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Replacing Rotted Wood Siding

One of the first things many people see when it comes to the house is the siding. Siding can come in multiple different forms and styles, serving not only as a decoration but also as the first line of defense against the environment.

Siding can be great at resisting the natural forces of rain, snow, heat and sun. For the longest time, wood dominated and was used for many centuries on a wide variety of buildings. This siding was incorporated into many different styles like shingles, clapboards, drop siding and vertical boards. Regardless of the type or style used there are many things that are universal across all wood siding.

replacing rotted wood siding

For instance, all wood siding requires treatment every four to nine years to fight against rot. In areas that are susceptible to ants and termites, there might be additional treatments necessary. Thanks to all these stains, paints and chemicals needed to keep wood siding fresh, this makes most wood siding not biodegradable.

Vinyl siding, on the other hand, is much more recent – having been invented in 1950s. It took a few decades for it to take off, as earlier vinyl had a tendency to fade and crack over time.

Thankfully many of these problems have been smoothed out in the manufacturing process. Thanks to its cheap cost to mass produce and the variety of forms they come in, vinyl has eclipsed all other forms of siding – everything from thatch, stone, metal, masonry, composite and, of course, wood.

If you’re needing to replace your rotted wooden siding, you’re going to want to consider vinyl as a viable alternative. While there’s no true size fits all approach when it comes to siding, vinyl is vastly superior to much of what is out on the market today.

Why Vinyl is the Way to Go

Vinyl siding is an engineered substance that comes from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC, being one of the most manufactured products in the world, is naturally cheaper than many alternatives – wood siding included!

The savings don’t just stop there – if you aren’t a DIYer and are thinking about getting your siding professionally installed, vinyl can be as much as two thirds less than equivalent wood installation in terms of labor costs.

You don’t have to use the same traditional style either, as vinyl is much more versatile than in the past. PVC siding comes in different colors and variants, many of which can emulate classical Victorian and Colonial styles.

Vinyl siding is also much tougher against the elements than its wood counterpart. As mentioned before, wood requires tremendous upkeep because of its propensity for rot and pest damage – everything that vinyl is notably immune too. As long as vinyl siding is properly cleaned from time to time, PVC has an expected lifespan of more than 50 years.

Since it’s so tough, many vinyl manufacturers ensure extensive warranties. Recent innovation in the creation process has created a type of siding that is breathable, allowing water to escape. This further reduces the chance of rot, mold and mildew.

Originally PVC siding was built without a proper insulation, while today expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) is fused to the back to help protect against energy loss in your home. A new vinyl siding that is Energy Star Certified can increase energy efficiency as much as 20 percent.

Removing Wood Siding

Before you start putting new vinyl siding on your home, you need to remove the old wooden siding. There are many different methods of doing this but, regardless of how you do it, you’re going to need some basic tools like a ladder, pry bar, hammer and reciprocating saw.

Make sure that the reciprocating saw has a metal-cutting blade, as a wood one will quickly lose its teeth. Also, you need to follow proper safety as well – always wear gloves, glasses and make sure your ladder is situated on solid ground.

Starting from the top, lean your ladder at the peak of your house – typically located in the gable. Push your pry-bar underneath the top piece of siding and carefully wiggle it to loosen the board. You’ll have to do this many times at several different spots to properly undo it.

When the board is sufficiently loose enough, use the reciprocating saw to cut the nails underneath. From here try to work on other spots, and cut as needed.

Window casings can be pulled off in the same manner – just fit the pry bar into one of the joints and slowly push it up. For easy disposal, try to get a trailer and get it as close as possible to the construction site – ideally allowing you to throw broken pieces down from the ladder into it.

If you’re using similar sized vinyl siding, you may want to keep a few more awkwardly cut pieces as an outline later. Be extra careful around any electrical meters or areas, as you don’t want to rip any of these off. Also, when removing be mindful of the overhang, as you want to avoid damaging the molding.

Installing Vinyl Siding

After you remove the wood siding but before you get to the vinyl make sure to have the proper tools necessary to get the job done – think along the lines of a carpenter’s level, measuring tape, snips, hammer and a chalk line.

In addition to this but you’ll need other materials like nails and, of course, the vinyl itself. Instead of either snips and nails you can use an grinder and screws with washers respectively. The choice is up to you.

vinyl siding improves energy efficiency

First, you need to measure the length of the corner post, making sure to leave ½” gap at the top. After you measure you need to put a vertical line with the chalk so you know where to put the vinyl.

Using either the snips or angle grinder cut through the vinyl at the required length. From there nail or screw down the corner post every foot, using a level as you go to make sure it stays plumb. When putting on the horizontal pieces make sure to start from the bottom.

Using the chalk line and the level, try to put this piece on as straight as possible – this is especially important because this will influence the ones above it.

When putting on the next pieces, you might need to do some special cutting around electrical boxes, windows and the eaves of the house. The general rule of thumb when installing successive pieces is to overlay approximately ⅛” over the previous.

Replace Rotted Wood Siding with Vinyl Siding

Siding has been around for centuries in many different forms – from simple thatch pieces made from grass, to hardier ones like wood and masonry.

In the last several decades vinyl has slowly eclipsed all other forms as the dominant material. Which isn’t surprising as vinyl has multiple advantages over wood and other materials – including toughness, weather resistance, maintenance and affordability.

Many of the problems with past vinyl, such as cracking and lacking proper insulation, have been corrected in newer versions. When replacing rotted wood siding with vinyl, make sure to follow proper safety procedures. While installing vinyl siding yourself is cheaper and not incredibly difficult if you are handy, an installer can be the way to go.

If you’re looking for the best vinyl siding in the Midwest, you’ve come to the right place. Our siding is durable, energy efficient and comes in many different styles and colors to fit any home.

Get a free quote now and see why over 350,000 homeowners have trusted us with their home improvement needs.

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