Your vinyl siding will show signs of wear and tear as it ages. It will accumulate holes from cable wires, hangers, screws, and nails. It might even be cracked, warped, or permanently stained. All these problems can be repaired so your siding isn't an eyesore and so rain doesn't leak through. Here's how to make some of these repairs.
Fill In Holes
Holes left behind from cables or old nails can be filled in with caulk. If the siding isn't white, you'll need to find a caulk color that closely matches the siding. If you know the manufacturer and model number of your siding, you may get an exact match in color, otherwise, you'll have to take in a sample or photo to get a close match. You may need to go to a contractor's supply store that sells vinyl siding since a hardware store may not keep a lot of colors on hand.
Once you have the caulk, all you have to do is clean the area first and then fill the hole with caulk. Use a scraper to make the top of the hole level with the siding around it. Once the caulk is dry, you may need to use a razor to cut away bits of dried caulk on top of the hole so it is smooth and level. This repair job will be invisible from a few feet away, but it will be noticeable when you're close to it. If the hole is next to an entry door or some other prominent place, you may need to replace the panel if you want a completely invisible repair.
Patch Damaged Areas
If a section of siding has a small crack, stain, or burned area, you can cut out the damaged portion and repair it with a patch. To do this, you'll need a zip tool that unlocks the panel from the panel next to it. Then you can cut out the damaged area with tin snips. Next, cut out a patch from a new section of vinyl siding you buy from a home improvement store. The patch should be wider than the portion you removed so it overlaps the hole in the old panel. Secure the patch with caulk or clear adhesive and then lock the panel back in place. It may take several hours or a few days for the caulk to dry completely depending on the weather, so you'll want to check the work occasionally to make sure the patch hasn't shifted, or you can hold it in place with duct tape.
Replace A Vinyl Panel
If your siding has a long crack in it, you'll probably need to replace the whole side or panel. You may also want to replace a panel if you want your repairs to be invisible. One thing to keep in mind is that it will be difficult to find an exact match in color even if you know the manufacturer and model. If you saved a few pieces from the initial installation, they may not be a close match anymore if your siding is old and faded from UV exposure. To work around this problem, you may want to remove a faded panel from the back, bottom, or side of your house and use that for the replacement siding. Then you can slip the new siding into the hidden area where the color difference won't be so noticeable.
Replacing a panel is fairly easy since vinyl is lightweight and easy to work with. Use a zip tool to unlock the damaged piece from the panels above and below it. Then, you'll be able to lift the damaged panel and pull out the nails that hold it in place. Once the damaged piece is out, slip the new panel in, drive in the nails and then lock the panel into the panels above and below it. Be sure you don't drive the nails all the way in because vinyl will expand and shift along with temperature changes.
Replacing a single panel should be quick and easy if you have some DIY skills, but fixing extensive damage from a storm might be a different situation. You'll probably need professional help to get a good color match and switch out panels high off the ground. Fortunately, vinyl siding is strong and durable, so you shouldn't have to make many repairs over its lifetime. Still, it's not indestructible, so knowing simple siding repair skills will keep it in good shape and looking nice.