Need to repair siding? Today’s wood siding comes in a variety of forms, including different kinds of shingles, sheets, and boards. If you have any DIY woodworking skills at all, then you can likely handle smaller siding repairs by simply duplicating the exact way in which the siding was originally installed. Specialized tools including a nail puller for shingles may be necessary depending on the job.
While replacing a wood board or two can be a fairly simple project to handle, large siding repairs usually require more people and more equipment, since the work itself generally becomes harder the higher up you go. In fact, if the scope of your project goes far beyond just replacing a few shingles and you’re not accustomed to operating a power saw or know how to use carpentry tools, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional to get the job done properly and safely.
Fix The Damage As Soon As Possible
As you repair your siding, try and identify what actually caused the damage in the first place and work to fix it as soon as possible. For instance, if your siding was subsequently damaged by poor drainage from your downspouts or leaky gutters, it is important to fix those problems quickly, before even more damage can happen. Watch out for termite damage and dry rot since both are generally found on the outside as well as the inside of wood and may cause significant structural damage overall, according to House Logic. Termites can bore tunnels directly through wood, while dry rot crumbles wood due to fungus. Sometimes you can actually see the wings of termites or the castings that they tend to push out. If you do find damage from termites, call a professional pest control expert.
Siding is very vulnerable to water penetration where it joins vertically, including where windows and doors intersect, or where the boards meet one another. An ideal way to prevent water from seeping in between the boards is to use caulking compound. It comes in a wide variety of colors to match both painted and natural finishes. Use a quality-grade caulk that will keep its elasticity in spite of extreme temperatures.
Repair Warped Siding
If wood board siding is butted too tightly together during the installation process, it can warp once the changes in moisture cause it to swell. You can possibly try pulling a board that’s warped to make it tight and flat by driving a few longer, galvanized screws directly through the board into the studs (predrill the holes first to prevent splitting the boards). Chances are you may need to cut the warped board and then reattach it. Here’s what you need to know:
- If the boards appear to be jammed together at either end, pull out the nails from the area that’s warped and keep pulling them (or try cutting them using a hacksaw), while working toward the closest end of the board.
- Use force to lift the board away from the exterior of the home and then place a block behind it, ensuring not to damage the building paper under the siding.
- Shorten the siding board. It’s easier sometimes to use a saw for this task, while other times it may be best to use a plane, rasp, or perforated rasp. Allow approximately 1/16-inch clearance for the next board. Next, replace the wood board and nail it in place.
Replace Wood Shingles
If your house is covered in wood shingles, the best choice is to simply replace your home’s shingles instead of attempting to repair them. On the other hand, if it’s simply a matter of nailing down a few loose shingles, then replacing them isn’t necessary. Here’s what to do:
- Pull off all the broken and damaged pieces. This process will be hard on your hands, so be sure to wear durable gloves. If you need to, use a flat pry bar or chisel to break apart the wood shingle in order to easily pull off the pieces.
- Pull out the nails that once held the shingle in its place (located beneath the next course going up the side). The best tool for this particular job is a flat pry bar. Sometimes, however, it’s easier to simply cut the nails off using a hacksaw.
- Carefully cut a replacement shingle to the correct width, leaving around 1/4-inch clearance in between the wood shingle and its two adjacent neighbors.
- Replace the shingle and drive two shingle nails to put it in place. Once you’re done nailing, push the shingle upwards 3/8-inch in order to conceal the nail heads.
- In order to seamlessly blend the wood shingle with the grayer tones of older shingles, simply brush them with a mixture of water and baking soda.
Related Resource: Install French Doors
Damaged siding allows moisture to penetrate the exterior walls of your home and eventually rot away the framing, which is why it’s so important to take action as soon as you notice any damage. However, if you have more than just a couple of shingles or boards failing, it’s best to replace the whole wall rather than just repair siding.