Does home need a good strap­ping? Maybe

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - ARI MARANTZ

QUES­TION: I have a 26-year-old home in Win­nipeg. I am go­ing to be putting on a new roof, along with new sof­fits, fas­cia and eave­strough­ing. I also have a small por­tion at the front of my house that cur­rently has cedar sid­ing, which has been painted over sev­eral times and is in good con­di­tion. I was think­ing of re­plac­ing the cedar sid­ing with vinyl sid­ing so the ex­te­rior of the house is vir­tu­ally main­te­nance-free. I re­placed the win­dows last year with triple-pane PVC.

I have re­ceived sev­eral quotes to in­stall the vinyl sid­ing and some of the contractors rec­om­mend go­ing over the ex­ist­ing cedar while the oth­ers rec­om­mend re­mov­ing the sid­ing. I have been told that un­der­neath the cedar sid­ing is a ma­te­rial called buf­falo board. The ones that ad­vised me to leave the cedar in place and go over top say the cedar pro­vides a solid base to screw/ nail into, while re­mov­ing the sid­ing would re­quire strap­ping to be put in place at cer­tain in­ter­vals.

Can you please ad­vise me as to what is the proper way to in­stall vinyl sid­ing for this type of ap­pli­ca­tion? Any ad­vice you can give me would be greatly ap­pre­ci­ated. — Rick Jansen

AN­SWER: Un­like many house is­sues, there may more than one proper prepa­ra­tion method for in­stal­la­tion of the new vinyl sid­ing on your home. Both op­tions pre­sented would be ac­cept­able, depend­ing on other prepa­ra­tions and the style of wood sid­ing on your home. I will of­fer sug­ges­tions for nec­es­sary com­po­nents prior to retrofitting the new sid­ing, whether you re­move the ex­ist­ing cedar sid­ing, or not.

The pri­mary rea­son you have stated for not re­mov­ing the ex­ist­ing sid­ing, as rec­om­mended by some contractors, is the lack of the re­quire­ment for strap­ping the walls prior to in­stal­la­tion. They have sug­gested the cedar sid­ing would pro­vide a solid sub­strate for nail­ing the new sid­ing, but this de­pends on sev­eral fac­tors. The first of these is­sues is the con­di­tion of the ex­ist­ing wood. If the wood is at all mois­ture-dam­aged or rot­ten, it may not hold a nail for more than a short time be­fore it lets go. It may also crack or split eas­ily when nailed if it is too far gone or too dry. If ei­ther of these con­di­tions ex­ists, the dam­aged sid­ing would have to be re­moved and re­placed with ma­te­rial of equal thick­ness, to pre­vent un­even­ness in the new sid­ing.

The next con­sid­er­a­tion should be the style of the ex­ist­ing wood sid­ing on your home. If the older boards are tongue and groove or shiplap style, re­moval should not be nec­es­sary, if the pre­vi­ous cri­te­ria are met. Un­for­tu­nately, many older homes in Win­nipeg have lap sid­ing or other pat­terns that are un­even on the sur­face.

If your house has typ­i­cal hor­i­zon­tal lap sid­ing it may not be nec­es­sary to re­move it, but you will surely have to strap it with ver­ti­cal boards for the new vinyl. Be­cause the width of the in­di­vid­ual pan­els of vinyl sid­ing may not cor­re­spond to the width of the older wood, it would be nearly im­pos­si­ble to nail the new sid­ing in place and keep it smooth. Be­cause lap sid­ing will have dif­fer­ent thick­nesses in ev­ery row, nail­ing the new sid­ing to a flat sur­face will not be pos­si­ble. The re­sults would be a dis­as­ter, as the new vinyl sur­face would be wavy and look ter­ri­ble.

For these rea­sons, if the older sid­ing has a sig­nif­i­cant amount of rot in vari- ous ar­eas, or does not have a con­sis­tent, smooth sur­face it would have to be fully strapped be­fore in­stal­la­tion of the new vinyl.

Which­ever de­ci­sion is made, there is an ad­di­tional step that may be nec­es­sary prior to bang­ing on the new low­main­te­nance ex­te­rior on your home. Vinyl sid­ing is de­signed to be loos­e­fit­ting on the fas­ten­ers to al­low for ex­pan­sion and con­trac­tion. Be­cause of this fea­ture, wa­ter may be able to seep be­hind the plas­tic sur­face dur­ing heavy rains. There are in­te­gral drainage holes at the bot­tom of each strip of sid­ing to al­low this mois­ture to leak out, but the wall be­hind must still be pro­tected from rot and mois­ture in­tru­sion.

Buf­falo board, or fi­bre­board sheath­ing, is of­ten im­preg­nated with a bi­tu­men-based coat­ing to help with mois­ture re­sis­tance, but this should also be cov­ered with a fur­ther, thin mem­brane. Build­ing wrap or com­mon build­ing paper should be in­stalled over the soft fi­bre­board or wood prior to strap­ping to meet this re­quire­ment. This will not only pro­vide mois­ture pro­tec­tion be­hind the ex­te­rior wall sheath­ing, it will also add a proper air bar­rier, which may not have orig­i­nally been part of the wall assem­bly in this area. If there is an ex­ist­ing build­ing-paper layer be­hind the wood sid­ing and it’s still in ser­vice­able con­di­tion, this step may not be nec­es­sary.

As I’ve said, the wood sid­ing may or may not be re­moved depend­ing on the de­sires of the new sid­ing in­stal­la­tion crew. The main con­sid­er­a­tion is the con­di­tion and de­sign of the ex­ist­ing cedar sid­ing, but win­dows and doors also have to be looked at. If you don’t re­move the ex­ist­ing wood on the ex­te­rior, the new sid­ing may stick out be­yond the ex­ist­ing brick mould­ing or frames of the win­dows. If the sid­ing is lap sid­ing, and it is taken off, strap­ping may be needed just to al­low the new vinyl to prop­erly line up with ex­ist­ing trim on the house.

As with most home ren­o­va­tions, ask­ing as many ques­tions as you can of your ren­o­va­tion contractors, and get­ting a min­i­mum of three quotes, will usu­ally guide you to the right choice.

Vinyl sid­ing

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