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Wood Siding Repair/Replacement: Cost, Options, How To

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  • What are some things that will immediately catch the attention of anyone looking at a house?

    Most likely, you would mention its overall theme or appearance, the paint color, anything that looks weird or extraordinary, an attention-grabbing detail such as a door, or even the landscaping.

    But among all these, nothing catches the eye of anyone more than any obvious flaw.

    It may be broken windows, doors standing because of a single hinge that holds them in place, rusty gates, or any rotting wood structure.

    We don’t realize it but we tend to notice any flaws present in a home immediately before anything else.

    Many homeowners are guilty of neglecting the condition of some components of their home that seem to serve no purpose other than to make it look pretty. And, wood siding are one of them.

    Looking around, chances are you would see at least one home that has a rotted siding present. Eyesores, right?

    If the thought of people seeing your damaged siding does not convince you to get it fixed asap, will the fact that it will soon spread and affect the other boards or panels currently in perfect condition, which will cost a whole lot more to fix, convince you otherwise?

    If so, this piece is for you. Among the things we will talk about are how you can determine if it is the right time to replace them, various repair methods, and the cost of doing so.

    Signs Your Siding Needs to Be Replaced

    cedar siding

    A typical homeowner will fix any home interior issues faster than exterior ones. This is the reason why many get surprised to see pristine interiors in a house that seems to be falling apart on the outside.

    In the case of wood siding, the signs you need to keep an eye out for are not just any visible damage, such as rot on your cedar siding. In fact, your siding may still look good but underneath them lies the problem that merits an immediate fix.

    To know if you are due for a siding replacement, keep an eye out for these signs:

    • Presence of mold – if you see mold or mildew over your siding or its seams, it means that there is present. And if they also appear on the same area inside your home, this will indicate severe damage that has affected even the walls of your home, and mold is likely to be present.

    Unfortunately, mold growing in your home is not always immediately visible. But, there are other signs of mold growth that you should be aware of, like its signature musty smell.

    • Signs of discoloration – color changes, such as faded spots, are obvious signs to anyone. The immediate remedy for many homeowners is to get their siding repainted when this happens. However, this is a hit-or-miss solution; sometimes a fresh coat of paint fixes it, but other times, it is not enough.
    • Repainting your siding has become a regular occurrence – it is considered normal to get siding repainted once in a decade. But if frequent repainting is needed, say, every after five years or even sooner, this is a problem you should look into.

    Either your siding does a poor job of retaining paint, or it is already damaged without you realizing it.

    • They have visible disfigurations – over time, wood siding will develop various physical defects, such as warping, cracking, bubbling, and loosening up.

    Siding that has bubbled up means it has water trapped underneath. This water will later spread out to the rest of your siding, and causes deformation on it as well. On the other hand, boards that have become loose or have cracks are often either old or have been damaged by weather disturbances.

    These flaws are the most obvious indicator that your siding has to be replaced soon. While you may easily replace a few damaged boards of your siding, an entire siding replacement may be warranted if the damaged is too severe.

    • Rotted siding is evident – wood siding, in particular, is at risk of rotting. However, dry or wet root is not always obvious. Even if your siding still looks great on the outside, it may already be rotting under its paint. Or, the sheathing underneath is already rotting.

    Rotting is often caused by constant water exposure, or even too much condensation. You can check if rot is already present by poking suspected sections with a screwdriver or any other tool.

    If you feel that the wood is soft, it means you are dealing with wet rot. This wet rot will dry up and make the wood crumbly, which will become dry rot. Over time, dry rot will not only become a breeding ground for pests, mold, and mildew, but it may also cause structural issues.

    • Its seams are becoming loose or detached – a properly installed siding has seams that are nearly indistinguishable. This is not just for aesthetics but also for structural reasons.

    Seams that have become loose or separate from other boards or panels need to be replaced soon, as the gaps that form will allow moisture to enter and cause all sorts of issues on your siding, and even your home itself.

    • Draftiness inside your home – if you are feeling cold drafts, or you never seem to get comfy indoor temperatures even after changing thermostat settings on your HVAC system, air leaks may be present because of damage on your siding.
    • Household bills involving your systems are rising – siding in poor condition prevent your heaters and air conditioning systems from properly heating or cooling your home, again primarily due to the air leaks.

    Whether your HVAC system will adjust automatically to your desired indoor temperature, or you constantly change its settings to get it, this will increase your household consumption, which then results in higher bills to pay.

    • Interior paint or wallpaper also shows signs of damage, especially wetness – water damage on your siding is not limited to exterior damage, as even your interiors can get affected by it.

    Faulty siding can cause water to be retained in your walls, as well as produce wet spots inside your home. When this happens, the paint or your wallpaper can peel off, and repainting or applying new wallpaper is useless because of the moisture present on the walls. Not only that, your home becomes at risk for mold growth.

    • Holes are present – noticeable holes should always be a cause of concern for you. Water can go inside them and cause rotting on the wood siding and even the sheathing underneath.

    Not only that, holes on siding are normally caused by insects and other critters. They can burrow deep inside your siding and make a nesting ground, as well.

    Allowing all these signs to get worse will mean costly repairs for you in the future, not to mention the possibility of compromising your home’s structural integrity. All those much-needed repairs may cost you a whole lot more than replacing a piece of wood siding, or even the entire siding of your home.

    Wood Siding Repair Projects You’ll Run Into

    When it comes to repairing a wood siding, many homeowners think that a replacement is the only solution for it. Because of this, they are hesitant to get seemingly minor issues on their siding fixed, including those holes made by the woodpecker that loves to hang around in their property.

    Repairing them is not just about replacing damaged panels or boards. In fact, there are several ways of doing so, with siding replacement only as a last resort. And, these methods are guaranteed to fix certain sections of your siding without damaging the rest.

    Filling up Holes or Cracks

    A quick fix for wood siding whose primary issue involves cracks or holes present is to get those holes filled up. Take note that this should only be done if the holes are only a few and are tiny. Siding with large holes present may have other underlying issues that may require other methods of fixing.

    And before getting them filled up, you should confirm that there are no signs of rot underneath the siding and near the visible hole.

    This process is relatively easy, only involves a bristle brush, sandpaper or sander, wood putty, and wood stain or paint, and takes a few steps:

    1. Remove debris and dirt in the hole and its surroundings, either by hand or aided by a brush or something similar.
    1. Apply some putty to each hole or crack, making sure that they are covered entirely. Repeat the application as needed for deep ones, but allow the first layer of putty applied to completely dry up first before adding more.

    Also, make sure that the putty is the stainable type. This allows you to apply wood stain or paint over it and hide the putty added to the board or panel.

    1. Once the putty is completely dry, use your sander or sandpaper to smoothen the area where the putty was applied.
    1. Apply the wood stain or paint over the area to match the rest of the siding.

    Refitting Warped Wood Boards

    When wood siding gets deformed, you often see them warped. This is primarily due to exposure to water, which is often either via roof leaks, gutter issues, or weather disturbances, particularly rain and snow.

    Since wood boards in the siding hardly have any gaps present to make room when it expands due to moisture, they have the tendency to warp.

    An easy fix for this is to just nail the warped section flat to the sheathing underneath. But since the warping has also increased the length of the wood, this is often not enough to solve the issue; it may even look unsightly afterwards.

    A better fix is to detach the warped wood board and shorten it before reinstalling it, and contractors do so through these steps:

    1. Remove the nails holding the warped board in place.
    1. Use a chisel or any other tool to carefully pull away the board.
    1. Place a block or something similar that will act as a wedge and lift the board up and away from the sheathing.
    1. Check the condition of the sheathing underneath and see if there is moisture present. If silt is present, it has to be removed first. Any issues on your sheathing or wall under your wood siding has to be fixed first to prevent moisture retention, which would lead to a new set of problems for you.
    1. Measure the length of space used up by the warped board and the current length of the board. Get the difference between them.
    1. Using a rasp, saw, or plane, cut away the excess length. Make sure that there is a gap of 1/16 of an inch available between the shortened board and the ones beside it.
    1. Remove the block that was used as a wedge for the board and check if the warped board fits the space when flat, before nailing it back to the sheathing.

    These wood siding issues are pretty easy to fix that even homeowners who know their way around basic construction or home repair work can do it themselves.

    But if the problem is a lot worse and already requires removal and replacement of a section of a board or panel, or even entire boards or panels, it is best to let a contractor handle it. This task requires a lot of precision and careful handling, and only professionals can do it without damaging the adjacent boards.

    How to Patch Wood Siding

    If the damage present on your siding is limited to one or a few boards, patching is often enough to fix it. Patching involves removing the damaged board and replacing it with a new one.

    To give you a clearer picture on how this is done, here are the required materials and steps usually followed by a wood siding contractor:

    Materials Needed:

    • Replacement siding board
    • Stainless steel nails, preferably 7d (21/4 inches long) or 8d (21/2 inches long) ring-shanks. In some cases, 5d nails (13/4 inches long) may also work
    • Acrylic caulk (paintable variety)
    • Utility knife
    • Hammer
    • Hacksaw blade
    • Saw
    • Pry bar
    • Paint or wood stain, depending on the finish of the entire siding
    • Paintbrush

    Steps:

    1. Score the damaged board using the utility knife, making sure it covers one end to the other and is done in the middle of the board. Avoid cutting too deep, as this may damage the sheathing under the siding.

    Contractors often start with a light cut and just run the knife repeatedly in the same line, until the cut has completely penetrated the wood board.

    1. Start prying the damaged board using a hammer and pry bar. Slowly insert the pry bar on the bottom of the damaged board. The ideal spot to do so is at one end of the board that is near a nail.
    1. When in position, the contractor will start pulling the pry bar towards him or her to gently lift up the board.
    1. The contractor will do this repeatedly until the scored section of the board detaches. If the scoring is done properly, this removed section will be in one piece when detached.

    It will then be set aside and used as the size reference for the new board.

    1. Check the condition of the sheathing and remove any spots that seem to be waterlogged, and patch it up.
    1. Find the nails used for that particular board and remove them, starting with the ones at the bottom section.

    The hammer or pry bar needs to be in a horizontal position to remove the nails without damaging the board located below it.

    1. Place the pry bar under the remaining board and gently lift it up to find the nails holding it in position. Remove them using the hammer or pry bar, making sure to catch the remaining half of the board that will immediately fall out once these nails are removed.
    1. For nails that refuse to budge at all, use a hacksaw blade to cut the exposed sections off. They must lie flush with the sheathing after sawing.

    Contractors make sure that vibration, which is the worst enemy for this task, is minimized by positioning the teeth of the blade at a certain angle that allows it to cut through the nail while minimizing the pushing motion.

    1. Get the removed board and place it on top of the replacement one to get the accurate measurement. To make cutting easier, score the board with the utility knife and saw off the excess length afterwards.
    1. Check if the replacement board is of the right length by placing it on the space vacated by the old board, and trim if necessary. Make sure that there is ample space for caulk to be placed between the ends of the new board and the surrounding ones.
    1. Place a thick layer of caulk at each end of the space where the new board will be installed. The caulk should be enough to cover the gap of the back side and sheathing, as well as the end grains of the old boards surrounding the spot where the new one will be placed.
    1. Slide the new board in place, making sure that its thin side goes first and ends up below the board above it. Continue pushing until it lines up with the surrounding boards.
    1. Nail the new board in place, with each nail located at least 1 ½ inches from the end of the board and ¾ inches from its lower edge. Contractors will drive the nail up at a different angle to prevent it from entering the same nail hole in the sheathing.

    The nail head must also lie flush on the new board and should be covered in caulk afterwards.

    1. Remove any excess caulk on the seams and nail head before applying paint or wood stain to the new board.

    Aside from patching your siding, contractors will also check on the condition of your roof, gutters, and any other structure that can affect it.

    How to Replace Wood Siding Panels

    If your wood siding consists of panels, such as the t1-11 type, the method of patching individual siding boards may not be applicable for it. As a result, homeowners like you may wonder how you can get it fixed without resorting to drastic and costly measures immediately.

    Fortunately, you do not have to get an entirely new siding just yet. Despite what some contractors might say, you can just replace individual wood siding panels; damage on a number of panels does not immediately mean replacing your home’s siding completely.

    Replacing wood panels follows generally the same process as that of patching, only a bit more difficult. Unlike patching single boards, it involves larger-sized panels, usually measuring either 8×4 or 10×4 feet, and removing them is not as easy as well.

    Also, wood panel replacement requires the use of power tools, particularly a circular saw, that not a lot of homeowners can properly operate. We all know that misusing them can result in severed fingers or limbs, and nobody really wants that to happen, right?

    All these should be enough to convince you to leave the work in the hands of your contractor.

    If after a thorough inspection your contractor confirms that replacing individual panels would work for your home, here is how to do it:

    Materials:

    • Circular saw
    • Hammer
    • Pry bar or nail puller
    • Hacksaw
    • Utility knife
    • Wood sealant
    • Wood putty
    • Replacement wood panel
    • Wood nails
    • Wood wedges
    • Paintbrush
    • Paint or wood stain, depending on your siding’s finish
    • Measuring tape
    • Hacksaw

    Steps:

    1. Insert the wood wedges to the damaged sections of a panel, making sure that they are firmly in place by tapping them into position with a hammer. The wedges will lift the damaged panel, which grants the contractor easy access to it for its removal.
    1. Using a circular saw, the contractor will remove either only the damaged portion of the panel or the entire panel itself. A square cutout is ideal for panel cutouts, as it allows the replacement to be fitted to the rest of the siding much easier, not to mention less obvious.
    1. After removing the wedges, the nails holding the panel or damaged section in place should then be removed. A pry bar or nail puller usually works, but more stubborn ones may need to be removed by a hacksaw.

    If using a hacksaw, the contractor has to reinsert the wedges to lift up the wood, insert the hacksaw on the gap created, and saw the nail to remove the damaged section or panel.

    1. Like in patching, get the removed portion and place it over the replacement panel to get an accurate measurement. Use the circular saw to cut the replacement panel afterwards.

    But if the entire panel was removed, the replacement one should likely be of the same size already, so trimming may not be necessary.

    1. Place wood sealant on the edges of the replacement panel and allow it to cure before installation.
    1. Hammer in the nails to secure the replacement in place, making sure to follow the same nail pattern present in the rest of the siding.
    1. Seal the seams of the new panel by applying wood putty to its joints, as well as the nail heads.
    1. When the putty is dry, use sandpaper to smoothen it out before applying paint or wood stain to make it blend in with the rest of your siding.

    Just like in patching, replacement wood panels that are properly installed will not really look out of place. This is why it is vital to get replacement panels that are as similar as possible to your original siding if you don’t want the replaced sections to look out of place.

    In the instance where it is impossible to find the same board or panel as your existing siding, your contractor can get a section that is still in perfect condition from an inconspicuous spot and use that to replace the damaged one. And the now-empty section can have the board or panel that somewhat resembles it instead.

    But if this option is not possible and uniformity matters a lot to you, why not consider having vinyl siding installed over your wood siding?

    Wood Siding Replacement Cost

    It is a given that replacing damaged sections of your siding will cost you more than repairing deformed boards or filling up holes and cracks present. But, by exactly how much?

    The per hour rate of contractors for this task ranges from $40 to $50 per hour on average. Including the cost of materials, the entire project can set you back by hundreds of dollars to over a thousand. Your total bill will be affected by various factors, not just the complexity of the repair and/or replacement needed.

    Factors Affecting the Cost of Wood Siding Replacement

    tongue and groove

    Although replacing individual boards or panels of your wood siding will only be a fraction of the cost of a complete siding replacement, the total amount you have to pay for it will still vary because of several factors, namely:

    • Material used – you might remember choosing among different siding materials before you got your siding finally installed.

    This will also matter when it comes to repairs, as some materials are much more expensive than others, even if you only need a single panel or board. So, if you have a cedar siding that has one damaged board, expect to pay a bit more compared to replacing a single pine siding board.

    Also, where you purchase the materials will also matter. That is why it is important for you to compare options and prices between different stores, such as Home Depot and Menards.

    • Measurement of the Wood and its Grade – of course, larger siding replacements will cost more. Not only that, they also come in different grades that will affect its price.

    Wood siding come in three grades: premium, other premium or mid-grade, and knotty. This explains why a premium grade siding costs a lot more than the other grades, even if they are all pine or fir or any other material.

    • Professional fees – labor charge will also affect your total bill. Contractors usually charge by the hour for this type of job, but some contractors may also offer to bill you for the entire project, regardless of how long it will take them to complete the job.
    • Siding finish – after patching or replacing the panel or board of your siding, it has to be painted or stained to camouflage the repair done on your siding. Note that painting costs a bit more than staining wood.
    • Damage on sheathing and other structures –a contractor has to make sure that there are no other issues related to your siding, such as rotting, before replacing it. Any repair needed on your home that will affect your siding will add to your overall bill.

    By identifying these factors, you can gauge if your siding repair and replacement is going to put a huge dent on your budget or not.

    Getting Quotes from Competing Contractors

    A thousand dollars or so for a siding replacement project, while considered cheaper than other home renovation jobs, is still nothing to squeeze at.

    We completely understand that while you want to repair any issues on your home, you also want to save as much as you can to get it done. This is why we came up with our free service catering to homeowners like you with this problem.

    Siding materials usually have fixed prices, so the only way of saving money for this project will greatly depend on the contractor’s rate. And the best way of doing making sure that you get the lowest rates without affecting their quality of work?

    Competition.

    We know this all too well, that is why our free service consists of getting as much as four contractors in your area to send you their quotes for free. And because they are already aware that their competitors will do the same, don’t be surprised to receive lower than usual quotes.

    You read that right – contractors will send you their quotes with tempting rates. So, say goodbye to individually contacting each one of them and asking how much you can get charged for the project.

    You can get all these, and even more, just by filling out our form. It only takes you a few minutes to do so, and you can even do it wherever you are.

    Don’t worry, we don’t require you to hire any contractor who contacts you in order to use our service. You can always say no to all of them if their quotes are not that enticing.

    Since our service is free, why not try it out for yourself? Let’s get to it and fix your wood siding issues immediately!

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