When re­plac­ing sid­ing start with a clean slate

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

QI read an ar­ti­cle you wrote on the In­ter­net and it prompted me to ask about a new sid­ing project on our home we are plan­ning. The house still has the old cedar lap sid­ing, which has be­come a bear to up­keep with paint and caulk and so much of it is rot­ten. A num­ber of years ago we had all the win­dows re­placed. I’ve done some re­search and have been im­pressed so far with the LP SmartSide prod­uct. It looks good, is eas­ier to in­stall than fiber ce­ment, and it’s not cheap look­ing like vinyl sid­ing and lasts longer. Cur­rently the house has only the sid­ing, no sheath­ing, blown in cel­lu­lose in­su­la­tion, which we did 26 years ago, be­cause there was no in­su­la­tion at all. On the in­side, most of the walls are plas­ter with a gazil­lion lay­ers of paint. That’s it, cedar sid­ing, studs, dry­wall. What is your pro­fes­sional opin­ion of the Smart Side prod­uct com­pared to oth­ers like ce­ment board or vinyl or real wood again? Also, what is the process for this old house? From what I have re­searched, the way to do this project would be to re­move all the old sid­ing, put in new in­su­la­tion batts, ply­wood sheath­ing, house wrap, then lathe strips for air space for the sid­ing. Would this help pre­vent mois­ture prob­lems? For this process I as­sume a va­por bar­rier can­not be put in un­less you re­moved all the in­te­rior walls? I’m re­ally do­ing my re­search be­cause we’ve had sev­eral sid­ing “ex­perts” give us es­ti­mates, most are say­ing that they just put the sid­ing up over the old stuff and then beef up the widow trim and wrap with alu­minum. I’m not buy­ing into that. Seems like it’s putting a Band-Aid over a ma­jor cut need­ing stitches. Thank you so much in ad­vance for your ad­vice, Deb­o­rah Black­well, Wis­con­sin We have a house that was built in 1962 and we are look­ing at putting sid­ing on. We got a quote from a com­pany, but they want to re­move the orig­i­nal wood sid­ing be­fore they put the new sid­ing on and the quote is quite high. I just want to know what your thoughts are on this, as a lot of com­pa­nies just put the vinyl sid­ing over the ex­ist­ing wood sid­ing? Thanks, Mar­i­lyn Neu­mann An­swer: When won­der­ing about whether to go the ex­tra mile dur­ing ren­o­va­tions or up­grades, you should al­ways err on the side of a lit­tle more, rather than a lit­tle less. As the of­ten overused say­ing goes, “do it once, do it right”. Choos­ing a prod­uct to use for retro­fit sid­ing on an ex­ist­ing home can be a slightly daunt­ing task, due to the nu­mer­ous op­tions avail­able. I’m afraid that I am not at all familiar with the prod­uct in the first in­quiry, so fur­ther re­search may be re­quired be­fore set­tling on it. The main thing to ex­plore are the long-term re­sults of pre­vi­ous cus­tomers who have used this prod­uct. How long has it been in use, par­tic­u­larly in a cold cli­mate lo­ca­tion like Wis­con­sin? Has it held up well to the snow, cold, and heavy rain that may be nor­mal en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions in your area? This in­for­ma­tion is crit­i­cal be­cause a lot of build­ing prod­ucts may be de­vel­oped and suc­cess­fully used in mod­er­ate cli­mates, but will not do well with the ex­tremes in tem­per­a­ture and hu­mid­ity fluc­tu­a­tions in our north­ern ar­eas. As far as the meth­ods that should be em­ployed to re­place the ex­ist­ing sid­ing on the homes in both sub­mis­sions, more is bet­ter. While it may be pos­si­ble to in­stall new sid­ing over top of older lay­ers, it is not ad­vis­able for sev­eral rea­son. Firstly, the older wood sid­ing may have a fair bit of wood rot or de­cay that may be hid­den. This will con­tinue to oc­cur if it is cov­ered with an­other layer of sid­ing, which may even pro­mote quicker de­te­ri­o­ra­tion due to the lack of fresh air and sun for dry­ing. Also, re­mov­ing the older lay­ers of sid­ing will al­low a good in­spec­tion of the sheath­ing be­neath. This is im­por­tant to see if mois­ture has pen­e­trated the sid­ing layer, caus­ing dam­age to the sheath­ing or fram­ing. With the sid­ing off, any dam­aged sheath­ing may be eas­ily re­placed. Go­ing to the sheath­ing level will also al­low re­moval of any older build­ing pa­per that may also be dam­aged, and al­low easy in­stal­la­tion of new pa­per or house­wrap un­der the new sid­ing. Re­mov­ing older sid­ing may also al­low for im­prove­ments in the ther­mal pro­tec­tion of the ex­ist­ing ex­te­rior walls. Be­cause older homes of­ten have min­i­mal in­su­la­tion in the walls, re­mov­ing the wood sid­ing should al­low easy ac­cess for re­mov­ing the old sheath­ing and in­su­lat­ing the wall cav­i­ties from the out­side. This will al­low for a high qual­ity job, with­out ma­jor dis­rup­tion in­side. It will add a sig­nif­i­cant cost to the job, es­pe­cially re­plac­ing all the sheath­ing, but may be well worth the ef­fort. Al­ter­na­tively, rigid in­su­la­tion can of­ten be in­stalled over top of the ex­ist­ing sheath­ing on the ex­te­rior, prior to the new sid­ing layer. Ei­ther of th­ese meth­ods should im­prove com­fort and en­ergy con­ser­va­tion lev­els within the homes. The fi­nal con­sid­er­a­tion are the win­dows and doors. In­stal­la­tion of an ad­di­tional layer of sid­ing over the old will add thick­ness to the ex­te­rior walls. This will nor­mally re­quire build­ing up all the door and win­dow frames or brick moulds. That can add quite a bit of time and cost to the job, so re­moval of older sid­ing and re­place­ment with a prod­uct roughly the same thick­ness may negate the need for this ad­di­tional work. While it may be pos­si­ble to save some time and money when up­grad­ing older sid­ing on a home by go­ing over top of the ex­ist­ing, it is not a smart choice. Re­mov­ing the older sid­ing to ac­com­mo­date the new ma­te­rial will do a bet­ter job, pos­si­bly pre­vent­ing costly ex­ten­sions on the win­dow frames, as well as im­prove­ments to the in­su­la­tion. When do­ing home ren­o­va­tions go­ing that ex­tra step is al­most al­ways the right ap­proach. Ari Marantz is the owner of Trained Eye Home In­spec­tion Ltd. and the past pres­i­dent of the Canadian As­so­ci­a­tion of Home & Prop­erty In­spec­tors — Man­i­toba (cahpi.mb.ca). Ques­tions can be emailed to the ad­dress be­low. Ari can be reached at 204-291-5358 or check out

his web­site at trained­eye.ca.


Be­fore a ren­o­va­tion, this house had the small win­dows and drab sid­ing that gave it the look of a mo­bile home.

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