Woodpecker Damage to Siding
Our house recently suffered some woodpecker damage on the siding. I am attaching a picture that shows the damage — this is the side over the garage (north). There’s also some woodpecker damage on the front facing (east) siding. While otherwise the siding on these two sides of the house is in fine shape, I did notice that the other two sides show some rot/aging related deterioration. The house was built in 1987. I am trying to figure out if repairing, that is, filling up the holes & replacing the damaged sidings, will do the job, or if it needs to be completely replaced.
Even with just repairing the woodpecker inflicted holes/chips, I have had a multitude of suggestions. One said, epoxy, another said, wood filler, another said, bondo. (One contractor told me plainly that it is an urban myth that Woodpeckers attack siding due to rot or bugs, he said, it is just a mating ritual — pecking on the siding makes more noise than pecking on the trees).
If I go the replacement route, should I just do a like for like replacement or should I opt for the fiber cement siding that has been recommending. While I appreciate the durability of fiber cement, there are two issues I would love an opinion on:
1) It seems to me that even the inexpensive siding I currently have lasted pretty long, though in the 27 years it was probably painted 3-4 times. Is it true that with fiber cement I would not need to worry about another painting job for the next 15 years? And the siding itself will hold strong for 50 years?
2) I am assuming that fiber cement (Hardie variety) will be much heavier than the planks I have right now. Will the foundation of our house be strong enough to support that kind of additional weight all around?
Any insights would be highly appreciated,
Sorry to hear of your recent woodpecker damage. I hope I can be of some service in helping you resolve your home maintenance problems.
You appear to have a reverse board and batten plywood siding often branded as T-111 siding. This type siding may be either 3/8 inch thick or 5/8 inch thick. If your siding is 3/8 inch thick, it most likely has some other type sheeting behind it such as 1/2″ plywood, located at the corners, in conjunction with 1/2″ fiber board or possibly 1/2 inch styrofoam sheeting, located in the central sections of the walls. If this is the case the plywood sheeting provides lateral bracing for the wall framing as required by code and the fiber board or styrofoam, which is less expensive than plywood, is used to maintain a level plane upon which to apply the siding and also adds about R 1.5 insulation value.
5/8 inch thick plywood siding is strong enough to provide the lateral bracing required by code and may be attached to the studs with only a vapor barrier underneath. If this is the case any siding you replace it with must also meet code requirements for lateral bracing or a suitable code compliant sheeting such as plywood or OSB must be installed under the siding.
There are three reasons why a woodpecker may be damaging your home. It may be pecking to make noise to attract a mate and warn off potential rivals, it may be looking for food, or it may be trying to build a nest. (source ~ Audubon)
Carpenter bees often bore holes in homes to hibernate and rear their young. Carpenter bee larva are a favorite of woodpeckers. The following posts from my blog may help you determine if bees are attracting woodpeckers to your home and provide some insight on how to prevent both bee infestations and woodpecker damage. Bee Observant of Bee Damage and Woodpecker Damage
If the damage is not too great it is perfectly acceptable to repair either water damage or woodpecker damage using a good wood filler such as Bondo wood filler, which is thicker and less prone to oozing than Bondo auto body filler. (if areas to be repaired are golf ball size or smaller Bondo-auto body filler will work just as well) This post,Woodpecker Damage Repair,
from my blog details a proven procedure to repair wood damage using Bondo.
Without personally examining your siding it would be improper for me to advise you on whether to repair it, or replace it with the same or a different siding. I can however discuss some options that may help you make a more informed decision for yourself.
T-111 siding is still available and with proper maintenance is an excellent product. It will need to be thoroughly caulked and painted to maintain a pristine condition but a normal home painting schedule should be sufficient. Another possible alternative is LP SmartSide Panels. SmartSide panels are available in both structural and non-structural versions and have a good warranty. A normal home painting schedule should still be maintained.
Hardie and other cement fiber products are a good choice in siding but there is often too much emphasis placed on how maintenance free they are. Because cement fiber siding itself does not require painting as often as some other types of siding, home owners are often lulled into neglecting proper maintenance on their home. Many modern paints when properly applied can protect a home for fifteen or more years on individual surfaces. Most houses should still be painted every seven years or so anyway, not because the paint has failed but rather the caulk joints around the windows and doors and where the siding meets corner boards or other trim boards. The siding and often dissimilar materials in these joints expand and contract at different rates due to heat, cold and humidity levels resulting in caulking failure and water infiltration. Joints where brick molding meets window or door sills are a prime example of areas that start to decay prematurely due to caulking failure.
Cement fiber siding is quite heavy but the foundation and framing on any properly constructed home is more than sufficient to support the extra weight.
Good luck with your siding project.
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