Wood Siding - Best Practice Installation Method - Fine Homebuilding

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Job Site Diaries

Job Site Diaries


Wood Siding - Best Practice Installation Method

comments (0) June 28th, 2012 in Blogs
Matt Risinger Matt Risinger, Blogger

Video Length: 6:25
Produced by: Matt Risinger


Are you a wood snob like me?  Have you ever seen a vinyl or cement siding with the stamped "wood" grain and felt ill?  Well, we don't have to abandon wood siding.  We just need to install it with a bit of care.   
  My company is doing a very cool renovation & addition project to a 1935 house in Historic Clarksville which is a downtown neighborhood in Austin, TX.  The architect is Hugh Jefferson Randolph.  Here's a photo of the house before we started.  
The purpose of today's blog post is to show how we've pulled the original pine siding off the house and then re-installed it.  I just left the job site a few minutes ago and this 77 year old wood siding looks fantastic!  But, there are some reasons this wood siding made it through nearly 8 decades intact.  The #1 reason it's in good shape is AIR FLOW.  This old house was never re-muddled and when we started this project we quickly realized the walls were never insulated.  That's great news for a remodel.  That pine siding was installed on solid 1x8 shiplap sheathing, over solid 2x4's.  The inside of the house was another layer of 1x8 wood shiplap with some sheetrock and some original fabric wallpaper.  This house was a leaky sieve (both water and air) and that's why it survived so well.  That siding would get wet, the walls would get wet, that solid lumber would drink up the water and store it till it could naturally dissipate with the airflow through the cavities.  The problems occur when old houses get partly sealed or partly insulated.  Once the airflow stops then the house has no way to dissipate the moisture it's taking on during rain events.  That moisture (when it can't escape) leads to mold, rot, and ultimately failed buildings.
Check out this job site video I did to show how we reinstalled this siding with the ability to dry like it had in 1935.  We ran short of the original siding and order some new yellow pine milled to the original profile so this house is 70% 1935 siding and 30% 2012 siding.
The method is called Vented Rain Screen and it's pretty straightforward.  But there are some additional details for wood that need to be followed.  It must be primed on all 6 sides, and the carpenters must prime all end cuts.  
I'm also showing off some details for a very well insulated and air sealed house.  This project utilized 1" of Dow exterior rigid foam under the siding, and a excellent weather barrier with DuPont Drainwrap and DuPont weatherization products. -Matt Risinger , Risinger Homes Austin, TX


posted in: Blogs, energy efficiency, remodeling, , weatherizing, restorations, siding, craftsman, arts and crafts, shingle style, wood siding