When it comes to determining if your home's siding needs repairing or replacing, understanding the type of material your house is constructed with is crucial. Two decades ago, there were over 20 siding manufacturers in North America; that number has since dwindled to less than 10 due to various mergers and closures. This reduction poses an important question for homeowners: Is the siding material still available on the market?
Identifying the availability of your siding material can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be. An easy solution is to consult a qualified siding contractor. It's not uncommon for homeowners to be misinformed about the availability of their siding due to a contractor's unfamiliarity with the specific product. In reality, the siding might still be manufactured and quite common; it just may not be something the contractor regularly works with.
The simplest way to ascertain if your siding can be repaired is to utilize companies that specialize in identifying siding materials, such as ITEL. By submitting a 12-inch sample and paying around a hundred dollars, you can receive a report detailing the closest match for your siding in terms of shape, size, texture, and color. This will clarify if you can source the same product for repair, which is especially crucial if only certain areas of your siding are damaged.
Different materials react differently to damage. For instance, vinyl siding tends to crack, whereas fiber cement and wood may deteriorate or absorb moisture. A skilled contractor should be able to patch damaged panels of fiber cement and composite materials, as they are designed to be repairable. The same goes for vinyl siding; a skilled professional can use specialized tools to unlink a damaged panel and replace it, provided the material is still available.
However, aluminum siding presents a unique challenge. Damage typically occurs close to the ground level due to accidental impacts from lawn maintenance or weed whackers. Aluminum siding is tricky to repair because the panels are interconnected, and any modification tends to leave permanent marks. In such situations, if patching isn't feasible, you might need to replace the entire section, which often requires determining material availability, possibly through ITEL.
An additional consideration is whether the house wrap, which is critical for moisture protection, can be installed or brought up to code during the repair process. The siding acts as a secondary, protective barrier; the majority of water protection comes from the house wrap beneath.
Ultimately, you can either take the initiative to obtain samples and submit them for analysis or hire a storm restoration contractor to evaluate your siding and its market availability. Whichever route you choose, it's essential to address siding issues promptly to maintain your home's structural integrity and aesthetic appeal.