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Question DetailsAsked on 10/29/2014

Can wood siding which is under vinyl siding be restored if it is in reasonably good shape?

While having a window replaced recently, I noticed that the vinyl siding was placed on top of the old wood siding. Asked the previous owner about it and learned that the wood siding was in reasonably good shape, but they decided to lay the vinyl on top when they had an annex built and to avoid future painting costs. Is trying to restore the wood siding that has been underneath vinyl for about 10 years a bad idea? Would prefer hardie board siding, but the cost is too prohibitive. Any advice?

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4 Answers


I don't know what you mean by "restored" - certainly if you pull the vinyl siding off (realizing there will be at least a few damaged pieces that may be tough to find matching replacements for), you can replace the underlying siding if it is rotting.

Hopefully they put a water barrier over the wood sheathing before putting on the vinyl, otherwise it is quite likely that you do have some rot under there, because lap type siding is a water shedding layer, NOT by any means waterproof, so there is a limited amount of water that gets behind it (especially in windy rainstorms) and that has to be shed by an underlayment overthe nailing surface (the wood siding in your case) - either synthetic like Tyvek housewrap, or old-school like tarpaper (roofing felt), which runs the infiltrated water down the wall behind the sidingand drains it out the bottom of the siding.

You may have to detach a piece of siding or two in the "field" - the main part of the siding away from corners, doors and windows - to see if there is an underlayment right under the vinyl (other than the little flaps that are put under the joints and at doors/windows). If so then personally. unless you have reason to believe the wood is rotting or wet, I would not mess with it until time to replace your siding in another (hopefully) 10 years or so, and if not in poor condition it makes a perfectly suitable nailing substrate for the siding, and it is normal practiceto nail lap siding like vinyl,aluminum, steel, concrete plank, etc to the pre-existing sheeet siding. I am talking over flat sheet siding - putting it over another layer of lap siding would be odd and not recommended, especially as it would be real tough to get the rows to line up as they should because they would have to follow the underlying row spacing unless it was firred out with wood pieces to provide new vertical nailing strips. Wouldstill be odd to put lap siding over another layer of lap siding - I know I would never try it.

If you have reason to believe otherwise or just want good peace of mind, you can either rent a color thermal IR camera at Home Depot (a new program - not all have it yet) or at a tool rental place (typically about a half hundred for half day, or $75 range for full day) - or have an energy audit company with thermal IR camera come and run your house to see if there is evidence of wetness in your walls. That could run from about $75-250 depending on company and whether you decide to have them check out the roof and attic and inside of the house for insulation gaps or wet spots while you are at it. Get a company that gives you a TV or computer compatible DVD or a thumb drive with the imagery on it so you can show it to contractors/ bidders and also to be able to review it at your leisure.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


Thanks LCD, though I think my question was not clear enough. What I meant to ask was: is it possible to remove the vinyl siding that is covering wood siding since the wood is in reasonably good shape and just patch up and paint the existing wood siding? I removed a couple pieces of the vinyl siding and basically the old wood siding was covered with a water barrier with furring strips nailed in top (for the vinyl siding).

The vinyl siding currently on the house is cheap (very short lengths) and poorly installed and I would like to replace it, but since the original wood underneath appears to be in ok shape (from what I could see) I wonder if it makes sense to simply uncover the wood siding. I am no expert, but imagine that will require patching up the nail holes and a good paint job. Am I missing anything?


Answered 5 years ago by Guest_9219290


Oh - my mistake - I sort of read it that way first time around, then for some reason got to thinking you were worried about the condition of the wood under the vinyl but intended to leave the vinyl for the rest of its unnatural life, and whether that would damage the house.

I suppose you could strip down the vinyl and go back to the original siding - but you are looking at a bad case of house measles from all the nail holes that would have to be filled (and would nothave the same texture as the surrounding material so would always look like measles probably unless the entire surface was sanded down (which is cost prohibitive - cheaper to replace), and of course the paint would have to be a heavy-build paint over primer to cover over the patched nail holes. It is also possible there will be a lot of caulk around the window and door areas that would have to be scraped off - which is almost impossible to do without creating a bad mismatch in the surface texture of the siding. And a third thing - you will not really know the condition of the siding till you expose it, so you would have to be prepared to replace an unknown amount of it in the event of hitting mold or rot.

Also- you did not say what the underlying material is - if fiberboard or particle board or such, I would not recommend using that as a finish siding material. Plywood products like T1-11 and such are a different story, as they are pretty tough and long-lived.

Personally, unless the vinyl is really very poorly done and letting water into the walls, I would let it live its life out, then test strip a section or two to see whwt the underlhying material condition is - might well be time to replace it at that time too, or leave it in place if in decent condition and use it as the nailing substrate (with the firring and underlayment again) for your preferred siding. I guess my thought is basically why spend quite a few thousand $ to replace something before it needs to be, assuming it is working adequately or would with some minor repairs, but that is your decision depending on the status of pocketbook, who hates the look and how much, if you are trying to do an overall house appearance upgrade, etc. And I really do think you would find the measles effect to be as bad looking as the vinyl, because except on smooth plywood you would never get the texture to match.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Did you ever remove the vinyl? I am looking into removing my vinyl siding and restoring the wood siding underneath. Since it has been a few years I was wondering if you had completed this project. Any tips or warnings before we start pulling the vinyl off?

Answered 2 years ago by broadmoor

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