Wood siding was once a standard choice on most homes, but there are many options available today that rival wood in both appearance and durability. These include vinyl siding, metal siding, and fiber cement siding—with metal and fiber cement providing some of the longest lasting alternatives to traditional wood. You can even repaint nonwood siding options, so you still have the versatility to change the look of your home in the future. The following list of problems with wood siding can help you decide if it's time to upgrade to one of the newer, more moisture-resistant alternatives.
Issue #1: Ongoing Maintenance Woes
Wood siding requires regular maintenance. At a bare minimum, you will need to repaint it every few years when the old paint begins to fade or peel. Rot can also be a problem, especially in damp or humid climates. If you are noticing a lot of rotten or damaged siding boards, replacement with a rot-proof alternative can be a more cost effective option in the long run. Vinyl, metal, and fiber cement siding doesn't require repainting, unless you want to change the color, and moisture rot isn't an issue.
Issue #2: Fungus Growth
Algae, mold, and mildew can become a real problem in moist climates or on the shady side of the home. Although all types of siding can suffer from fungal growth, it is more likely to cause damage to wood siding. This is because wood doesn't dry as quickly as other materials, so the moisture encourages fungus growth and then the fungus traps moisture so the siding boards can't dry out. This makes them more prone to rot. Metal siding is a good replacement option when fungus is a problem. It won't absorb any stains and you can use harsh cleaners, like bleach, to kill any mold that does attempt to grow on the siding.
Issue #3: Warping and Separation
Old wood siding can begin to bulge or warp over time. The siding boards may even begin separating at the seams. This is caused by a combination of weathering, moisture damage to the wood, or leaks and water trapped behind the siding boards. Boards damaged in this manner cannot be repaired so they will require full replacement. You will need to also verify that no moisture has leaked behind the siding and caused damage to the under-cladding or the home's frame. Consider replacing with fiber cement or metal. These sturdy options are relatively weatherproof and they aren't prone to warping.
Contact a local siding professional to see what type of siding replacement option is the best for your home and desired ongoing maintenance needs.