If your house was custom designed or if you've previously had your exterior siding redone, then you know that choosing siding is no easy task. There are limitless styles, colors, and materials available for home siding and they all offer their own strengths and weaknesses. When making these decisions, however, many people focus purely on aesthetics. This is perfectly reasonable since improving the exterior appearance of your home is one of the main jobs of its siding, but it isn't the only role that it plays.
Looking Inside Your Walls
In order to understand the role that your siding plays in your house's envelope, it's first necessary to peel back the layers of your home's walls. The innermost layer of a wall is known as the frame, and it's the first thing to be constructed when a house is buying built. Additional layers are built onto the frame, with drywall or other finishing material being placed on the inside and sheathing being placed onto the outside.
On the outside, the sheathing may seem to be the "true" walls, but it provides minimal protection from wind, noise, and water. Instead, the sheathing is covered with a wrap that offers some modest amount of protection. The wrap provides a back-up in the event that the siding is damaged, and it also helps to protect the sheathing, which can be expensive and difficult to replace. Finally, the siding is placed on top of the wrap.
Siding Is Your Home's Outer Defense Against Wind and Water
Even with a wrap installed, your home's sheathing alone does not provide significant protection against the outside elements. Siding is necessary in order to complete the envelope that helps to keep the outside environment out and the inside environment in. Not only does siding help to repel water, but it also seals your home against leaks and drafts. These are uncomfortable in the winter, but they also cost you money by allowing your climate-controlled interior air to escape into the ambient environment. Insulated siding even helps to stop noise transfer.
Damaged Siding Isn't Just Ugly
Now that you have a solid idea of how siding helps to protect your home, it should be clear that damaged siding is more than just an eyesore. When your siding is damaged, water is able to infiltrate behind the siding and potentially cause serious damage. The wrap applied to your home's sheathing helps to protect things for a while, but this is not intended as a long-term solution for direct exposure. Over time, moisture will find its way to the sheathing itself and into the home, likely causing damage that is neither cheap nor easy to repair.
Remember that your siding spends every day of the year protecting your home from the sun, wind, rain, and snow. Be sure to repair or replace damaged siding as necessary to keep your home safe and comfortable. Reach out to a company like Weather-Tek Home Remodeling Center to learn more.