Vinyl siding has openings at the lap joints and weep holes so the wall system can breathe and wind-blown rain can drain back out. If house wrap and flashing and caulk around windows and doors weren’t properly installed, any water that penetrates the siding could enter your home’s walls. Vinyl siding is waterproof, but the exterior wall the siding covers isn’t, so it’s important to fix leaking siding before trapped water causes damage.
Signs You Might Have a Leak
When moisture and water leak into the walls from a siding issue, it causes damage to the interior and exterior of your home. If you’ve already ruled out other potential areas for a leak, such as your roof or plumbing, you should explore the possibility of leaky siding. Some signs you may need siding leak repair include:
- Stains or streaks on your siding
- Discoloration on your interior walls
- Peeling paint or wallpaper inside your home
- Mold or fungus growth on your siding, especially near the seams
- Musty smell could indicate mold growing in the layers beneath the siding
Vinyl siding often remains completely unaffected by the water trapped behind it, so sometimes there aren’t obvious signs of trouble. Concentrating on what might have caused your siding to leak may provide ideas of where to look.
What Causes Siding Leaks
There are numerous reasons why your siding might develop a leak, but some are more common than others. Wind-driven rain can penetrate siding, but weep holes in the bottom edge of the siding are supposed to ensure the water flows back out. However, rain could still infiltrate the wall beneath the siding. Leaks can also be caused by:
- Poor installation techniques
- Gaps that weren’t back flashed
- Cracks in older, more brittle vinyl siding material
- Structural damage
- Improper seals around vents
- Faulty caulking around windows and doors
- Clogged gutter system
If you live in an area that experiences a broad range of temperature fluctuations throughout the year, expansion and contraction could be another leak source. Vinyl siding naturally expands and contracts with temperature changes, but this can cause siding joints to enlarge, creating gaps that allow water beneath the siding.
Ways to Fix Leaking Siding
When you don’t find and fix leaking siding right away, the water damage hiding behind the siding material can compromise your home’s structural integrity. If the leak is minor, there are some siding leak repairs you can do yourself, but these may only be temporary fixes.
For small cracks and gaps, try to remedy the problem by filling them with tri-polymer caulk. If the cracks or gaps are too large for caulk, which is common around joints, plug them with vinyl-appropriate putty. Always make sure the area inside the crack or gap is completely dry before applying caulk or putty to prevent mold growth.
Check the J-channels used around windows and doors, where the siding meets the roof or soffits and on the inside corners. Improperly installed J-channels can trap water, and damage or gaps in the J-channels can cause water to penetrate your home’s walls. Apply a continuous bead of silicon sealant along the vertical seams between J-channels to see if this solves the problem.
Loose siding can sometimes be reattached using the small hook on a siding removal tool. Press loose siding sections down with your hand once the hook is in place. Slowly slide the tool along the loose section while continuing to press down to snap it back into place until it can be fixed professionally.
Some siding repairs may fix leaking siding, at least temporarily. It’s best to have an experienced siding contractor inspect your siding and make permanent, professional repairs. In some cases, replacement siding is more cost-effective in the long run, especially if you’re going to be continually fixing issues with older siding material.
Schedule Quality Replacement Siding Installation
Our installation experts at Thompson Creek install long-life, low-maintenance replacement vinyl siding that won’t crack, flake, peel or discolor. We remove all old siding, inspect underlayment and wrap your home with a moisture barrier before installing replacement siding with nonflammable foam insulation. Contact us at 888-696-7105 before you fix leaking siding for a replacement siding quote