Siding issues, question for Marti8a and JenniK?

enigmaquandryJuly 28, 2010

As I'd mentioned in my other post, we just recently discovered that our siding is fading a TON, it is also twisting and coming off the house a little in some places. We would like to get the house re-sided and had settled on fiber-cement (probably HardiePlank) but when the guy came today to give me a quote it was $18,500!!! We have a tiny, simple cape cod! I was stunned by this, I was expecting much closer to 8,000 (hoping for even less, clearly I don't know what I'm talking about!). I knew it was expensive but I was totally unprepared for that number.

This is not a good time for us but it does need to get done sometime this year or next and I can't come up with any good options for us! I refuse to re-side the house in vinyl. I always said I would NEVER buy a vinyl house (I love a lot of houses with vinyl, my second favorite house in my city is vinyl, I just don't like to live inside it) and then we went and bought one, but my hubby doesn't like it either.

Honestly I don't mind the look of aluminum at all, some of the houses on the street are aluminum and I only figured out they aren't wood a week ago! No one around here wants to install it though...I guess it's on the "out" and is susceptible to a lot of issues. I just have no idea what my options are, or is there NO reasonable way to recover your house?

I would be totally willing to try to re-side myself but I really don't know if I have the skill-set...just basic carpentry. I don't want to void the warranty of whatever I would use by messing it up and I REALLY don't want to cause any problems with water and the house.

Jennik, I know you just resided (and it looks really great!), did your contractor give you any options?

Marti8a, did you know anything about siding before you tried it? Did it take a long time? Did you understand the directions? (It seems simple until I tried reading the JamesHardie direction packet, oh my...Do you mind me asking how much the materials were?


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm kind of surprised that no one has chimed in, but I'll throw in my $.02. Fiber cement siding is very expensive to have done. A friend of mine went with vinyl when he was told that Hardi would be an $18,000 upcharge! The raw material (un-colored) is less than $1 a square foot, so you would be looking at a couple thousand dollars for a small house. It's not hard to do, but you need the right equipment and a measure of patience. After all, all you do is measure, cut, and install, right?

There are some health issues with fiber cement, so you will want a good dusk mask, safety glasses, and gloves. You can cut it with a motorized miter (chop) saw and a special blade, but it makes a LOT of dust. Another option is shears, which are specially made to cut the stuff. No dust with these. A pair of shears is a couple hundred bucks, but you could probably recoup at least half of that by selling them when the job is done. You need to try to figure out the directions and follow them; it's important. The material should be primed on all surfaces, and painted on exposed surfaces and wherever it has been cut. The sub-surface you attach it too is also important. Usually it's mounted on a drainage plane to prevent moisture from building up behind it and getting trapped. This usually consists of some kind of weatherproofing on your sheathing, such as tar paper or house wrap. Then you install vertical strips of furring- usually pressure treated 1X4's. The siding gets attached to those. This allows moisture to escape if it gets behind the siding. There are various ways to plug the gap at the bottom without interrupting the air-flow. Some just bundle up screening, but there are commercial products available (Coro-vent). Probably the trickiest thing about re-siding an existing home is working around the windows. It is a good time to make sure your existing windows are properly flashed before putting the new siding on. There is a lot of information about flashing windows on the internet, since evidently it isn't done properly in a lot of cases.

The main things are cutting accurately, which anyone can do with practice, and hanging the siding consistently and level. By consistent, I mean having the same reveal all the way up the wall. Once you get the first piece level and on, then you can measure up, and snap a chalkline to guide the next piece. There are also commercial products available which fit on to line up the next course. When you have a seam in the middle, due to a piece not being long enough, you make a little baffle out of flashing material or tar paper which goes on behind the seam, keeping the moisture out.

There are other brands of fiber cement, so you might want to look at their instructions to see if they are any easier to understand. You could also google fiber cement installation to look for tips.

Only you can decide if you're up to the job. It isn't that physically hard, and it isn't rocket science, but there is a right way to do it. You will also have to climb a ladder or put up scaffolding to do the higher areas. Many people aren't comfortable working high off the ground! On the plus side, done properly it will last a LONG time, and add a lot of value to your home. If you do it, make sure you let your insurance company know, as it may save a little on your homeowner's insurance.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 4:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't know about new aluminum siding, but all the aluminum siding I've encountered is faded, feels icky when you touch it, and is generally just cheap looking. Maybe the newer aluminium siding is better. I didn't even know you could side a house in aluminum any more.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

After working for years on aluminum hulled boats in salt water, I can tell you that aluminum does corrode, and it looks like powdered laundry detergent. Just sort of white powder, and in a non marine environment that would look like faded paint and feel icky when you touch it.

Well, I thought we had Hardyboard as a base for our exterior stucco. But the contractor today said he could recreate the same finish on our new addition to match it. And it was the old style stucco. I guess I'll have to wait to use the Hardyboard for another project.

I love the look of a house with Hardyplank though. It would look great on a cape. So appropriate. I think it is fascinating that it is possible to DIY. A forever project that will make for a lifelong sense of pride.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did not comment because I have no answer.

We had an aluminum sided house built in the early 60's. It was smooth and white and lost any shine it used to have. I considered polishing it with car wax or?? But I never did anything other than give it a good scrubbing.

This house is the Hardyboard. It has been painted. Manufactures home builders do not use the best paint and I am sure it will need to be re-painted in a few years or sooner. They left a couple of gallons paint at set up so for now I can touch it up as needed.I like the looks of the hardyboard.

We have never had vinyl siding.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 11:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well you've convinced me about the aluminum...I'm not sure anyone around here installs it anyway.

I have two more quotes coming, one today and one tomorrow...we'll see what they say.

I have to say I'm totally sold on the fiber cement, I DON'T know how to afford it. It would cut down a lot of cost if we did it ourselves...I'm pretty game but the hubby's not so sure. I have to agree in the sense that it would be a huge undertaking and we don't have any experience with the stuff. Honestly the measuring and cutting seems easy enough, also the nailing's more like the corners and flashing and under the eaves that I don't understand, also inside corners? I have spent HOURS looking at Hardie's instructions, instructions online, flashing etc. and it's still the trimming details that I don't understand.

Hmmm, maybe one of the quotes will be a quarter of the others (of course then I should probably ask some questions shouldn't I?) :)

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just met with the siding guy, he's the second generation in a family owned (very reputable) company around here. He's done a lot of the siding installations in our neighborhood!

The strange thing is that he's really trying to talk me out of the fiber cement. He says there's been a lot of class-action suits against the companies because of crumbling, delaminating etc. The company that he has personally put up (two are failing) is Certainteed, I was planning on James Hardie but I do respect this guy's opinion.

He's trying to sell me on either steel siding or a higher-quality mastic vinyl with the insulation behind it. I have never really heard of steel or seen it sounds like it wouldn't be good for a cottage, but maybe I'm wrong? I'll have to wait and see his quotes but I'm very discouraged about the whole thing. I just noticed today that our siding is also broken in places, not cracked but actually broken.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 4:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Properly installed, fiber cement is hard to beat. That being said, there are a lot of people taking short-cuts with the installation. It has to be primed, front and back, and on ALL cut surfaces. When they hit it wrong with the hammer and it cracks, do they replace the board, or just patch it and cover it? Is it installed over a proper drainage plane? Like many building materials, it's often the installation that failed, not the product.

If you wanted to try DIY- do you have a shed you could do? That would be a great way to practice with a limited investment.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 7:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About 10 years ago there were suits against cement fiber which included an acrylic. Apparently it allowed moisture in, swell and crack. I don't think they are using this any more and would do some research. A lot of the older homes around here are using it and have been for quite a while. It seems to be the thing to do.

The house next door was origanally wood shingles (1950). It was built by the same contractor as mine, I still have the shingles in great condition. They had theirs recovered about 8 years ago with fiber cement and I don't see any problems with it. Nor with the many others around here.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 9:12AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry, my computer fan died Thursday morning and I just got it back.

No, we didn't know anything about it, but it was super easy. A bit floppy compared to wood, but not hard at all. I don't remember if the big box store had instructions, but I bet they did.

Our house is mostly brick, but the front under the porch is wood, the gables, and most of the garage. We did have to borrow a trailer to go get the siding because they are long, and like I said, floppy. They are also sold as single pieces, not sections that look like 3 strips, so it took a little longer.

We started with one of the long sides of the garage (on the back) to get the feel for it. I helped dh snap a level line with the chalk box and we nailed the first boards under the line and then marked on that line where the next one should hit. From then on, we snapped a line every 3rd board up to make sure we were staying level.

The upper parts and gables were the hardest, because I'm a weakling and we borrowed a scaffold which I used. Once I had climbed in, dh had to hand me my end and then get his end and climb a ladder. Then we set it on our mark or line and he nailed his end and then I nailed my end. Then I walked the width of the scaffold and nailed across as far as I could reach and dh did the same, then moved the ladder and nailed the rest. When we did the gable, there was a lot of cutting. We used a skill saw and bought a special blade for that board.

Once we had the planks on, we put the corner pieces on (regular wood) and there is some foam rope-like stuff that fills in the gaps before caulking.

Give me a little while and I'll go take a photo.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you everyone, Marti8a, I'm looking forward to your picture!

I have met with everyone that I had called...hopefully I will have all the quotes by tomorrow, I'll let you know what they say.

I would say that we are considering either Hardiboard, Nichiha, steel siding or the foam-backed vinyl with a 6" reveal.

I'm beginning to think though that we may not be able to do anything...I feel like all the choices are going to be over $10,000, I just think that's SO much money for something like this.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is the front porch. At the top, there is a 1x2 overlapping the top Hardieplank. Around the windows and door (can't see that) the plank is topped by Hardieboard trim. It has been about 8 years and the siding and Hardieboard trim still look great. The wood trim needs to be scraped and repainted.

The only thing I'm not wild about is the cement fiber caulking. Dh is not careful with caulking and his always looks uneven anyway, but this stuff has shrunk into the seam and needs to be redone. I don't know why it can't be done with regular caulk, but we used the Hardie cement caulk. (also, you can see we didn't put that foam rope stuff behind the trim in the windows but we need to do that.

This is the back of the garage (please excuse the cart, I couldn't move it). I actually did the cuts on the pieces at the top of the gables because I couldn't reach that high even on the scaffold and dh has the reach and can hold the board with one hand and hammer with the other. Like I said, I'm a weakling. But cutting was easy.

Here's a side of the garage. The door trim is regular wood and you might be able to see that it is peeling in spots and showing mildew, but the Hardie board looks great. The door trim has the foam rope stuff under it and then caulked, and the corner trim still needs it.

This picture is a gable that has the Hardieplank on the left side of the fireplace and the original masonite siding on the right side. We are going to be adding a room to the right of the fireplace so never planked that side.

This is a piece of leftover planking. It's been on the floor of the garage so is dirty, but I wanted to show you how the planks fit together. On the front side, at the top, is an indented place.

On the back side, at the bottom, is a place that fits into the indentation. It's probably made to keep out water and pests, but it works great to line up the planks so you don't have to snap a line with every plank.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 6:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We didn't use any furring strips behind it, and there was nothing in the instructions about it. In fact, the stuff is so limber that I think that would make it sag into the hollows and be wavy. We did use Tyvek sheeting but nailed it directly to the plywood under the Tyvek.

Dh said he has seen a lot of knock offs that aren't as good as Hardieboard (he does a lot of paint inspections), and has seen some Hardieboard lately that doesn't seem to be made well. That was at a college and was the cheapie stuff.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

marti8a, thanks so much for the pictures! It looks really great, you did a really good job!

I think that our house would be a bit more of a challenge since it is two stories but I think we could do it...I would of course prefer to not have to :)

The GOOD news is that I got the second quote today and it was 11, 300 for lap and shakes and 7,500 for just lap, almost half of the previous quote! It is still REALLY expensive to me but maybe we could do some of the tearoff ourselves or keep the vinyl on the back of the house (there is no fading, twisting OR cracking on the back...of course:) to keep costs down.

The question is really do we stay with the fiber cement idea or do we look at an insulated vinyl... ultimately it will come down to cost but this last guy says that the fiber cement and insulated vinyl are the same cost, I was really surprised by that.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 3:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Would you go with the insulated vinyl because it is more rigid than cheaper vinyl or because you have an insulation issue? I suspect the insulated vinyl is a lot of hype and ultimately, I think if the costs are the same that you are prepared to pay I would just go with the fiber cement.

I think the look and color choices are superior to vinyl (and yes I just did vinyl). You can really get a charming look and, what, you don't *have* to paint for 15 years or so? But if you want to change your look or tweak it, you can do so earlier.

I also would not leave up the old siding underneath- I think that it makes for more professional looking final product to get the old stuff off and since you sound like you have the time and ability to do so, you should.

IMHO, I would leave the actual siding to a professional. Your house is so pretty, I can't even imagine it prettier.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jennik, I'm inclined to agree with you on all points! I think if the prices were the same there is no reason to do the insulated vinyl...we don't have an insulation issue (and I don't think it actually does anything anyway), the only reason to use it would be that you can get a larger reveal (which is the look we prefer) with the foam-backed than you can with the normal.

I think fiber cement would be the most ideal choice, I'm just a little concerned about its actual durability...with vinyl of course you know it may fade etc. but at least it won't crumble...still I think the FC is my first choice.

We will definitely remove the current vinyl, I want to make sure our walls are all in good shape before we re-cover it. Thanks for your comments, I'll keep everyone updated, hopefully I'll get the last quote today!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The final quote is in (I only got three, maybe I should have looked for more) and the winner is still fiber cement for either 7,500 or 11,300.

Even vinyl was more expensive with the other ones so I guess this is our best bet. The question is how to pay for it!

One of the contractors keeps telling me that these companies are going out of business and having lawsuits, I'm not sure if it's because the product is bad or he just doesn't want to install makes me really nervous to spend this much money on the installation of something that may not be a good option. I've spent HOURS researching it and people seem to either love it or hate it...never had a problem or worse thing they've ever used.

sigh :)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 4:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know what you mean. Before we put down the composite decking, I heard that Trex had lawsuits, wasn't holding up, etc. And then there were people who loved it. We put in the Lowe's version and haven't had any problem with it either *knock on wood*. I don't know what to tell you. From what dh has heard, I don't think we'd use anything except Hardie, and we'd check it out to make sure it's their good line.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 6:18PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

marti8a, how do you know if it's the good line or not? I don't see on their website any differentiation...I might just be missing it though.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Beats me, but I bet the experts at the Big Box Store can tell. I'll ask dh when he comes back in.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2010 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, you asked in another thread about what I paid for my siding. I'm in Western Massachusetts, and the house is a simple (no dormers, etc.) straightforward cape. I think 12 square.

$5200 - Mastic 44 carved wood double 4" plus outside corner posts with foam inserts (more rigid in a place I thought mattered most). Upgrade from basic corners and thinner vinyl was only about $300 of this cost. Aluminum coil stock.
$50 per pair Mastic shutters installed. (Nice just wrong size!)
$425 for Mastic door surround that had to be custom fitted
$100 for two vinyl gable vents.
$500 for PVC trim board and cove molding inc labor.

Other costs like $1000 removal of old siding and $425 for installation of the front and storm door were things that someone handy like yourself could handle, unlike me with a 1 year old and 4 year old and husband-year old. :)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

jennik, thank you that is very helpful to know! I hadn't thought about some of the extras. It's so hard to figure out what each contractor includes in his quote...

ugh there are so many decisions to make! After we figure out which contractor and what material and what brand and when...then the hard part begins with colors, reveals, accents and trims...sigh :)

jennik you're so lucky it's all done and it turned out SOOO well! congrats ;)

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Pearls of wisdom from dh. The good stuff is harder than the stuff that crumbles.

Sorry, sometimes he is no help at all.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

marti8a you made me laugh out loud :) Such good sound sense!

We're going to the JamesHardie showroom in our area today, I'm sure I will get all the schpeels but I'll be on the lookout for the harder stuff :)

...still laughing :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Glad I found this thread. I just got 3 quotes on Fiber cement board and the last one was half of the first two. Normally, I would not be tempted but the contractor got a great rating from Angie's List so I signed. I wonder if the better quality is the Color Plus that has the color baked on. Just posted pictures of my house on the Decorating forum. I'm looking for suggestions on color and Craftsman details.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 11:00PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Pretty plates...XP Kitchen forum :)
I wanted to show you all my pretty plates I found online....
Moved in my smaller home today!!!!
Hello!! I just introduced myself this week; I'm the...
window in shower
We moved into our small ranch home (1000 sqft) about...
Tiny House Forum?
I like this forum- but I sometimes think that we could...
Organizing the kitchen
Do you wish your kitchen was better organized? I do!...
Sponsored Products
Sun Joe Pressure Joe 1450 PSI 1.45 GPM 11.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer (Refurb
Electric Pressure Washer with Free Roller Attachment
$199.00 | FRONTGATE
French Villa Bird House - White with Brown Copper Roof
Signature Hardware
Black Lawn & Log Cart
$79.99 | zulily
Whitaker Astral Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
$259.00 | Bellacor
SmartShield Protectant Spray
$39.50 | FRONTGATE
Coastal Shower Doors Shower Enclosures Paragon 3/8 Series 60 in. x 76 in.
Home Depot
Whitaker Astral Bronze Outdoor Wall Light
$181.00 | Bellacor
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™