Updated: Jul 9, 2021
Siding isn't supposed to give a rattling effect. If you can hear your siding moving, or so it flapping in the wind, it means that it is loose and needs to be re-enforced before it falls down or gets blown away by the wind. Siding is supposed to be sturdy enough that it doesn't move or make noise. So what causes siding to rattle? Inadequate nailing techniques during the installation will cause your siding to be loose and make noise when there is wind.
To be clear, this post focuses on engineered wood and fiber cement lap siding. Vinyl siding is very noisy. It allows wind to enter behind it, which can make loose bits of plastic-wrap buzz, but it isn't as loud as improperly installed fiber cement or engineered wood siding. To avoid these issues. it is required that all siding types be installed to the specifications of the manufacturer so that it can properly withstand these elements.
Signs Your Siding Is Loose:
You can hear it rattling when there is wind
When you tug at the bottom of the plank, it rebounds before it settles back into place
Bottom planks aren't aligned with each other (some planks are shifting down)
You can see that it moves dramatically or lifts when there is wind
Some Improper Nailing Techniques:
Not securing the siding to the studs
Nailing the siding too high up in the hidden plank
Nailing too tightly or loosely
Not putting enough nails per plank
How to correct the issue?
You must re-enforce the siding by re-nailing it. The best solution is to go plank by plank and nail the sections that feel loose. Lightly tug at each plank. If it can easily lift up or bounce then it is too loose. You may need to remove a few boards and re-hang them properly if you notice they aren't aligned with the surrounding siding anymore. The reason some siding planks slide down is mainly due to having nailed it too high up the hidden plank. You may also discover that some siding may not be unusable. Having an experienced siding contractor inspect handle the issue is the best route to go. If you feel confident in your DIY abilities, I strongly recommend following the installation specifications from the manufacturer, which can be found online.
How much does it cost to fix this issue?
The cost will widely depend on the size of the home, type of siding and course of action needed to correct the issue(s). You can expect to invest approximately 6k-1k to resolve the issue. Could be more, could be less. If your siding is relatively new and it has no other problems, then all you need to do is re-enforce it so it doesn't lift off with the wind. If your siding is old and has other issues, then the best solution is to get a complete siding replacement at this point.
What happens if it's left as-is?
Not only can the rattling be annoying and frightening to hear, it can also cause a bigger headache down the road. Improperly installed siding will eventually allow an array of issues to surround your home if pieces of siding fall off. When this occurs, it will leave the surrounding siding and your house vulnerable because water will be able to enter. Once water enters, it can attract serious issues such as mold (if it's warm), pests, termites, and interior damage to your home if it's exposed for a long period of time. If you see bubbling in your engineered wood siding then it is an indicator that moisture has already entered.