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As the chill of winter quickly approaches, it is important that we spend enough time preparing our homes. Otherwise, houses risk sustaining more damage during these harsh months than we would initially expect. However, to truly ensure certain parts of your home are prepped for what lies ahead, you must first understand what can happen if they are not. This is how winter conditions can damage your siding, and the importance of replacing it beforehand.

Cracking and Chipping

When outdoor temperatures drop, it is common for harder materials, like vinyl, to become susceptible to damage. This is because the cold causes these substances to stiffen, making them brittle when put under any amount of pressure. Over the winter season, older siding will typically experience cracking or chipping—especially after forceful snowstorms. For this reason, it is recommended that you install newer, stronger siding before this weather starts. Your home will gain additional protection as well as several other worthwhile benefits.

Leaking in the Seal

Siding components also begin to expand and contract as the weather changes, increasing the chances of it forming a leak. Since moisture from the snow can cause severe water damage, leaks are the primary thing you should try to prevent as winter sets in. Failing to do so can lead to the development of rot or mold, which eventually affects the structural integrity of the entire home. Make sure you inspect your siding this fall so that you can find any existing issues and correct them immediately.

Loosening Panels

Winter conditions can damage your siding as well by loosen some of its essential parts. When a home is equipped with riveted exterior siding, it becomes easy for the wind to pull the bottom lip and lift it away from the home. If your area experiences particularly turbulent storms in the winter, this can result in a few sections becoming loose, or even falling off. Because of this, you should examine how well your siding was installed. Though siding should fit a bit loosely to account for expansion, it should not be so loose that you can shake it with your hands.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.