Brick + Beam Detroit

Should I re-side? Or reveal cedar shingles?

Asked by Jessica Herczeg-Konecny at 8:34am on Mar 30 2017

I bought a house last summer (built circa 1920). The previous owner had taken off the old siding (ca. 1960s?) off the front of the house (basically the bit under cover of the porch roof) revealing cedar shingles underneath. They painted the shingles.

The previous owner claims that the cedar underneath the rest of the house is in good shape. I don’t know if that’s true or not, haven’t checked, and am not sure how to. But I’m faced with a dilemma. I want to get rid of the old siding no matter what. Some are encouraging me to take off the siding, add insulation, and put up new vinyl siding (leaving the cedar alone in the front with the current color or possibly re-painting it). I’ve talked to others who are encouraging me to take off the old siding and paint the original cedar. Or I guess take a look at what’s there and see if I could leave the cedar unpainted but treated.

I’d really like to get advice (pros and cons) from people who have gone through this before. I definitely don’t have a lot of money to spend initially… or with upkeep. Thanks for any help you might be able to provide!


at 10:27pm on Apr 2 2017

Vinyl is a mess, and the idea to "add insulation" and new vinyl is nuts. What about the trim, since the walls will be thicker? An inch of insulation is maybe R2, not worth the cost.
Either the shingles are rotted thanks to the vinyl or they are ok. A test demo of the cover
can help tell. Also. Stain shingles, don't paint.

at 6:45pm on Apr 3 2017

Vinyl siding is a bandaid. Furthermore it can trap moisture, and rot what is beneath or promote mold. If you are looking for a long-term fix, vinyl is not the answer. Cedar can last forever if properly maintained. If it's not too worn out, you might even be able to take the shakes off and flip them over, sand, and repaint with like-new results that will be a lot cheaper than buying new wood. They also make a "paint" product now called RhinoShield (which I've been meaning to try) that's a ceramic coating that looks like paint, but is guaranteed for 40 years. Supposedly you never have to repaint, but it costs a LOT to have installed. I am currently in the midst of residing a Victorian house that has 6" bevelled siding and it is VERY labor intensive. But considering that this wood has been on here for over 100yrs even with poor maintenance, I believe it is labor that must be done, since there is no vinyl siding in existence that will last a fraction of that time, nor look anywhere near as good. You have to do your homework is easy enough to do on your own, but you have to realize the scale of the work at hand as well as proper methods before diving into something like that, or you can just make things worse.

Add your answer

Have a rehab question?

Ask a question in our Q&A forum. Experts are standing by.

Ask now
Ask a question in our Q&A forum at Experts are standing by to help!