Vinyl siding repair is tough, but not indestructible. If a falling branch or a well-hit baseball has cracked a piece of your siding, you can make it as good as new in about 15 minutes with a $5 zip tool (available at any home center) and a replacement piece. It’s as simple as unzipping the damaged piece and snapping in a new one.
Starting at one end of the damaged piece, push the end of the zip tool up under the siding until you feel it hook the bottom lip (Photo 1). Pull the zip tool downward and out to unhook the bottom lip, then slide it along the edge, pulling the siding out as you go. Then unzip any pieces above the damaged piece. Hold them out of the way with your elbow while you pry out the nails that hold the damaged piece in place (Photo 2).
Slide the replacement piece up into place, pushing up until the lower lip locks into the piece below it. Drive 1-1/4-in. roofing nails through the nailing flange. Space them about every 16 in. (near the old nail holes). Nail in the center of the nailing slot and leave about 1/32 in. of space between the nail head and the siding so the vinyl can move freely. Don’t nail the heads tightly or the siding will buckle when it warms up.
With the new piece nailed, use the zip tool to lock the upper piece down over it. Start at one end and pull the lip down, twisting the tool slightly to force the leading edge down (Photo 3). Slide the zip tool along, pushing in on the vinyl just behind the tool with your other hand so it snaps into place.
It’s best to repair vinyl in warm weather. In temperatures below freezing it becomes less flexible and may crack.
The downside of replacing older vinyl siding is that it can be hard to match the style and color, and siding rarely has any identifying marks. The best way to get a replacement piece is to take the broken piece to vinyl siding distributors in your area and find the closest match. If the old vinyl has faded or you can’t find the right color, take the broken piece to a paint store and have the color matched. Paint the replacement piece with one coat of top-quality acrylic primer followed by acrylic house paint—acrylic paint will flex with the movement of the vinyl.
Wood shingles and shakes, typically made of decay-resistant cedar, are prized for their rustic beauty and ability to adapt to intricate architectural styles. However, due to their high degree of flammability, many regions of the country have restricted them. In addition, shingles and shakes are prone to rot, splinter, crack, and cup. They can be pried loose by wind and change color if not properly maintained.cedar shingle wood roofing
Cedar shingles are graded #1 (“blue label”), the best, and #2 (“red label”), which are acceptable as underlayment when double-coursing (applying two layers). Widths are random-from 3 to 14 inches-and lengths are 16, 18, or 24 inches. Shingles are also available in specialty patterns.
Shakes are thicker than shingles, with butts 3/8 to 3/4 inch thick. They are primarily sold unpainted but are also available pre-stained, painted, and treated with fire retardant.
Depending on heat, humidity, and maintenance, shingles and shakes can last from 20 to 40 years. Maintenance in hot, humid climates requires applying a fungicide/mildew retardant every three years. In dry climates, preserve resiliency with an oil finish every five years.
Shakes and shingles are easy to handle and install, though the job is time-consuming. Still, it is manageable with basic carpentry skills and tools plus a roofe
Repairing Damaged Soffits
Soffits are the horizontal boards that fit under the eaves of the roof. They cover exposed rafter tails and can serve as part of a house’s attic ventilation system. Since they are exposed to the elements, wooden soffits may decay if you don’t take good care of them. The best way to repair damaged soffits is to remove the old wood and replace it with new. Before you replace rotten soffits, try to determine what caused the damage and correct the problem. For example, overflowing gutters might be one reason you need to repair your soffits.
Don safety glasses. Slide a pry bar under the molding between the vertical fascia board and the shingles. Gently raise the pry bar to pull off the shingle mold. If you don’t damage the shingle mold, you can reinstall it later. Not all houses have shingle mold.
Pry off the fascia board from the ends of the rafters. If the soffit needs replacing, chances are good the fascia has wood rot as well. If it does, replace it the same time you repair the soffits.
Slide the soffit out of the molding holding it horizontal against the house. If there are nails holding it in place on the molding or from the rafter tails, remove the nails with the pry bar.
Inspect the rafter tails now exposed with the fascia and soffit removed. If any show signs of rot, cut off the damaged areas with a reciprocating saw. Cut a matching length of lumber from a piece of pressure-treated lumber, using a circular saw.
Cut a piece of 1-inch-wide lumber approximately 8 inches longer than the replacement rafter was. Hold the cut replacement rafter in position on the rafter with the 1-inch lumber behind it. Extend the ends of the 1-inch lumber on either side behind the replacement board. Use wood clamps to secure the boards together as well as to secure them to the rafters. Insert several screws into the rafters and the 1-inch lumber to hold it to the rafters. Put several screws into the pressure-treated lumber and the 1-inch lumber behind it to secure them together.
Measure and cut the replacement soffit out of thin hardboard, using a circular saw. If the old soffit is in one piece, you might be able to use it as a pattern. Coat the entire piece of wood with a waxy wood sealer or primer, applied with a paintbrush. Let the sealer dry following manufacturer’s directions.
Measure and cut a new fascia, if necessary, from wood the same thickness as the original fascia. Use the old fascia as a guide if it is in one piece. Give it a coat of primer on all sides and let it dry.
Set the soffit back onto the molding that holds it against the house. Fasten it to the molding and the underside of the rafters with 6d nails.
Reattach the fascia to the house with 6d nails. Put the shingle mold back in place.
Examine the soffits and fascia for any seams where water might leak behind them. Caulk those areas with paintable caulking. Cover nails with wood putty and smooth it in place. Let it dry for at least 30 minutes.
Give the soffits and fascia a coat of exterior paint. Allow the paint to dry. When the first coat is dry, apply a second coat of paint.