Wood Siding Bulging Out – What To Do

Depending on the climate where you live, wood siding can last anywhere from 25 to 35 years. Over the years, you may notice the siding starting to chip or bulge out of place at some point. What causes this? And how do you fix it? We've looked up the answers for you. In this post, we will discuss the reasons why wood siding may start to bulge out and how to replace or repair it when it does.

If you find that your wood home siding is starting to bulge, the best thing to do is to replace the damaged pieces as soon as possible. Before doing so, it's important first to assess all of the siding to determine if only certain pieces need to be replaced or if all of the siding needs to be removed and replaced. A siding replacement involves removing any damaged pieces and underlayment and installing new pieces by nailing them in place.

Replacing wood siding can be a simple home improvement project or an involved project, depending on how much of the siding needs to be replaced. Continue reading to learn more about the steps involved in this type of project. We will also cover how to replace vinyl siding as well.

A modern residential home with wooden sidings, huge windows and asphalt roofing shingles, Wood Siding Bulging Out - What To Do

Why is My Siding Bulging?

Isolated areas of wood siding are typically the ones to become damaged first. They can become damaged if improperly installed due to weather conditions such as precipitation, ice, and wind. If the wood is starting to bulge, this means that it has likely rotted and will definitely need to be replaced sooner rather than later. If the wood is not replaced, the exterior of your home will be unprotected and more susceptible to damage from outdoor elements--not to mention that it will negatively affect the appearance of your home.

How To Replace Bulging Wood Siding

1. Measure Your Current Boards

To replace damaged wood siding, you will first need to purchase a new wood clapboard that is the same size as the old damaged boards. Start by measuring the length, width, and height of the old board using a measuring tape. Also, note the texture of the wood. If the texture is rough, you'll want to replace it with rough siding. If the texture is smooth and even, you'll want to find a similar clapboard. If you are unsure what type of siding you have currently, it's best to ask the siding expert at your local home improvement store.

2. Determine The Nail Size

The recommended nail for wood siding is stainless steel, ring-shank. These nails will not rust, stain, or leave any black marks on the wood. Also, their shanks work as mini barbs, allowing them to grip the wood. This keeps the nail from popping out during installation or from changes within the wood. The normal size for siding applications is 2 -/2 inches, though you may be able to use 2-1/4 nails as well, depending on the thickness of your clapboards.

3. Cut The Old Board

Set up your ladder to begin removing the old boards. Once you have purchased your new boards and nails, it's now time to get the old boards off. Start by scoring the length of the damaged board using a utility knife. Be sure not to cut the board too deeply, as you may accidentally cut the underlayment beneath.

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4. Pry The Old Boards Off

Next, grab a pry bar and place the end under the edge of the first damaged board. Use your hand or a hammer to tap the pry bar and loosen the nail. If you can reach the nail, use your pry bar to pull it out. This part of the project requires a very delicate touch, as you don't want to crack or damage the adjacent boards. Continue to work the pry bar along the edge of the board until it breaks in half. Once it does, use the pry bar to remove the remaining half of the board.

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5. Remove Any Old Nails

While removing the clapboard, you are going to come across nails on the bottom and the top of the board. Use the pry bar to pull out any nails that are embedded in the board or the underlayment. It's helpful to keep the pry bar positioned horizontally so that you don't crack the siding beneath it. You can also use a hammerhead for this task. The fastest way to lift the bottom nails is to gently tap the pry bar as you work it under the board's edge.

Once the board begins to feel loose, you should be able to pull it out. Some of the nails may come out on their own. If not, you will need to place the hammerhead or pry bar beneath them as well. The top nails will typically be out before the bottom nails. If they don't, you can use a hacksaw to cut them. If you do this, be sure to cut them so that they are laid flush with the underlayment.

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6. Line Up The Board and Cut It

Once you have the first clapboard removed, lay it on the ground and then lay a new clapboard on top of it. Line up the boards and use a pencil or marker to mark where you will need to cut the new board. It's also helpful to score the board with a utility knife--it prevents the board from cracking when you saw it.

To cut the board, you can use a hand saw, circular saw, or hacksaw. The circular saw may the fastest option, while the hacksaw may be the most convenient. After cutting the new board, be sure to place the scrap pieces to the side so that they aren't mistaken for new replacement pieces.

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7. Apply Caulk To The New Board

After your boards are cut, take your wood caulk and add a thick layer to the end of the board that will be attached to the home's exterior. Be sure to apply the caulk in long, even beads. The caulk should cover the end of the board and  the top 1/4 inch of the backsidetol make contact with the sheathing. 

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8. Attach and Nail the New Board

Place the new board in its position and make sure that it is flush with the adjacent clapboards. Next, take your nail gun and place nails at the end of the board about 3/4 inches from the edge of the board. Line the nails up vertically to prevent the board from splitting. If you are not using a nail gun, be sure that you drive the nails completely and ensure each lies a bit beneath the board's surface.

Also, be sure that nails on the end of the joint do not come closer than 1-1/2 inch to the edge. Be careful when using a hammer so that you do not accidentally dent the wood during the process. Lastly, add small beads of caulk to the nail holes and use a dry cloth to wipe away any access that may ooze out of the joint.

9. Paint The New Board

After the board has been installed, it is now time to paint it. If you still have the old cans from when the boards were painted initially, pull them out and be sure to stir them before applying the paint. If you are replacing the entire siding or don't have the old paint cans, be sure to prime the wood before painting it. Also, make sure that you use a primer that's formulated for exterior surfaces.

The paint should also be specifically formulated for exterior surfaces. If purchasing a new paintbrush, consider using a natural bristle brush as they tend to work better on wood surfaces. After you've painted the new board, check the ground for any nails and dispose of them (and the old boards) properly. It might be easier to use a magnetic sweeper if you were working on grass or dark-colored grounds.

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How do I remove and replace one piece of vinyl siding?

An up close photo of a green wooden siding

The process of replacing vinyl siding is pretty similar to that of wood siding. Here are the main steps involved with the task:

  1. Determine the location and characteristics of the siding that needs to be replaced.
  2. Set up your ladder on the side of the house.
  3. Use a pry bar or hammer to slide beneath the boards and pry them out, along with the nails.
  4. Slightly push the vinyl siding downward and then pull it out to remove it from the underlayment.
  5. Measure, mark, and cut the new siding pieces and ensure that they are the same size as the old pieces.
  6. Attach the new vinyl siding using nails and caulk.

How much does it cost to replace a piece of vinyl siding?

The cost to replace vinyl siding will depend on where you are located and how much siding will need to be replaced. Most home contractors will charge anywhere from $40 to $60 an hour to replace the siding. Vinyl clapboards can range in price from $3 to over $7 per square foot.

This can result in a vinyl siding replacement job that can range anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. It's best to look at each potential contractor's reviews and vet them thoroughly before hiring them for the job. Replacing vinyl siding requires delicate handling and expertise. The reason for this is that it's very easy to damage the new pieces, and improper handling can quickly cause the material costs for your project to increase.

Why does my vinyl siding look wavy?

The most common reasons for vinyl siding to appear wavy are improper installation or changes in the environment. Here are the most common ones:

  • Changes in the foundation of the home
  • Nails installed too tightly
  • Outdoor temperature changes
  • Misaligned panels
  • Bad nail placement

If your vinyl siding begins to appear wavy, it may be time to replace it with new siding.

Wrapping Things Up

Wood siding can begin to bulge if it has rotted or become damaged. If your wood siding is damaged, it is best to replace it as soon as possible to prevent further damage and an even more expensive repair job. If you have never come installed siding to your home, it may be best to contact a siding professional.

Before you go, be sure to check out our other posts:

7 Best Paint Choices For A Wood Fence

What’s The Difference Between Interior And Exterior Paint?

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