What is the best way to repair damaged house siding?

Answered by Brett ~ June 13, 2011 ~ No Comments

I bought a house that has some siding damage. The bottom course of lap siding was touching the dirt for a while and needs to be replaced. Any advice for how to repair the lower siding without residing the whole house?

John R. ~ Burlington, VT

Brett Kulina

John, removing and replacing the bottom course of siding from your house should be fairly straightforward.

The first thing that you need to do is remove the nails that fasten the damaged siding board to the exterior wall. If you cannot find the nail heads because they are hidden by wood putty or paint, you can gently pry the board loose, working from the bottom of the board and moving down its length as you try to figure out where the nails are located. If the damaged piece of siding is blind-nailed, which means that the nail heads are hidden beneath the bottom edge of the siding board directly above it, you will need to cut the nails with a Sawz-All or hack saw blade. To do this, gently pry loose the second course of siding, lifting it about a half inch off of the side of your house. This will give you some room to cut the nails and allow you to install the new piece of siding.

After you have removed the damaged piece of siding from your home, inspect the underlying wall sheathing for any signs of water damage or rot. If the moisture from the ground has damaged the siding, then there is a good chance that water may have also penetrated underneath the siding, possibly damaging the sheathing, wall framing, or sill plate. Hopefully you will not have to deal with any extensive water damage, but keep in mind that any rotten wood found within the wall should be replaced. If the underlying wood or wall insulation is just wet, then let everything dry out completely before covering it up with the new piece of siding.

This type of exterior damage can be prevented by ensuring that there are at least 6 inches of space between the bottom edge of the home's siding and the finished ground level. The area around your home should also have positive drainage for rain water, which means that the grade slopes away from the home's foundation, dropping at least a few inches within the first six feet. You can also help avoid future siding damage by removing any trees or bushes that are growing against your home's foundation and by checking that the home's gutters and downspouts are protecting your home's siding by moving water away from the house.

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