Ready to transform your home’s exterior? New siding offers a fantastic boost to curb appeal and can even increase your home’s overall value. Spring’s the perfect time to tackle this project, but success isn’t guaranteed. Hidden mistakes can derail even the most well-intentioned siding installation. Let’s dive into the common pitfalls you absolutely must avoid to ensure your siding project goes smoothly and delivers the beautiful results you’re hoping for.

Low-end cheap sidings

Using Low-End Cheap Sidings

The initial sticker price of cheap, low-quality siding might seem appealing, but it’s a short-sighted decision with costly repercussions. These inferior materials won’t withstand the elements: expect rapid fading, unsightly cracking, and overall deterioration. This leads to a vicious cycle of premature repairs or even full replacement, negating any initial savings.

Conversely, investing in high-quality siding is a smart financial move. Durable, well-crafted siding maintains its beauty and protects your home for decades.

This longevity, coupled with improved curb appeal, translates to tangible value. Remember, re-siding a mid-sized home offers an average return on investment of 78.2% – proof that choosing quality siding upgrades your home and your bottom line.

 incorrect combination of color and style for a house's siding

Choosing the Incorrect Combination of Color and Style

Your siding is one of your home’s most prominent features, so choosing the right color is crucial. The wrong combination can hurt its overall look and even impact resale value. Here’s what you need to consider:

  • Play it Safe (Mostly): Bold, eccentric colors might reflect your personality, but they can be a turn-off for potential buyers. Stick with classic neutrals or earth tones for broader appeal.

  • Get Inspired, Get Help: Stuck on a color scheme? Browse online resources for siding color ideas, check out homes in your neighborhood, or consult an exterior design professional.

  • Think Resale: While it’s your home now, consider future marketability. Timeless siding colors and styles will attract the widest range of buyers if you decide to sell.

Exterior wall showing flawed installation and mismatched panels

Choosing the Incorrect Sort of Siding

Before diving into the world of siding styles and colors, there’s a crucial decision: the siding material itself. With so many options, research is your best friend to avoid costly mistakes. Here’s a breakdown to get you started:

  • Vinyl Siding: Pros and Cons: Vinyl’s affordability is tempting, but be aware of its limitations. It can become brittle, crack under impact, and fade over time.

  • Stucco Siding: Durability with a Price: Stucco offers exceptional longevity and a classic look. However, installation costs are high and it requires specialized maintenance.

  • The Wide World of Siding: Don’t forget about fiber cement, wood, metal, and engineered wood sidings. Each has benefits and tradeoffs depending on your climate, budget, and style preferences.

Action Steps:

  • Assess Your Needs: Consider your home’s location (climate matters!), budget, and how much maintenance you’re willing to do.

  • Get Material Samples: See and touch siding examples to gauge quality and appearance.

  • Consult with Contractors: Get professional insights on recommended materials for your area and home style.

.Selecting the Wrong Candidates for the Job

Selecting the Wrong Candidates for the Job

Don’t trust your home’s exterior to just anyone! Hiring a professional siding contractor is essential for a beautiful, long-lasting transformation. Here’s how to find the best fit:

  1. Verify Credentials: Start by ensuring the contractor is licensed and carries both liability and workers’ compensation insurance. This protects you from financial risk in case of accidents or damage.

  2. Experience Matters: Ask about their years in the industry and specifically their expertise with your desired siding material. Request references from recent clients to follow up on their work.

  3. Reputation Check: Go beyond the company’s website! Look for reviews on trusted third-party platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Yelp for a more unbiased assessment of their work quality and customer service.

  4. Compare and Choose: Don’t settle for the first option. Get quotes and compare services from multiple qualified contractors to find the best value and a team you feel comfortable with.

Installing a wall-mounted shelf

Installing Things on Your Own

Thinking about tackling your siding installation yourself? Hold on! While DIY projects can be rewarding, siding installation is a job best left to the professionals. Here’s why:

  • Expertise Matters: Siding protects your entire home from wind, rain, and harsh weather. Proper installation requires precise measurements, knowledge of flashing techniques, and flawless integration around windows and doors. A few YouTube videos simply can’t replicate years of experience that professional installers possess.

  • Guaranteed Quality: Professional siding contractors have the skills and experience to deliver a flawless finish that enhances your home’s curb appeal and protects your investment for years to come.

  • Save Time and Money: While the upfront cost of hiring a professional might seem higher, it can actually save you money in the long run. Pros work efficiently, minimizing project duration and saving you precious weekends. Additionally, you won’t need to invest in expensive, specialized tools that you’ll likely never use again.

Considering a Handyman? Choose Wisely!

If a full siding contractor is outside your budget, consider a licensed and insured handyman. However, ensure they have a proven track record and a strong team specifically experienced in siding installation.

Action Steps: Get Your Dream Siding Now!

Ready to give your home a beautiful and protective upgrade? Here’s what to do next:

  1. Research: Look for licensed and insured siding contractors in your area. Check online reviews and ask for recommendations from friends and neighbors.

  2. Get Quotes: Contact several contractors and request detailed quotes outlining the materials, labor costs, warranties offered, and estimated project timeline.

  3. Make an Informed Decision: Compare quotes and choose a contractor who offers the best value, clear communication, and a proven track record of quality work.

Close-up view of compartmental joints

Compartmental Siding Joints

Overlapping siding joints might seem simple, but getting it wrong can ruin the entire look of your home. Improper overlap causes an unsightly “wavy” appearance that will make your project look amateurish. Here’s how to ensure perfect overlap:

Understanding the Ideal Overlap

  • The Sweet Spot: Always aim for a siding joint overlap between 1 and 1 ¼ inches.

  • Why It Matters: This overlap allows for natural expansion and contraction of siding material due to weather changes. Too little overlap leaves gaps, while too much creates the dreaded wavy effect.

Tips for Perfect Overlap

  • Measure Twice, Cut Once: Carefully measure and mark your siding pieces before cutting, ensuring the correct overlap when installed.

  • Visual Check: As you install each piece, visually inspect the overlap from a distance to catch any errors.

  • Temperature Matters: Account for outdoor temperature. Siding may expand in heat and contract in cold, slightly affecting your overlap measurements.

Close-up of roofing nail driven incorrectly, causing shingle misalignment

Incorrect Nail Technique

Nailing siding might seem straightforward, but there’s an art to getting the correct tension. Here’s why it matters and how to nail it:

  • Embrace Expansion: Siding materials naturally expand and contract with temperature changes. Nailing too tightly restricts this movement, leading to buckling and cracks.

  • Loose = Loss: On the flip side, overly loose nails will cause your siding to sag, especially in hot weather.

  • The Goldilocks Zone: Aim for a tiny gap – about 1/32 of an inch – between the nail head and the siding. This allows for necessary movement.

Beyond tension, visibility matters. Exposed nail heads create tiny entry points for moisture, leading to potential rot and mold. Aim to have them just barely visible after installation.

Why This Detail Matters

  • Longevity: Properly nailed siding lasts longer and performs better, protecting your home.

  • Curb Appeal: Buckled or sagging siding is an eyesore. Nailing it right makes a big aesthetic difference.

  • Problem Prevention: Fighting rot or mold is costly and time-consuming. Prevent it with proper nailing technique.


If you’re ready to dramatically improve your home’s appearance and increase its value, new siding is a phenomenal investment. However, to ensure long-lasting beauty and protection, avoiding these common mistakes is absolutely crucial. By choosing quality materials, selecting a reputable contractor, understanding siding overlap, and mastering nailing techniques, you’ll guarantee that your investment will bring years of satisfaction and curb-appeal-enhancing pride.


FAQs: Your Guide to Avoiding Siding Installation Mistakes 

  • How do I know if I need to replace my siding?
    Look for signs of damage like cracks, warping, fading, rot (especially on wood siding), and loose or missing pieces. Additionally, if your energy bills are higher than expected or you notice water intrusion inside your home, consider a siding inspection.

  • Can I install siding myself, or should I hire a professional?
    Siding installation requires specialized skills and tools. While DIY is possible, most homeowners achieve better results, stronger warranties, and save time and money in the long run by hiring a licensed siding contractor with experience in their chosen material type.

  • How much does siding installation cost?
    The cost varies greatly depending on your home’s size, the materials chosen, the complexity of the job, and regional labor costs. Always get written quotes from several reputable contractors for comparisons.
  • What’s the best type of siding for my home?
    There’s no single “best” choice for everyone. The ideal type of siding depends on your climate, budget, desired aesthetic, and maintenance preferences. Popular options include vinyl, fiber cement, stucco, wood, and engineered wood. Do your research and discuss the pros and cons with a qualified contractor.
  • How long does new siding last?
    Well-installed, quality siding materials can last for decades. Vinyl and fiber cement siding often have warranties of 20-30 years or more. Stucco can potentially last 50+ years. Always check material warranties and get details about workmanship warranties from your contractor.