Water Leaking Behind Siding? 6 Steps to Take Right Now

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 29, 2024

If you’ve noticed moisture seeping behind your home’s siding, you must act immediately. 

Over time, the moisture can creep through sheathing and insulation and ruin interior walls, ceilings, and floors.

Fortunately, we’re here to help. 

ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba has more than 85 years of combined experience restoring water-damaged homes in Chicago and the suburbs. 

We’ve compiled our expertise into this guide to help you learn why siding leaks happen, how to spot them, how to fix leaky siding, and how to prevent it from happening again.

What Are The Signs Of Water Behind Your Home’s Siding?

foundation leaks

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

Be on the lookout for these indicators of leaky siding.

  • Stains on ceilings and walls adjacent to exteriors: Water stains or discoloration on indoor surfaces near the outer walls can indicate water infiltration from outside, potentially through the siding.
  • Condensation around windows: Beads of moisture forming on windows due to temperature differentials may suggest poor insulation or ventilation issues that could lead to water damage.
  • Efflorescence on basement walls and floors or foundation exteriors: White, powdery substance on masonry surfaces indicates water seepage, where minerals from the water are left behind as it evaporates.
  • Water stains on foundation walls: Water marks at the base of the walls can indicate water penetration from the space between the siding and the foundation, potentially causing structural damage.
  • Sagging or warped siding materials: Deformed or deteriorating siding can indicate prolonged exposure to moisture, leading to potential water damage and mold growth.
  • Peeling or bubbling paint on exterior walls: Paint that is peeling, blistering, or bubbling may signal moisture issues beneath the surface, which can result from water infiltration through the siding.
  • Mold growth on exterior walls: Mold or mildew on the outside walls can indicate excess moisture accumulation, often due to water intrusion from the siding.
  • Rotted wood or decayed siding: Wood that is soft, crumbly, or shows signs of decay can result from water damage, where prolonged exposure to moisture can compromise the integrity of the siding material.
  • Musty odors inside the home: Unpleasant musty smells indoors can be a symptom of hidden water leaks behind the siding, which can lead to mold growth and poor indoor air quality.

Before You Get Started 

To fix leaky vinyl siding and protect your home, follow these steps before you get started with any DIY fixes.

1. Grab your equipment

If necessary, gather a caulking gun, sealant, and a sturdy ladder. These tools will be essential for the repair process.

2. Thoroughly examine the exterior areas

Check out the area near the leaking siding for any visible signs that we previously discussed. This step helps pinpoint the source of the leak.

How To Fix Leaky Siding

To fix water intrusion issues, identify the issue and address it accordingly. 

Here’s how:

Cause: Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

How to Fix it: Keep gutters and downspouts repaired and free of clogs to prevent water buildup behind the siding.

Cause: Damaged Flashing

How to Fix it: Replace damaged flashing around windows and doors to maintain a watertight seal and prevent moisture infiltration.

Cause: Water Intrusion After Heavy Rain

How to Fix it: Closely check siding J channels after heavy rains to ensure water drainage and prevent water seepage. During heavy rain or wind-driven storms, inspect seams and cracks in the siding to prevent water from accumulating behind it.

Cause: Incorrect Siding Installation

How to Fix it: Be cautious when installing new siding over old to avoid trapping moisture between layers. 

Cause: Cracked, Dried-Out, or Worn Caulk

How to Fix it: Ensure proper caulking around window and door frames to prevent water infiltration behind the siding.

Cause: Improper Roof Maintenance

How to Fix it: Address leaky roofs promptly to prevent water from seeping down the exterior and causing damage behind the siding.

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

water damage restoration team

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

How do I prevent leaky sidings?

Inspect your siding regularly. After installation, inspect the siding at least twice a year to detect any issues early on. If you find areas where the siding is loose, refer to this guide on snapping siding back together.

What happens when water gets behind siding?

When water infiltrates the space behind a house’s siding, it can lead to a host of potential problems, including mold growth. Mold thrives in moist, dark environments, which makes the space behind damp siding an ideal breeding ground. The fungus goes undetected until you see visible signs of mold on interior walls. The presence of mold can lead to a musty odor emanating from the walls and health issues for the home’s inhabitants, including allergies and respiratory problems. Water behind siding can also compromise a home’s structural integrity over time. The constant presence of moisture can lead to wood rot in the framing and sheathing, weakening the structure and necessitating costly repairs. Additionally, moisture accumulation can attract pests such as termites and carpenter ants, which can cause further damage to a home’s wood structures. Water infiltration can also lead to the deterioration of insulation material, reducing its effectiveness and increasing heating and cooling costs. Over time, the aesthetic appearance of the siding itself can suffer thanks to symptoms like warping, staining, and peeling paint. These detract from the home’s curb appeal and can decrease its value.