Need to Replace Siding, Now What?

Help I Need Siding Replacement! Now What?


It is apparent that the siding on the home or commercial structure should be replaced, what should be considered?


The following circumstances will identify the need to replace the siding.

1.) Water is penetrating the exterior facade of the structure and causing moisture and water damage in the interior areas of the structure.  

2.) Water is entering the interior of the structure around the windows and the doors.  

3.) The siding is separating from the sides of the structure.  If the siding is wood, it is separating and failing around the structure.  If the siding is vinyl or aluminum, it is visually apparent that the siding trim pieces are falling off, or failing, and that the siding itself is becoming compromised.

4.) The siding has become so faded and colorless, this situation can be rectified with a power wash and a paint job, which will not provide the longevity of a new siding installation on the home.


Technology and research has advanced the development of various siding products, to eliminate the old issues of color fading as well as product shrinkage and expansion.  The various new sidings available for replacement siding is substantial, and should be researched thoroughly.  Listed below is a brief summary of the various alternate siding materials that should be considered.

1.) Vinyl siding / The use of vinyl siding to replace existing siding, is a very popular alternative.  The durability of this type of siding is excellent, and now that the fading issues as well as any expansion and contraction characteristics have been minimized, the choice of a vinyl siding is both economical and practical.  Vinyl siding is also available in numerous types of textures, colors and configurations.  The combination of clapboards and half rounds, or shakes, provides  a very pleasing architectural appearance.  Combinations of composite plank for the trim, and vinyl siding is a great method of creating a very uniform and structurally stable siding.  

2.) Cement board / There are several different types of synthetic cement board siding materials that are available as replacement siding.  The use of cement board will provide years of reliability, and will sustain the effects of all weather elements.  The proper installation of cement board siding will be more expensive than a vinyl or aluminum siding application, however the appearance as well as the longevity of the siding will far outlast any other material.  Cement board can be provided in pre-colored panels and siding configurations, or it can be painted onsite for a custom appearance.  

3.) Wood siding / Authenticity is the goal of residing with a wood product.  The original siding materials used for siding, were, other than masonry, always a wood product.  The colonial clapboard homes, or the board and batten assemblies used on homes and out-buildings, were always made of wood products.  The negative aspect of a wood siding, is the required maintenance of the product.  There are certain types of wood, such as cedar, that will sustain their structural integrity and appearance, without continued maintenance, however, this is not a recommended solution to a contemporary residing application.  Natural wood, if properly installed, with all of the necessary drip edging and flashings, will provide a very sustainable solution to re-siding. However the installation must be performed by a professional, that is extremely knowledgeable regarding the installation of wood siding.  Of course, the color of the siding and trim is totally custom, and can reflect whatever creative look the owner requires.

4.) Masonry products / The use of a real masonry product such as brick or stone, or the new synthetic veneers that have been developed, will provide a unique and stable exterior facade.  The use of a masonry product will be the most expensive solution to a residing project, however, the forever nature of masonry, will produce the most professional and substantial appearance to the home or structure.  The use of a masonry veneer will normally require special structural supports to stabilize the veneer of the structure.  In the majority of cases, these structural supports will be professionally designed by a structural engineer to ensure proper installation.

5.) EIFS / The use of an exterior insulated finishing system ( EIFS ) can also be considered as a residing application.  Used on commercial structures, extensively, the EIFS systems have been developed to provide different architectural facade appearances as well as provide additional exterior wall insulation.  Research should be done, prior to the selection of the final siding material, to make the homeowner aware of the various systems available as an EIFS system.  One of the negative characteristics of the system, is the softness of the actual surface.  The placement of a ladder against the system, could produce a dimple effect on the EIFS.  There are different applications for the system, that can be used on the lower areas of the facade to diminish this negative characteristic.  

There are certain specific considerations that should be discussed and determined, when considering a residing project.

1.) The ability to increase the insulation value of the exterior wall.  If a structure is being resided, this is a perfect opportunity to enhance the insulation value of the exterior wall.  There are various rigid insulation boards that can be installed, prior to the new siding, as well as the possibility of applying a spray foam application to the exterior sheathing, prior to the installation of the new siding.

2.) The  opportunity to reconstruct any of the exterior walls that may have deteriorated due to water damage, should be taken.  Once the siding has been removed from the exterior walls of the home, the original sheathing is exposed.  Any compromises of this exterior system should be corrected, prior to the application of the selected new siding.

3.) All flashings and waterproofing items around the perimeter of the home should be inspected and corrected if damaged or not properly installed.  The heads, jambs and sills of all the exterior openings should be inspected and the proper flashings installed.  This is the time to correct any outstanding issues that have caused problems in the past.

4.) The removal of the existing siding, provides the opportunity to cut in new windows or doors, or reconstruct the exterior facade of the home.  Any thoughts of adding a window or a door should be carefully considered when the old siding has been removed, and prior to the installation of the new siding. Any new renovations or revisions on the exterior facade should be considered, while the siding is off.  I think of this opportunity as similar to the opening of a roadway.  It is best to make all cuts and openings, prior to the application of a new surface material.

5.) Consideration should be given to the application of another level of moisture protection, such as a new layer of house wrap or waterproofing fabric.  If the home is located along the water, the application of snow and ice shield on the facade, facing the water, should be considered.  I have always been a proponent of multiple levels of protection on a building, if water problems have persisted.  This is the time to install the proper waterproofing materials, flashings and special surface coatings, to ensure that once the new siding is on the building, there are no additional water leaks.

As I have reiterated on this website, the presence of water and moisture is the most harmful instigator to future problems and concerns.  


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