As homeowners know, home maintenance and upkeep require constant expenditures. One of the most expensive areas of the home to maintain is the exterior surface. For this reason, most folks are careful about selecting the type of exterior-wall covering on their home, looking into whether it has lasting value and is low in maintenance.
Folks who sell vinyl siding will insist that it never needs painting. What they don't tell you is that it CAN'T be painted. Fact is, paint won't stick to plastic. This means that if you ever have a change of heart about the color of your house, you're stuck if you have vinyl. Somehow consumers associate the phrase "never needs painting" with the condition "never needs maintenance." Vinyl is nothing more than Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC or Plastic) and from the minute it is produced it starts giving off free chlorides (sort of plastic oxidation or deterioration). Eventually it becomes brittle and susceptible to cracking.
Metal siding is similar to vinyl siding in that it requires relatively little maintenance. However, it has a baked enamel (painted) surface and it tends to fade and oxidize just like any other painted metal surface, your car for example. Ever think you'd want to try hand-polishing and waxing your house? Also, metal siding has a potential maintenance problem that we don't often face with wood, stucco or stone ö dents and bends. Fortunately, these can be repaired if you have some extra material at hand and if you know the "secret."
When installed, metal siding is interlocked. The bottom of each piece is hooked into the top of the piece below. The interlocking configuration is much like tongue and groove wood. Nails, screws and other fasteners can be easily hidden.
With wood, a saw-cut at the joint is all that's needed to remove a damaged section. But with metal siding, a special tool is needed to unlock the interlock. With this $3 device the entire task becomes light work.
First, use the siding tool to unlock the damaged course of siding and the course above. Start at a corner, splice or other siding end-point and pull down and toward you as you move the siding tool sideways in the groove. Next, use metal snips to crosscut the siding at either side of the damaged area. Do not cut the pieces in the courses above or below.
Although the interlocking portions of the siding cannot be overlapped, the surface can. Notch the interlock sections back three-quarters of an inch at each end of the patch piece, top and bottom (four notches). Make sure that the ends of the replacement piece have been neatly cut. The overall appearance of the repair will depend on a pair of perfect slices. Practice on scrap material with your metal cutters until you get it right. There is no such thing as no maintenance siding.