Siding is the armor of your home, protecting it from the wind, rain, heat, cold, and whatever else Mother Nature can throw at it. Siding comes in several different types of material, including wood, aluminum, vinyl, and cement fiber siding. Wood siding is typically in the form of wood clapboards, often seen on older and historic homes, and wood shingles/shakes. Aluminum siding (usually made to resemble clapboards) came as the result of people looking for a lower maintenance material than wood, but can it be prone to denting and fading. The next evolution after aluminum brought us vinyl siding, which is low cost and very low maintenance. However, proper installation is critical to avoid warping or buckling. Last is cement fiber siding, a man made material from recyclables that installs like wood siding; it is durable, very low maintenance, and “Green”.
Even with siding materials that have stood the test of time, like wood, and newer highly durable engineered materials are available, our homes’ siding is still exposed to damaging conditions. High winds and hail are by far the most damaging weather phenomena to a home’s siding. Hail ranges widely in size from small pea sizes (0.25”), to golf balls, and sometimes even bigger than a softball (6”+)! Wind damage usually results in either missing pieces of siding or impact damage from flying debris. Hail damage on the other hand is usually indicated by holes or cracks in materials like vinyl and dents in aluminum. The frustrating part for home owners is that hail and wind storms are typically directional, meaning that they only affect one side of the home, which makes matching any new siding to the rest of the home difficult.
So if your home’s siding has sustained hail/wind damage, what should you do?
Step 1 – Get an estimate of the damage from a reputable contractor: This estimate will help make sure that your insurance adjuster’s assessment of the damage is accurate and reasonable.
Step 2 – Contact your insurance agent to file the claim: Contacting your actual insurance agent will help you through the process much more personally than calling the 1-800 number. Since insurance companies may drop a policy holder for making too many claims, your personal agent will often advise you whether it’s a good idea to file or not.
Step 3 – Read your homeowner’s insurance policy carefully: The fine print is important here because if you are unable to find a matching replacement for your siding, you may be eligible for whole siding replacement without even knowing it. Working with a knowledgeable contractor here, like TJR, may prove to be the difference between paying additionally out of pocket to match the repairs to the rest of the house or lobbying the insurance company to cover everything right the first time.
Hopefully your home will never see any weather related siding damage, but in the event that it does, you now have the knowledge and steps necessary to handle it right and get your home looking beautiful again.