Vinyl Siding Problems and Do-it-Yourself Solutions

You ordered the new vinyl siding, the installer did the work, and now it looks wonderful. But once the contractor leaves, that vinyl siding is in your hands. What happens if something goes wrong? It is important to fix vinyl siding problems quickly to prevent further damage. But that’s hard to do when you don’t know where to begin.

Replacing vinyl siding. Image credit: DIYNetwork

When vinyl siding has a big ‘oops’

These common vinyl siding problems could happen to you. Fortunately, there are easy do-it-yourself solutions to fix them. You will need to keep the following items handy:

  1. Extra pieces of siding (your contractor will likely leave several pieces for you when the job is done)
  2. Siding “zip” tool
  3. Claw hammer
  4. Pry bar
  5. Tin snips
  6. Galvanized nails

Though the procedure will be different depending upon the type of siding and the way it locks together, these tools will likely come in handy. For exact instructions to remove siding pieces, consult the manufacturer. There are often manuals online that will explain how to install a particular type of siding.

These directions are very general, but will give you an idea of what you are getting into with the three most common types of repair:

Water Damage

Sometimes water gets blown underneath vinyl siding, often after a series of fierce storms. Sometimes water will drip from an area of the roof and gradually seep underneath the siding, or there might be a defect in the installation that allows water in. Unfortunately, when you notice water damage on your vinyl siding, chances are the problem is significant underneath.

Start by removing the sections of vinyl siding that are damaged and inspect the underside. In the case of water damage, it is usually only the last few rows that have the problem. Before you replace the siding, it is vital to find the source of the leak; otherwise, you are simply patching over an area that will cause further issues. If the house underneath the siding has water damage, then it is time to call in an expert.

Impact Damage

This is much easier to fix and can often be done in just a few minutes. Start by removing the damaged piece of vinyl siding. Use one of your extra pieces, cut to the proper length, to fill in the gap. The removal can be done with a zip tool to detach the siding from the pieces around it, and the claw hammer can remove the nails that hold it in place. Replacing the piece is a matter of nailing it down in the same spot and using the zip tool to lock the pieces together. Remember to check your manufacturer’s information in order to install the new piece in the proper manner.

Mold and discoloration

This issue might not require removing the siding, but it will require a thorough cleaning. Mold can often grow on areas that don’t get much sunlight, and can leave your siding looking green and sickly. A good scrubbing with a bleach solution can often fix the problem, as can some commercial cleaners made for this very problem.

Vinyl siding colors will sometimes fade, but they should fade rather evenly. Discoloration is another story, as it is usually only a few pieces. Discoloration might be resolved by replacing the piece; however, keep in mind that the discoloration might be on a larger section than you think, and that new piece might stand out like a sore thumb. In that case, you might want to consider replacing all the siding on that end of the house in order to get a more uniform look.

Walk around your house once a month or so to check the condition of your vinyl siding. Look for cracks, discoloration, signs of water damage and other issues that could mean a problem with the siding. Be especially careful to check the siding after heavy storms that include wind and hail.

If you find that you can’t repair the siding on your own, don’t hesitate to call the contractor who handled your vinyl siding installation. Though there will be an additional cost for their time and labor, it could be a small price to pay to have your house looking great again.



About Shannon Dauphin

Shannon Dauphin has written 13 posts in this blog.

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.


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