When getting a quote for residing your home, removal and disposal of the old siding should be factored in to any quote you get from a contractor.

Contractor quotes can vary wildly. That’s why it’s important to make sure that the quote you get includes removal of the old siding.

Even though most reputable contractors will never install siding over existing siding, there are knuckleheads out there that will say you can do it and it’s not a problem.

Why siding over existing siding is a bad move

Yes, you may be able to save some money by not removing the old siding, but that old siding could be hiding problems that may bite you down the road.

Left unchecked, small issues can become major problems that could end up costing thousands of dollars to rectify.

Asphalt shingles found under aluminum siding

As we peeled away the aluminum siding on this house, a gruesome history of neglect, questionable taste in style and shortcuts unfolded.

The pictures you’re seeing were from a project in Kingston, N.Y., on an old house that was built in the early 1900’s. The new owner of the home had no knowledge of the work previously done on the house.

As you can imagine, with a house more than 100 years old, you never know what you’re going to find when you start peeling away the layers.

Rotten, structural water damage uncovered.

This is what we found once all of the old siding was completely removed.

Sometimes you just need to start over

A close inspection of the damage showed us that at some point water had penetrated the wall. Although the wall was dry, much of the framing crumbled when touched with our tools. The only way forward was to start over and frame out a new wall.

Rebuilding an exterior wall

Looks like a big deal, but it wasn’t. We had this wall framed out and sealed up within a day.

Almost there

Here’s the new wall wrapped in Tyvek just before the siding was installed. We also slapped a new window in, where there should have been one from the start. The client was really happy about the added light.

Wall rebuilt and wrapped

Wall rebuilt and wrapped in Tyvec within a day.

Aluminum siding installed

On this particular job, the home already had aluminum siding. The client had a tight budget and just wanted to patch-in new siding to match the existing siding.

Typically aluminum is not used anymore to reside residential homes, so the siding needed to be special ordered. It wasn’t cheap, but it was less costly than residing the entire house in vinyl.

When we were done, it tied-in quite nicely with the existing siding. The client was pleased that he did not have to reside the whole house as several contractors had suggested.

Many contractors just don’t want to deal with aluminum, so they do try to push for a full vinyl reside as apposed to a repair, but that’s not how we roll.

Aluminum siding installed.

Aluminum siding installed to tie-in to the rest of the existing aluminum… Yeah it’s a little funky with the foundation not being square, but it’s an old house and you have to work with what is, when you’re working on old homes.

Lessons learned

Although it seems obvious that the right thing to do is to remove old cladding before installing new, but there are installers out there that will do whatever it takes to keep the cost of the job down.

To be honest, given the age of the home, it’s quite possible that the installer was not even a contractor. It could have been one of the previous home owners.

Regardless of who did the job, the down side of this approach is that you can end up covering up issues that might be easily resolved before becoming major problems…

Cutting corners can end up cutting into your wallet when all is said and done. 

 

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North East Remodeling Group: We are a team of interior and exterior specialists, versed in all phases of construction. From renovations and additions, to home building from the ground up. We also happen to be one of the select few James Hardie Certified Remodelers in the Hudson Valley.   Have a question? Just ask me in the comments below and I will do my best to respond in a timely manner.

Comments

  1. Was the problem that they put new siding over old, or that they put new siding over a rotted wall with no drainage plain in between? I’ve seen house fires where the vinyl siding burned off only to reveal the superior asbestos shingles underneath, which saved the house. If the job had been done “right”, the house would have been a total loss. I’m not saying that new siding over old is often preferable, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything. Anyway, I’m glad you were able to save the aluminum siding; if the paint holds up and it doesn’t get dented, it might outlast a brand new vinyl job.

    • Thanks for your comments. In the photos you can see that one layer of siding had asphalt shingles that probably date back to the early seventies or perhaps even earlier. My guess is, at some point the roof was leaking at that wall. Though the roof had been redone in rubber in recent years, you could see evidence of pooling due the the irregularity of the roof itself. So it would be no surprise to me if a leaking roof was at some point the cause of the water damage in the wall.

      That said, it’s hard to say at which point this damage occurred and when the residing of the wall over the existing siding took place. The point here is that it’s always best tor strip down the layers before residing because you never know what you’re going to find if underneath if you don’t. This is especially important if the house is sketch to begin with as this house was.

      Now, the example you gave with the asbestos siding, that’s just one of those lucky stories where having the old asbestos siding under the existing siding worked out to everyone’s benefit. It does give me pause because you are correct in your assessment about the asbestos being superior in its protection against heat and flame. Although I do not recommend siding over existing siding, I suppose a case could be made for doing so, if you had an asbestos shingled house that was in great shape and you wanted to retain the fire retardant protection of the asbestos but still reside the house cheaply. This could be done with vinyl, but not with a cement siding, where you nail right to the house as apposed to “hanging” the siding like you do with vinyl or aluminum.

      Thanks for your interest in the project.

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