Everything looks normal in the above picture, but with vinyl what you don’t see is the problem. All to often I see the tragedy of a glorious wood sided home with vinyl siding installed right over it. Here is what drove the original decision:
1. I can’t afford to keep painting my home, so I will just install the miracle of vinyl siding right on top.
2. A salesman that wanted to sell vinyl siding convinced me of its importance!
Inherently, vinyl is not the enemy. If installed properly over a moisture barrier following each manufacturers guidelines, it can last well much longer than the wood behind it. So if you live in a vinyl house that was intended to be a vinyl house, this post is not for you.
However, if you live in a home where vinyl or aluminum siding was installed over glorious wood siding, you are losing a few things.
1. All architectural detail has been snuffed out. J channel has been ran around each window and each corner, protruding further than windows and corner boards. More than likely your soffits have been boxed in and your trim aluminum wrapped.
2. Your homes proper way of breathing has been taken away. Imagine wrapping plastic wrap around your body.
3. More than likely the way the siding was installed is allowing water to enter behind the siding at a frightening rate.
4. After 10 years, vinyl siding starts to look shabby, dirty, and faded. There are some high end vinyl’s that are better at wearing out, but then why not install new wood siding. Even so today’s paints are incredible even offering warranties for up to 50 yrs.
5. Your losing the homes soul. Most of these homes were created from craftsmen that knew their product, and took time to ensure each detail. True historic foundations suffered, but many details are hard to replace.
What can you do if your home has been vinylized? Turn the clock back and remove that vinyl. That aluminum wrap on your trim is especially damaging. There is a great chance that most of what you need to do is patch hundreds of holes from the siding nails, and scrape and paint, but what you will be left with is siding set for another 20-50 years. One of the questions with the old siding world is insulation and draftiness. That is quite another topic. If you choose to work on the paint of your historic home, do take the necessary precautions for lead paint. Lead paint is easy to test for, and with proper preperation, can be taken care of.