Before You Replace Your Vinyl Siding, Ask These Questions

Ready to give your house a face-lift? For many homeowners in Hampton Roads, vinyl siding replacement is an instant makeover that’s as practical as it is beautiful. Today’s vinyl siding has so many styles and colors, the possibilities are endless. But unlike a fresh coat of paint, new siding is a long-term commitment and a significant investment—so you need to make sure you’re ready. Here are some key considerations:



Does my siding need to be replaced?

If it’s in your budget to replace siding that’s in good condition (but you’re just tired of the color/style), go for it! But if you want to wait until it’s truly necessary, these are the signs your siding needs replacement:

Warping – this can let moisture in an cause rot to the under layer

Cracks and loose panels – if it’s just a few areas, it’s probably fine and part of normal wear and tear. But large sections of damage can be hard to match in a repair and can lead to significant water damage

Holes – even a small hole can be a big problem. Usually caused by insects, holes not only mean a potential pest problem, but can let damaging moisture in.

Bubbles – a sure sign that water has been trapped under your siding

Mold, mildew or fungus – though they usually can be cleaned off the exterior, they can be a sign of water damage below

Fading – a natural part of vinyl siding’s aging, once it starts to look uneven in color and unpleasant in tone, your house is telling you it’s time to replace!

Damaged interior walls – if your rooms have peeling paint or sagging wallpaper, it could be a sign your siding is letting in moisture

Extreme heating and cooling bills – though your windows, doors or roof could also be the culprit, outdated or worn siding can be a source of major energy inefficiency.



What color of vinyl siding should I choose?

Ultimately yes, it’s a matter of personal taste. But there are additional considerations to address:

Will it complement your trim? What about your doors, window frames and shutters?

How will it look against your landscaping? Perhaps you have a lot of yellow-tipped shrubs or trees with red foliage. Make sure that the hues will work well together.

Our area has brutal sun many months of the year, so choosing can be a game of temperature control—a dark color could mean higher energy bills to keep your home cool.

What colors are your neighbors’ houses? You don’t want to look cookie-cutter by matching too closely with homes on your street. At the same time, your home could look out of place as the one bright-red blot in a sea of gray and taupe.

Does your homeowners’ association restrict color choices? Check with the architectural control documents or representatives in your neighborhood before making any final decisions.





What style of vinyl siding will look best on my house?

If your house has a traditional look, you likely will want beaded or dutchlap. If you own a craftsman and contemporary-style home, vertical is a popular choice. If you have a Victorian, then half-round vinyl siding would look period appropriate. If you’re going for a coastal or New England look, cedar shake looks amazing. Specialty sidings like cedar shake can be pricier, so some homeowners opt to mix-and-match it with a basic siding style. Remember, you can also pair vinyl siding nicely with brick or stone! Be sure to consider whether to invest in insulated siding for better energy efficiency.



What should I ask potential vinyl siding contractors?

What certifications do you hold?

How many years of experience does your company have with siding?

How long will the job take? (Two to three days is standard, but be sure you understand when they are available to start as well, and realize that adverse weather can delay the project).

What is your warranty? For example, Quality Built Exteriors includes a lifetime guarantee against fading, as well as a wind warranty.

Before they begin work, inspect the siding materials to be sure they are the style and color you ordered. This is also a good time to let the installer know if you have any plans to replace shutters, doorbells, light fixtures, or house numbers that might require modification in the way they install the siding in those areas. Once the job is complete, be sure to walk around the entire house with the installers, inspecting all areas to be sure you are 100% satisfied with the job. Trust me, they would rather fix the problem now than hear a complaint online months later!

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Melissa James, The Exterior Enthusiast

Melissa James, The Exterior Enthusiast

Melissa James is "The Exterior Enthusiast" for Quality Built Exteriors. She has written about home decorating and improvement since 2005. Learn more. Got a question or comment for Melissa? Reach her at

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