Vinyl covered wood siding-Ugh
This is my first foray in the Fine Homebuilding forum. I’m normally over in Fine Woodworking.
I was reviewing the message on siding and have one or two observations along with a couple of questions. A bit of background. Three years ago my work brought me to the northeast portion of Alabama. As an old house fan and restorer of my early Bungalow in Prescott, AZ we bought a Colonial Revival bungalow built in the early 30s in a largely well kept, and pretty area of town. Anyway, though colonial revivals aren’t my favorites, the floor plan, features and general good condition sold me. One fly in the ointment was/is the fact the the whole house is covered top to toe in 3″ reveal vinyl siding with metal facias and window trim. The whole effect is one of a Civil War Iron Clad vessel. I have seen photos of the house prior to this blasphemy and the amount of detail work that has been covered by this garbage is astounding. Where metal has been used there are gaps at the mitres corners and you best be wearing chain mail when you’re near it to avoid being sliced and diced. Even two early full window length planters were covered in plastic/metal resulting in an even worse scenario at the metal mitered corners. Topping the whole travesty off are a pair of enamelled aluminum pillars which when touched let off a resounding clank.
The original siding appears to be 3/4″ thick clapboard with 5″reveal. As it has been raining for much of the last month I have concerns over what is going on under there. I do believe I will find rot, particularly where the outward angled metal pieces cover the eave’s fascia boards. It actually protrudes farther from the roof shngles and there is no obvious drainage point for the water which undoubtedly collects in there.
I believe siding in this neck of the woods has been sold on the premise of not having to paint due to the high humidity mildew/mold etc. No, what you get to do is wash the hell out of it twice a year to get the mold off it and I’m stuck with standard issue off white/light beige color. My garage was spared this stuff and I have done nothing to the outside in three years – not a scrap of mold or real paint deterioration in all that time. Please don’t encourage anyone to put this stuff over old houses, it cannot be doing them any good.
At any rate, what other surprises am I likely to find when I rip this junk off this summer? Will I have issues disposing of it? Will the installers most likely have removed/destroyed trim to get it up?
I would like to hear from people who have had lousy experiences with vinyl over original siding on older homes.
What a fine Southern name!
Let me be the first to welcome you to FHB and Breaktime. You have just found a cadre` of good friends. It doesn't matter whether you are liberal or conservative, male, female, or both. You will find that nobody disagrees with your stated opinions on this subject. Your house seems to have found a friend as well.
I hate the stuff also, not onlyu for its cheap looks but because so much of it has been installed by hacks who are out to make a killing on the mark-ups and have no concern or skills for doing it well. There may be a place for the stuff and I ahve done two or three jobs with it by holding my nose and closing or squinting my eyes just so, but to do that level of work and cover classically proportionate details is a terrible thing to behold.
As to your question, You may find siding anbd trim that needs little more than small repairs and re-painting, or you may find that the reason vinbyl was chosen was because the house was neglected for ten or twenty years before that and suffers from rot, splinters, missing details, etc.
The vinyl may also have trapped moisture within the walls, adding stud decay and more mold to the list. From you description of flashing details and corners, I would expect rot to be present in the spots immediately below the opennings that show entry for water.
Keep a can or two of hornet spray handy while you work. Stings on a hot day are worse than winter stings, IMO
Excellence is its own reward!
Thanks for the welcome and the input! I'm glad you share my thoughts on the subject. I believe you have more or less confirmed what I was thinking about what has been going on. I don't though believe the house was covered for cosmetics. There is no evidence of plaster/paint issues and no interior odors indicating mold/mildew. I think I've got a sound well built house that can be revived. (exterior that is). The previous owner I believe put it up when she added onto the rear of the house. (people gotta have that master monster bathroom!) and decided what the hell, lets use that Sears coupon.
I'll be second to welcome you or at least try to be.
Couldn't agree more with your sentiments. I too am an old house respecter/lover and address you from our 1875 Vic that we bought in '87 and overhauled from stem to stern. Working from old photos of the place and a few found pieces of trim/fretwork under what remained of the original front porch, we were able to remove and replace the porch as well as restore any and all of the missing pieces to scale that returned this place to its original look and intent.
There's quite a few old houses around here that have suffered the same fate as you describe. The crew descends upon the house and swinging hammers with reckless abandon, soon have every piece of graceful craftsmanship lying splintered on the ground before it's time for the morning beer break. Thankfully, no vinyl siding to remove on this place, just some of those damnable aluminum track storms. I built and installed wooden storms before the first winter was upon us. Lots of gawkers driving by everyday to watch the resurrection. Got quite a few clients that way that I still work with today.
Hope you don't find a discouraging amount of work and expense under there. But if you do, know that the folks on this forum are here to lend encouragement, advise, experience and knowledge. Wouldn't make any promises about loans though. :-)
One thing I will mention is that you may find excessive damage around and under any of those cladded windows. Frequently enough, the windows are cladded without being recaulked with any, let alone a quality product, and rainwater is free to encroach anywhere it can find an opening. From what I can tell, you already anticipate this.
the hardest part that I find, when removing aluminum flashing/siding is getting all the butter-soft aluminum nails OUT of the wood.
Hundreds of 'em.
Have to pick each one out with a good, strong pair of lineman's pliers.
All of the drip-moldings above the windows and doors will have been ruined by the installer of the siding (ripped off with a hammer and chisel) so plan on properly replacing each of those.
In the worst case, they rip off all the original trim (ALL of it) around the windows and details, and replace with CCT 1x VERY roughly shaped to the holes they've created and staple the vinyl over that.
Replacing the original, old growth, fine grained wood details today will be tough (the original wood could sustain way more weather than today's third growth wide grain "wood").
Good luck and bless you for restoring an old house (there are way too few people doing this - you should see what goes on around Detroit, makes me cry).