A homeowner’s guide to roofing and siding
The roofing and exterior siding are some of the most important parts of your home. These exterior elements not only contribute to your home’s curb appeal, but they also play a critical role in protecting your home from weather conditions. Your roof and siding keep out the wind, rain and snow — but in the process, they can take a tremendous beating.
As a homeowner, you should understand the materials used in your roofing and siding, how they do their jobs and what you can do to keep them clean and well-maintained. Knowing when to replace them can help you keep your home in peak condition.
In this article, we’ll walk you through this important part of home improvement and what you need to know about your home’s exterior.
The importance of siding
Your siding protects your home and everything inside it. It helps keep out the harsh weather and the inside of your home remains comfortable and welcoming. It also provides an extra layer of protection between you and the insects, dirt and moisture found outside.
If you don’t maintain your siding and allow it to fall into disrepair, the damage can spread far beyond the exterior of the home. Water will be able to get into the frame of the home, possibly leading to wood rot and even the growth of mold. This can weaken the home and lead to costly and extensive repairs by the time you discover the problem.
Poor siding can also make it easier for wind and cooler temperatures to seep through, forcing your heating system to work even harder to keep your home comfortable. This can result in higher energy bills.
Knowing how to take care of your siding and when to get new siding can help you keep problems from arising at the start, control your costs and minimize potential damage.
What is siding made of?
When looking at your siding installation options, there are a few main options from which you can choose. We’ll discuss these options and what might make them the best choice for you. You can further discuss the siding replacement with a professional siding contractor.
Vinyl siding is a more affordable option compared to some others. The material also doesn’t require as much maintenance as other materials and will last for several decades. Vinyl siding has also seen drastic improvements in its appearance over the years, with a variety of textures and styles available.
Many people have also taken an interest in a type of vinyl siding known as insulated siding. This option combines the same materials as vinyl siding with an additional layer of insulated foam, helping increase the energy efficiency of your home.
Metal siding offers an alluring option for many people. Many homeowners find metal options also have a modest starting price point and are low maintenance. However, metal siding can get dented, so you’ll want to consider this risk when installing it.
Fiber cement siding
This type of siding is designed to look like wood while avoiding insect damage and reducing the risk of rot compared to natural wood. While this type of siding is a bit more expensive compared to other options, it’s low maintenance and will last for a long time.
Some homeowners elect to go with natural wood siding, which can come in a variety of textures and styles. For example, you can get styles ranging from wood panels to shingles for the sides of your home. To protect the wood and help it keep out the elements, you’ll need to finish it with a stain or a similar protective layer. You’ll also want to make sure your home has proper ventilation, so moisture doesn’t build up around the siding.
How to clean your siding
Once you have your siding installed, take the time to keep it clean and well-maintained so it will last for years to come. Since your siding has no protection from the elements, clean it regularly to help get rid of dirt, insects, stains and even mold or mildew.
To start your cleaning project, gather a few materials:
- A cleaning solution, such as a mixture of vinegar and water or one cup of bleach per gallon of water
- A soft-bristled brush or a cloth
- A power washer (if your siding type can handle it)
To help you keep your siding clean, give it a good scrubbing at least once a year. If you find your home is prone to building up dirt and grime, you may want to increase your frequency.
Gather your brush or cloth and cleaning solution and start by brushing the siding around all sides of the home. In particular, pay close attention to areas of the home with more shade, as they’ll be more prone to developing mold or mildew. Make sure you use a soft brush or a cloth to avoid damaging the siding.
You can also dispel dirt and grime buildup with a power washer if the manufacturer of your siding recommends it. You can speak with the installers when you put in the siding to make sure you know what will and won’t work for your particular siding. For example, vinyl siding generally works fine with a power washer. The key to giving the siding a quality washing lies in aiming the flow of water straight rather than up, as you don’t want to force any water in between the panels of the siding.
How often should you replace your siding?
Different types of siding will have different life spans, although they should last for several years. For example, you can generally expect vinyl siding to last for about 10 to 20 years. The manufacturer or the professionals putting in your siding can give you a more precise estimate regarding how long you can expect the siding to last.
In addition to paying attention to the projected life span of the siding, you also want to watch for signs the siding has started to break down or deteriorate. You might notice areas where moisture has seeped past the siding, holes in the material or between panels or widespread fading.
When checking for signs of aging or damage to the exterior, consider the interior of the siding. If you notice your heating and cooling bills have suddenly increased without explanation, your HVAC system might have to work harder to maintain the desired temperature because of poorer insulation caused by damaged siding.
Paying attention to your siding can help you catch problems before they develop into larger and more expensive challenges. Besides carefully inspecting your siding, though, you also need to pay close attention to your roof.
Types of home roofing
It's easy to overlook the roof and the importance of regular maintenance since you can’t easily get a close look. However, understanding your roof can help you take care of this critical part of your home and protect your interior.
As you take care of your roof, you may find you need a roof replacement. In this situation, you have a few different roofing options, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. If you want to get a new roof, discuss this with a roofing company. A roofing contractor can advise you on the options best suited to your needs.
Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing choices for homeowners. They offer straightforward installation and have a life expectancy exceeding 15 years. These shingles also offer decent durability and can work in a range of climates.
A metal roof can come in a few designs, from metal shingles to panels. Homeowners in climates with a higher risk of wildfires appreciate metal roofing since it’s fireproof. The material also encourages snow to slide off the roof, which can be an added benefit for homes in areas likely to get large amounts of snowfall. However, this roofing option often costs a bit more per square foot compared to shingles and requires specific installation. However, once installed, the roof can last for several decades.
Slate shingles have one incredible advantage over other options — their longevity. Some well-maintained slate roofs can last easily over 100 years. The roof is expensive to install and requires specialized skills for the installation, but it works great for those who want to choose one roof and not worry about it again.
Clay tiles, like slate shingles, run more expensive than other options. However, they can also last longer than other options. Clay specifically works well in hot or salty climates.
People who live in moderate climates, without too much moisture, may find wood tiles an appealing option. These tiles don’t last as long as other options, but many homeowners appreciate the look.
Roof maintenance tips
Once the roofers have put on your new roof, you want to make sure you take care of it so it will last as long as possible. Here are some ideas to help your roof look its best and stay in peak condition.
- Give your roof a regular inspection. Each season, give your roof a quality look-over for signs of damage. Any signs of cracked or missing tiles should be fixed as quickly as possible to prevent problems underneath the roof, such as water seeping in. You can work with a roof repair professional to get your roof repaired properly.
- Clean out debris. Make sure to keep the gutters clean and clean off fallen leaves, sticks and similar debris to allow water to freely leave the roof.
- Stay on top of caulking and flashing as needed, particularly around the chimney. Make sure these important parts of your roof receive the updating and maintenance they need to keep water out and ensure the roof remains in peak condition.
Do you need to wash your roof?
Roofs might occasionally need cleaning, particularly if you notice a buildup of any type of moss, mold or algae. These can grow when too much moisture sits on the roof and can weaken shingles such as asphalt shingles.
We recommend working with a professional to clean the roof for safety reasons. If your seasonal inspections of the roof note anything growing, give the professionals a call and see how they can help.
How often should you replace roofing on your home?
How often you need to replace your roof will depend on the roofing materials, the quality of the workmanship when it was installed and how much you take care of it. Cheap roofing options will require more maintenance and will have to be replaced more frequently than more expensive options.
When you have your roof installed, speak to the professionals to learn about the expected life span of your roof and when you should start thinking about replacing it. Most roofing types, however, should last at least 20 years, excluding extreme weather or other situations.
Is roofing or siding more expensive?
Siding and roofing will vary considerably in price depending on a variety of factors, including:
- The material you ended up purchasing
- How much area you have to cover
- Whether you install it yourself or hire professionals to help you
Protect your home from costly repair bills with Cinch
Taking care of your siding and roofing can help you protect your home from damage and keep it more comfortable. A home protection plan from Cinch Home Services can also help you protect your home.
Although roofing and siding aren’t covered, we offer warranty plans to help pay for the repair or replacement due to normal wear and tear of covered major appliances and built-in systems. And with an excellent rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and over 40 years of experience, you can trust Cinch to get your home up and running fast. Request a free quote today.