Water Leaking Behind Siding? 6 Steps to Take Right Now

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: October 20, 2022

Water leaking behind siding isn’t always obvious right away. Your home’s exterior appears to be in good shape, but you don’t see moisture seeping behind siding and slowly causing water damage. Over time, the damp creeps through sheathing and insulation. It can ruin interior walls, ceilings and floors.

With a little knowledge about siding leak detection and siding repairs, you can solve this problem.

ServiceMaster by Zaba restores water-damaged homes in Chicago and the suburbs every day. We know why siding leaks happen, how to spot them, how to fix leaky siding and how to prevent it from happening again.

Let’s take a closer look under the vinyl siding on your house.

How Does Water Get Behind Siding?

water damaged siding

Vinyl siding is a very popular choice for residential construction. It’s affordable, durable and low-maintenance. Vinyl’s waterproof composition is another plus, but the material is designed to expand, and that can cause problems.

These are a few examples of how moisture gets trapped behind your home’s siding.

  • Clogged gutters leaking behind siding spread water damage into exterior wood sheathing.
  • Water under siding can often be traced back to bad caulking around window and door frames.
  • Installing new siding over original siding materials can allow damp to seep under outer edges.
  • The runoff from a leaky roof trickles down a home’s exterior and seeps between siding and wood sheathing.
  • Heavy, wind-driven rain can push moisture into seams and cracks where it accumulates behind siding.
  • Siding ages out at 20 to 30 years and develops cracks that allow moisture to penetrate its surface.
  • Faulty installation can result in loose siding joints that expand too much during extreme weather.

What Are the Signs of Water Behind Your Home’s Siding?

Unless the material is old or badly worn, you don’t usually notice signs of water leaking behind the siding. However, there are clues that show up inside and outside the house.

Be on the lookout for these indicators of leaky siding.

  • Unexplained stains on ceilings and walls adjacent to exteriors
  • Condensation around windows when temperatures rapidly change
  • Efflorescence on basement walls and floors as well as foundation exteriors
  • Water stains on foundation walls caused by leaking between the siding and foundation

What Happens When Water Gets Behind Siding?

Because the material is waterproof, vinyl siding tends to trap moisture that accumulates behind it. The damp permeates your home’s wood sheathing and seeps into insulation sheets between exterior and interior walls.

The result is often extensive hidden mold growth. The fungus goes undetected until you see visible signs of mold on interior walls. You may also notice a pervasive musty smell throughout the house.

Can Water Leaking Behind Siding Cause Structural Damage?

Yes, water leaks behind your home’s siding can lead to structural damage. Whether it’s installed over plywood or OSB sheathing, the material interferes with natural evaporation. Accumulated damp behind siding results in wood rot.

Most homeowners can dry out damp interior walls with the right DIY techniques and equipment. However, heavy-duty structural drying is a process that belongs in the hands of water restoration professionals. Our teams here at ServiceMaster by Zaba offer this specialized service to residents all across Chicagoland.

How Do You Fix Leaky Vinyl Siding?

repairing leaky vinyl siding

Knowing how to stop water from seeping under exterior walls depends on figuring out why it’s leaking behind the siding. There are several ways to approach this type of repair.

1. Start by rounding up a caulking gun and sealant; you may need a sturdy ladder too.

2. Closely inspect exteriors adjacent to the signs of leaking siding that we covered earlier.

3. Seal siding from water by applying a plug of elastomeric caulk to small surface cracks.

4. Caulk siding leaks around doors and windows, but be careful not to seal up window weep holes.

5. If leaking occurs along the siding’s J-channel trim, caulk under its edge at a 45-degree angle.

6. Glide loose siding back into place by sliding a vinyl siding removal tool along its edge.

How Do You Prevent Water Damage Behind Siding?

Leaky siding serves as a good example of a problem that’s easier to avoid than solve. We recommend these simple tips for preventing water damage behind the siding on your home.

  • Keep gutters and downspouts repaired and free of clogs.
  • Replace damaged flashing around windows and doors.
  • Closely check siding J-channels after heavy rains.
  • Be very careful when installing new siding over old.
  • Give your home’s siding a close inspection at least twice a year.

Has Leaky Siding Caused Water Damage Inside Your Chicago Home? We Can Help!

Even when you catch it right away, water behind siding causes long-lasting damage to the inside of your home. Whether the problem is large or small, we take care of it. ServiceMaster by Zaba handles structural drying, interior tear-outs, mold removal and restoration from floors to ceilings and down in basements inside your home.

We know you’re proud of keeping your home looking its best inside and out. When you need help, count on us for the best water damage restoration services in Chicago: 773-647-1985