Author Topic: Siding a house  (Read 1468 times)

john6221

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Siding a house
« on: June 25, 2017, 08:28:39 AM »
Has anyone here done their own siding? Looking to replace the 1960s Masonite on my single story ranch. Can't quite swallow the $8k price tag I'm getting. I feel like this should be DIY-able.

What's the consensus? If I did vinyl or LP Smartside I think I could do it with the help of a few friends over the course of a couple weeks.


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paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 10:39:28 AM »
I supervised the construction about two dozen new homes for Habitat for Humanity. Most were vinyl sided, all were done by volunteers. Somehow they all ended up looking pretty good when we were done. Your idea is good, but there has to be at least one person who knows what they are doing, is willing to patiently teach others, and is in charge enough to make the call, when things don't look too good, and a do-over is required. Vinyl is both easy and deceptively difficult. Any monkey can nail it up, and it will look like it. There are a lot of things to know about the hidden details, loose nailing, expansion of the material, leaving gaps, etc....The great part about vinyl is that you can make a mistake, gently take it apart and start again.  The vinyl siding institute installation manual is a free download, and an excellent teaching tool. One trick that I use with volunteers is control lines. I snap a chalk line below the windows and above the windows and doors, all around the house. The lines are dead straight, and can be used to gauge your progress, and keep courses even. Once you are cutting short sections between windows, you partially drive a big nail into the line on each side of each opening, then hook your measuring tape on the nail and measure down to the short pieces of siding. This keeps everything straight and even as you side around openings. Good luck.

Guide2003

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2017, 11:15:00 AM »
I concur with paddedhat, it isn't a difficult job as long as you are deliberate and carefully watch the spacing. The great thing about siding is that you can do it in sections, and stretch the project out as you have time. Be sure you don't recruit buddies that will just want to go to town and aren't concerned about the final appearance. A single story ranch shouldn't have any complexities to it. Have you looked into how much of the price is labor and what you could get the materials for without the contractor discount?
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paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2017, 01:30:20 PM »
Guide raises a good point. If you go with vinyl, you might want to teach yourself how to do it, and tackle it slowly. As for material, I would find a few wholesale suppliers and see who will do business with you. I would ask them about a mid-grade product line, a step up from the cheapest builder grade junk, then price a square (100 sq. ft.) of the siding, a corner post, and a  J channel.  See how these numbers compare to the competition. I would avoid buying from the big box stores, and maybe even local lumber yards. For some reason, in my market, they tend to stock real crap when it comes to vinyl siding products.

john6221

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2017, 01:55:24 PM »
Thanks for the tips. Would you install vinyl over LP Smartside? LP seems easier to install but then there's the issue with it being a wood product.

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paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 03:12:55 PM »
Well, what do you prefer  looks wise?  Vinyl is relatively maintenance free, and fairly inexpensive.  My costs for your job would be in the  $2000-2500 for material, including soffit and facia. OTOH, some find it to be a cheezy looking product, it does fade, darker colors fade much worse, and it is easily damaged. Gas grilles and string trimmers are the biggest culprits when it comes to damage. Smart side is the latest in a long string of wood composite siding products. Many have been total disasters in anything less than bone dry climates.  Supposedly, smart side doesn't have all the issues of past products like rotting, delaminating, growing mushrooms on the bottom edge of lap siding etc... I live in an area that has about 42" of rain a year, and is far from an idea location for composite siding, but I'm about to order a custom built shed sided with Smart Side, so I have no reservations. Obviously, there is a lot more maintenance with a wood based siding that needs to be repainted every so often. Oddly, the durability of something like this is a question that you already have the answer to. Masonite was the original composite siding. Is your's original to your fifty year old house? If so, how well did it perform? If it's acceptable, you can expect that smart side will perform better than what you have now.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2017, 04:27:01 PM by paddedhat »

Systems101

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2017, 03:58:34 PM »
I supervised the construction about two dozen new homes for Habitat for Humanity. Most were vinyl sided, all were done by volunteers. Somehow they all ended up looking pretty good when we were done. Your idea is good, but there has to be at least one person who knows what they are doing, is willing to patiently teach others, and is in charge enough to make the call, when things don't look too good, and a do-over is required.

+1 to all of this - have done the same (or close - I'm not technically a house leader, but due to skills & training can act as one on days where siding is being done)

Note that in my case, some of them looked good because the siding was taken back down after the volunteers left and only the HfH staff was on site the next day to fix it.  No reason to demoralize the volunteers...

As far as siding, there are a lot of things to get correct and not create water traps.  Even not all the HfH folks know all the quirks - I've fixed a few things in my time that even the full time folks didn't know, but I had seen cause damage in other houses.

Soffets and going around various items on the house (electrical box, et al) is also a bit of an art.  Some things are easier (Windows) because they are square.  The not-square stuff has multiple ways to do it... some of which are more long lasting than others.  Also dealing with the bottom can be tricky depending on where the siding reaches.  When there is a clear foundation that is not sided, that's easy.  When it's coming down directly onto surfaces, it's harder, because you don't want water traps and you don't want it running down behind the siding or drawing water up against the wall.

You also need to figure how how many tools you might need - cutters, punchers, et al.  None are super expensive, but if you are comparing costs, just make sure to do it apples/apples...


Cadman

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2017, 03:59:31 PM »
Lots of good advice above, though if they'll do your whole house for $8k with a guarantee, I would write the check and sit back.

If you do it yourself, see if the material you want is available in the existing reveal, that way you can take pics/measurements of all door and window lower and upper heights and simply duplicate it. If you have tin corners, then you'll have to be consistent all the way around the house (and prime/paint ahead of time). You'll also need to be mindful of where the plank ends break so you can stagger joints and pre-cut your material. You don't want to end up with a zipper look.

I prefer the LP Smartside myself and have done several buildings. I record all opening and eave dimensions and transfer that to a 3D model. Since 'plank' ends should fall on studs, I get those measurements as well. This way I can play with the reveal of each course in advance to something workable to avoid awkward exposure under or over windows. This also allows me to make a tally of how long each plank needs to be. A good cement board cutter is a must.

If you go with the LP, I like to mark and pre-drill the boards, apply paint (including ends) a day or so in advance, then follow my print for each wall generated from the 3D model the following day. While the planks dry you can lay out your chalk lines and cut tar paper strips that will sit behind your joints. I recommend butting ends rather than trying to fill with silicone, which will become a maintenance nightmare.

If you go with pre-painted LP, you'll still need to seal your ends prior to installation, and possibly pre-drill. Regardless, it's the planning that will make or break the install.

paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2017, 04:37:17 PM »
Lots of good advice above, though if they'll do your whole house for $8k with a guarantee, I would write the check and sit back.

Whoa, slow down and drop that checkbook, LOL.  If you are talking about a modest ranch house  1300 sq. ft. or so, a vinyl siding quote at $8000 works out to well over $5 a sq. ft.  Since materials are less than 30% of that, it's a pretty serious payday. Now if the OP returns with, "well, it's actually a 2700 sq. ft.  ranch with nine corners and a 9/12  pitch roof" That's a whole new ball game, so I'll wait for more info. I've subbed out vinyl siding on many modest ranchers that ended up in the low $5K range, with soffits, facia and gutters.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 02:14:20 AM by paddedhat »

john6221

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2017, 07:13:07 PM »
Our place is a modest 1960s L-shaped ranch, with a 4/12 roof, and probably about 1500 SQ feet of siding.

The current siding is original 1966 Masonite. It is swollen in a few places and needs replacing. Also there's a few spots crumbling on the bottom edge. But for 51-year old siding...maybe it's not too bad? That's the only reason I was considering LP Smartside.

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is best way to insulate when the siding is off. The sheathing is that 1960s Celotex fiberboard. Not sure if I should go with insulated vinyl, or tack foam to the sheathing, or drill holes in the sheathing for cellulose.

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Systems101

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2017, 08:12:18 PM »
The other thing I'm trying to figure out is best way to insulate when the siding is off. The sheathing is that 1960s Celotex fiberboard. Not sure if I should go with insulated vinyl, or tack foam to the sheathing, or drill holes in the sheathing for cellulose.

Be careful of moisture if you go with external foam.  There are a number of considerations.  Know what is a vapor barrier, know where you expect the dew point to be hit and thus what material will take the condensation.  Know how the moisture will escape.  Know what kind of foam (and how much) to use in your climate.  This will keep you from rotting away your sheathing.  While you could probably Google these, consider these:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/qa-spotlight/can-exterior-foam-insulation-cause-mold-and-moisture-problems

This gets at many of the moisture issues with external foam and gives you some good pointers on risks.

and this:

http://www.dupont.com/content/dam/assets/products-and-services/construction-materials/assets/Architectural%20Binder/Weather%20Barriers%20A%20Must%20with%20Exterior%20Foam%20Sheathing%20K25107.pdf
 
Yes, this is from an industry participant trying to sell you something, but there is also science behind it.  Read this (specifically "Wall Section 4" on page 13, which agrees with the DuPont concern):

https://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/publications/pdfs/building_america/guide_insulating_sheathing.pdf

You have to decide what risks you want to take.

This is not intended to be a complete list of considerations (there are more, especially if the foam is thick), but a starting point for your research.

This is also a fun (although possibly less relevant for a retrofit) read: http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy12osti/54203.pdf

Goldielocks

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2017, 12:13:52 AM »
I helped DH install hardie board siding and trim on our home.  Two stories in back, rancher in front, without basement, only a bit larger than yours.

Very do-able, just check out the installation instructions, closely and ask lots of questions where you buy materials (the construction supply place was very helpful and knowledgable).

Hardie board was quite heavy to install, especially with 2 people on ladders on the second floor.  I much recommend a horizontal wood look type siding instead -- one person can install, if they have a means to hold up the far end, otherwise it is a 2 person job.

We had to upgrade comply with current code for a rainscreen.  This meant we had to add another layer of trouble  / issues (around windows for example).  The code issue was part of a larger building permit process, though.  Just siding may not need a permit.

Excellent trim cuts and details make the job look good. Take your time.

paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #12 on: June 26, 2017, 08:46:13 AM »

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is best way to insulate when the siding is off. The sheathing is that 1960s Celotex fiberboard. Not sure if I should go with insulated vinyl, or tack foam to the sheathing, or drill holes in the sheathing for cellulose.

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Systems101 has some good advice. I have done repairs to homes that had foam added behind vinyl siding, an was stunned by how much rot can accumulate behind the foam if water gets behind it. I replaced about 4ft. of wall, on both sides of a corner, on a house that had 1/2 blueboard (expanded polystyrene) over plywood, and under vinyl. The rot was so bad that the corner stud assembly looked like mulch, or even potting soil in some areas.

In your case I would do something totally different than how this is usually addressed, because it's cheap, labor intensive, a good moderate skill DIY project, and will dramatically improve the structure and insulation of the house. I would rebuilt the whole exterior, one wall at a time.  I would pull the celotex sheathing. Remove any insulation, which is probably R-11 fiberglass, then air seal. This would involve caulking the existing drywall to the studs and sealing all holes in the plates, and around electrical boxes. Then carefully install Roxul, and gun nail  7/16 OSB sheathing back onto the studs. I would follow up with a premium house wrap and Hardy Board siding and trim. The place would be exponentially tighter, more energy efficient, and a lot sturdier. Not the cheapest option, but it is the most durable  and best looking, with a lot of other benefits. 

lthenderson

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2017, 09:44:41 AM »
I went the DIY route on my home using cement board siding. I also had the same 1960's fiberboard stuff that you mentioned. In my case, I just went one section at a time ripping off the old masonite siding, foam sealing cracks and wrapping it. (The wrap itself made a huge difference in comfort levels inside the house.) The next day I would start hanging the cement board. I bought a adjustable hanger bracket that hangs on the coarse below and provides the correct overlap so I could put one end of my new siding on that and then work on the other end all by my lonesome. I did get a friend for part of the backside where we have a walkout basement and had to work from ladder scaffolding. I could have still done it but it would have been a lot more trips up ladders to hang the siding bracket and then try to safely carry a long piece of cement board up a ladder without breaking it or me. Once I finished one section, I would start on another and worked my way around the house. I did my entire house over about four months.

hoosier

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2017, 12:54:16 PM »
Siding is easy, as long as your get your first row/starter strip laid out correctly.  After that, pay attention to make sure you are going covering vertical distance evenly.  Snap some chalk lines every foot or two if needed to help keep you level.

Cadman

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2017, 01:20:07 PM »
Paddedhat, yeah, for vinyl that $8k would be high! I was thinking the LP route, where the installer has to do a lot more homework and labor for a clean install: Cement board cutter for clean cut ends, ripping planks with a cement blade. Both messy and time consuming, especially if the boards are pre-painted.

Special care and handling to get them to the site and unloaded without damage. Priming/sealing edges _before_ install. Making sure ends fall on studs and that they're flashed. Adjusting course reveals so you don't end up with 1" of material under or over windows. Pre-drilling/hand nailing since many forms of pneumatic attachment void the warranty. Proper flashing/capping on windows. And then the tin-corner dilemma which means all four sides of the house have to be worked out in elevation before the first nail is driven.

Good times.


gardeningandgreen

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2017, 02:21:31 PM »
We just finished replacing all of the windows, doors, and siding on our house. By far the siding was the easiest part. We did do vinyl siding on the whole house. The biggest issues that we faced was the siding was all nice and level and straight but the house isn't. We also have a house built in the late 1800s so that makes a bit of a difference. To be honest I would do it again. Last summer we built a garage and put the same siding on it and it was so much easier because the walls were straight! We watched a ton of youtube videos before hand and it all went great.

A couple tips. We took off all of the old wooden siding and replaced any rotting board and sealed every single crack or hole we could find. Our house is so much more insulated now! We also took it one piece at a time. The things go up super fast but if you aren't paying attention it can go up too fast and you suddenly have things out of whack and you have to re do things.


nereo

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #17 on: June 26, 2017, 03:28:26 PM »
posting to follow...
"Do not confuse complexity with superiority"

john6221

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #18 on: June 26, 2017, 05:21:43 PM »
Thanks everyone. If it's just me, doing one wall at a time, how do I handle inclement weather? This seems like especially a problem if I want to replace the sheathing. Do I only work when there's no chance of rain?

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Capt j-rod

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2017, 06:49:32 PM »
siding is a trade that looks easy but has some skills involved. The big part you are leaving out is all the wrapping and sheet metal work. You need a brake and some mad skills to do this right. Do it wrong and you have built a funnel that channels water into your home. J molding is another art to get it right. I would look for a private contractor or retired carpenter. The good news on siding is that a lot of old timers retire into the siding business. I would also warn you that if your existing siding is the hard panels that look like cedar shakes, then they might contain asbestos. I would use the fan fold foam board insulation and duct tape all the joints. Nail the foam on with pop tops. keep us posted.

paddedhat

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2017, 08:15:17 PM »
Thanks everyone. If it's just me, doing one wall at a time, how do I handle inclement weather? This seems like especially a problem if I want to replace the sheathing. Do I only work when there's no chance of rain?

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Nope, you keep a few cheapo plastic Harbor freight tarps around. When you are done for the day and still have a section exposed, you hang a tarp and secure it with drywall screws and the smallest, cheapest 8 ft furring strips you can find. Easy, cheap, waterproof and reusable.

john6221

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2017, 01:04:27 PM »
Awesome, appreciate the advice.

Couple more questions.

How do I handle things like refrigerant lines that are running out of the house?

And what do I do about the electrical meter that's mounted on an old board on the side of the house?



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john6221

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2017, 01:05:13 PM »
Awesome, appreciate the advice.

Couple more questions.

How do I handle things like refrigerant lines that are running out of the house?

And what do I do about the electrical meter that's mounted on an old board on the side of the house?



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hoosier

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2017, 07:52:55 AM »
Awesome, appreciate the advice.

Couple more questions.

How do I handle things like refrigerant lines that are running out of the house?

And what do I do about the electrical meter that's mounted on an old board on the side of the house?





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Install J channel around the meter and side around it.

For the HVAC lineset, just make a hole with a vertical cut below the hole and put a small bead of clear silicon to seal it back up.

You are going to want to get those boxes off the wall before you side then reattach them.  If you can't disconnect them entirely you'll need do the same thing as the HVAC lineset.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2017, 01:22:51 PM by hoosier »

Systems101

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Re: Siding a house
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2017, 12:58:22 PM »
How do I handle things like refrigerant lines that are running out of the house?

Depends.  For the refrigerant line, you might consider a Split Recessed J-Block.  Just cut the hole bigger if you need that.  It is better with a block, because it gives siding the chance to expand and contract and better/easier than doing an opening with J-channel.

Square items you may just surround by J-channel if you don't end up with a J-block or mounting block.

However, that line looks very close to other things on the outside of the house, so that may not be doable in your case if the boxes can't move. 

Worst case, you may just have to punch a hole in the siding.  While it's not the prettiest thing in the world, some commercial installers will just put a hole in the siding, with the extra cut to insert below the hole (as the split J-block does), and then just clear caulk the gaps.  Remember you may need to inspect and re-caulk every so often.  This can also "go wrong" if the siding can't expand /contract like it wants to.

And what do I do about the electrical meter that's mounted on an old board on the side of the house?

You can leave the board and treat it the same way you treat a window: http://diysrc.com/install-j-channel-around-windows-and-doors-for-vinyl-siding/
or you could go get a "mounting block", but that may require messing with the electrical, and I don't do that :)