Unless you work as a professional builder or home inspector, it isn't always easy to detect serious issues with your home's exterior. You might write off strange-looking siding as a simple quirk and figure that you can fix it on your own later. Unfortunately, if you buy a home with big siding problems, you might be looking at a full-fledged replacement a few months down the road. Here are two signs something is wrong with that siding, and how it will have to be repaired:
1: It Looks Melted
Does that siding look droopy, wavy, or melted? Believe it or not, siding has a relatively low melting point of around 160-165°F. Although you won't have to worry about the weather getting that warm, heat can actually build underneath those panels—especially on the sides of the house that face the afternoon sun. Reflections from nearby windows can melt siding too. If you have windows that are treated with UV reflecting films, that reflected light can act as a magnifying glass, which can cause problems for siding.
Once siding is melted, it will have to be replaced. However, professional siding installers can track down a matching color, and interweave new planks in with the older materials. When they are done repairing the problem, you might never know that there was an issue in the first place.
2: It Has Gaps Or Doesn't Lay Flat
Siding installation mistakes can create problems too. Vinyl siding expands and contracts slightly according to the temperature outside. Unfortunately, if planks are nailed down too tightly, they can bend against the areas where they are attached, which can make the planks look warped and puckered. Because vinyl siding changes over time, installers also need to overlap the ends of the panels. If no overlap is created, ambient temperature changes can create large gaps between the panels.
Fortunately, you can resolve both of these problems by having a professional remove the panels and attach them the right way. To avoid problems, panels should be overlapped and there should be about 1/16ths of an inch between the nail head and the siding. An expert can use a siding removal tool to take down the planks, and then reinstall them properly. Because vinyl siding repair requires skill, work with someone who has a lot of experience with the materials.
By recognizing vinyl siding problems, you might be able to negotiate a lower sales price or understand what to ask the sellers to fix.