Siding provides your home with protection, insulation, and curb appeal. It’s your home’s first line of defense against weather of all types. From snow and ice to branches and bugs, your siding sustains a great deal of wear and tear year-round. But how do you know when it’s time to replace your siding, or when it’s merely in need of some TLC? Read on for three telltale signs that your siding needs to be replaced.

#1: Energy Bills Creeping Up

Older siding is susceptible to deterioration, especially when it comes to the insulation behind it. This deterioration can have a major impact on your heating and cooling costs. If you notice a steady increase in your energy bill without any clear explanation, it’s a good bet that your siding is the culprit.

To diagnose insulation issues when you notice an uptick in your energy costs, check for drafts near walls, light switches, and electrical outlets. Another sign to cue you into failing siding and insulation is peeling paint or wallpaper–as the insulation deteriorates, moisture more easily makes its way into your walls, causing problems for interior finishes.

#2: Funk.

Fungus, mildew, mold, rot. They’re going to show up on your siding no matter what you do. Small doses are harmless and, for the most part, unpreventable. But severe buildup of any of these funky substances can spell major trouble for your siding. As Scott Barr, writing for Angie’s List, points out, “Often, homeowners can’t tell how much hidden damage has occurred until the siding is physically removed so they are able to see how much wood rot exists on the frame of their home due to years of moisture penetration behind the siding.”

A musty smell is one symptom that can help you diagnose a major underlying problem.  And, as Barr goes on to note, “Signs of water runoff that start and stop suddenly will signal that water may be entering the siding and affecting the interior of the home.  Water stains show up as discoloration or streaking on the siding.” Keeping an eye out for these issues will help you get a sense of what is going on behind your siding.

#3: Misshapen Siding

Like any other part of your home, the integrity of your siding will eventually be compromised. While homeowners should expect good, quality siding to last at least twenty years, the time will come when siding will begin to show its age.

Cracked or loose siding isn’t necessarily a red flag, especially if the damage is contained to small parts of the exterior. But if your siding is warped or bubbled, you have a more serious issue on your hands. You might also notice that your siding looks wavy or like it’s buckling. All of these conditions point to water damage and the need for replacement, not repair, of your home’s siding.

It’s hard for any homeowner to choose replacement over repair of a big-ticket item like siding. But keep in mind that if your siding needs replacement, chances are that it’s quite old anyway. This upgrade will pay dividends not only in energy efficiency and protection of the interior of your home; new siding will also increase your home’s beauty and market value! If you are considering replacing your home’s siding, we’re here to help with the process.