way into cracks or gaps in the siding. Even the wind can contribute since it can drive rainwater behind the siding.
- Wildlife: It might surprise you, but wildlife can also contribute to siding water damage. Birds, squirrels, and other critters create holes in the siding creating an entry point for water. These small openings can lead to significant damage if not addressed.
- Moisture: Moisture is a major cause of water damage to siding. It can come from sources like sprinklers placed too close to the house or high humidity levels. If moisture isn't managed well, it will lead to issues like rot, mold, and mildew.
Signs of Water-Damaged Siding
Water damage can be a silent destroyer of your home's exterior, so here are some signs you should look out for:
Rotting wood siding is when the wood becomes soft and crumbles easily. It’s a clear sign of prolonged water exposure.
Mold growth on your siding is a serious concern. Not only does it indicate water damage, but it can also cause health issues like allergies and respiratory problems.
One of the earliest signs of water damage is peeling exterior paint. This usually happens when water seeps behind the siding, causing the paint to lose its adhesion.
If you notice the nails on your siding are popping out, sinking in, or rusty, this could indicate water has gotten behind the siding boards.
Cracks in panels, windowsills, and soft window trims are often overlooked. These are not only a possible sign of water damage, but they allow more water to seep into your home.
Bubbling or warping
Bubbling or warping on your siding boards is a clear sign of water damage. This happens when water seeps behind the siding, gets trapped, and warps the material.
Water stains are another tell-tale sign of water damage. They typically appear as dark, discolored patches on your siding and indicate water has been in contact with your siding for an extended period.
Fading is often overlooked as a sign of water damage, but it can indicate long-term exposure to moisture. As your siding ages, you’ll notice a change in the color and brightness of the panels. This often signals a decline in the siding's waterproof abilities.
The Consequences of Ignoring Water Damage
Ignoring water damage can lead to costly and potentially dangerous consequences. Here are some risks you expose your home and family to if you overlook signs of water damage:
- Structural damage: Water seeping into your siding can rot the wood, compromising the structural integrity of your home. This can lead to more serious problems like collapsed walls or a sagging roof.
- Pest infestation: Insects such as termites and carpenter ants are attracted to damp wood and can cause further damage to your home. Rodents might also find their way into your home through cracks and gaps caused by water damage.
- Increased repair costs: Small issues that could have been fixed easily can turn into major problems if left unattended.
- Interior damage: Water seeping behind the siding can affect the interior walls, ceilings, and floors. This can result in the discoloration of walls, the warping of flooring, and even the collapse of ceilings.
- Health risks: Damp environments are ideal for the growth of mold and mildew. Prolonged exposure to these fungi can lead to respiratory issues, allergies, and asthma.
- Increased energy bills: Water-damaged siding can significantly compromise the insulation of your home. This means your heating system will have to work harder during the winter, and your air conditioning will have to put in more effort during the summer.
- Foundation damage: Finally – and perhaps most seriously – water leakage can extend to the foundation of your house. This can cause cracks in the foundation and weaken the overall structural integrity of your home.
Taking prompt action can save you from facing significant repair costs in the future and protect you, your family, and your home.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover water damage to siding?
Home insurance coverage for water-damaged siding can vary depending on the policy and the cause of the damage.
Generally, standard homeowners insurance policies may cover water damage to siding if it is caused by a covered event like:
- Storms and natural disasters: Damage caused by wind, hail, or a fallen tree during a storm is typically covered.
- Vandalism: If the siding is damaged due to vandalism, insurance usually covers the repairs.
- Accidental discharge of water: Sudden water discharge from a plumbing system can be covered, but this generally pertains to water damage inside the house.
However, there are several scenarios where water damage to siding may not be covered:
- Wear and tear: Gradual damage due to aging, lack of maintenance, or general wear and tear is typically not covered.
- Negligence: If the damage results from failure to maintain the property, it's usually not covered.
- Flood damage: Standard policies often exclude flood damage. A separate flood insurance policy would be required for coverage.
- Specific exclusions: Some policies have specific exclusions for certain types of water damage, so it's important to read the policy carefully.
If you have questions or concerns about your homeowner’s insurance coverage, review your policy or consult your insurance agent.
Prevention and Maintenance Tips
Since your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the replacement of water-damaged siding, regular inspection and maintenance of your home's exterior is important. Plus, it’s far less costly and disruptive than major repairs.
Here are some tips on how to prevent water damage to your siding:
Inspect your siding for signs of water damage to help you catch issues early. Look for the signs mentioned above and address any you see as soon as you can.
Ensure proper caulking
Keep the caulking around your windows and doors intact to prevent water from seeping behind your siding. Check the caulking regularly and replace it if it's cracked or missing.
Clean your siding to prevent water damage. Dirt, debris, and organic growth like algae or moss retain moisture. Clearing it away helps keep moisture away from your home and keeps your siding in good condition.
Avoid sprinkler contact
Position your lawn sprinklers so they don't directly hit your siding. Constant exposure to water from your sprinklers will lead to damage over time.
Clean out your gutters regularly (especially during the fall) and inspect them seasonally & after severe weather. Clogged gutters and downspouts will allow water to overflow and seep behind your siding or pool around your home.
Address minor damages or issues promptly before they turn into major problems. Being proactive will save you significant time and money in the long run.
Consider having a professional inspection periodically – especially after severe weather. Professionals can identify and address any hidden damage you may not see.
Furthermore, if you're not comfortable performing tasks like cleaning gutters, checking seals, or replacing caulk, it's safer and more effective to hire professionals. They have the training and equipment to carry out these tasks safely and effectively.
Safeguarding Your Home Against Siding Water Damage
Remember, your home's siding is more than just an aesthetic feature – it's a crucial barrier that protects your home.
By taking steps to protect and maintain your siding – like installing quality gutters from Pacific Gutter Company – you can avoid water damage and ensure your home remains a safe and comfortable space for years to come.