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Question DetailsAsked on 8/14/2014

I am replacing 52 year old Cedar Shakes on a small ranch house with Vinyl siding, any advice?

All three of the contractors I had give me an estimate agreed that the cedar shakes would have to be removed from the house before installing vinyl siding but one of them wants to wrap the house with insulation, one wants to use something called Fanfold and the third is recommending a wrap with insulated siding, I think it's called Charter Oak. The only thing I've learned from trying to make decisions about this project it that no one does it the same way so it seems you are forced to compare apples to oranges instead of apples to apples. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.

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2 Answers


I just answered a question similar to yours, maybe it is the same one but phrased differently. I am presently siding a 100 year old house and I prefer using 4X8 poliyiso sheets not polystyrene (the better one is a yellowish color and the other white beads) of at least 1/2 inch. Fanfold is okay but does nothing for insulation or at least it is minimal. it does not give the same solid backing that I like to install over as there are too many joints, it is faster to install I guess and it does cost less but that is not the way I do jobs. The wrap with insulated siding to me does nothing for insulation as vinyl siding breathes and moves alot so all the insulation does on the back of the siding is to make the siding a bit more solid so it may not have waves in it and adds to the cost. I would rather spend the money on better insulation board behind the siding and seal the joints with tape. Or you could use the house wrap and then insulation board over that.


Answered 6 years ago by ContractorDon


Realize that plank siding has a fair amount of ventilation moving around behind it, so insulation there does not have anywhere as much of a benefit as insulation under the water barrier sheet.

You have found out a truism - different contractors (and architects and engineers) are used to or experienced with different means and products, which can lead to a wide variaiton in pricing both because of the raw product cost differences, and also the efficiency in putting them up. In my experience I have seen variations of 50-100% between low and high RESPONSIVE bids on normal work, and up to 1000% on specialty construction.

What you need to do is look at the various approaches, decide which one(s) you are willing to accept, then go back to the bidders with a revised scope of work spelling out the materials, brands, methods etc you are willing to accept bids on and ask for revised bids.

Ideally this process would have been done up front to save the contractors from having to redo the bids. My practice is to have contractors or subs come and do the jobsite walkthrough and measurements, and tell them that specific materials or methods have not been determined yet but to give me (or the homeowner) what materials or methods they propose, including commonly samples - then when the decision is made, get back to them with definitive scope of work and materials requirements and such, whcih they then apply the earlier measurements to to work up their bids - or say they do not work with that material and they go away without bidding. That is a major risk on the part of homeowners - if the types (and sometimes brandnames or even exact model and color) of work product are not specified up front, you risk wasting the time of contractors who do not do that product, and also can run short of bidders and have to get more who can meet your scope of work. Therefore, it is best to have the basic scope of work laid out as much as possible BEFORE contractors come to see the site. OF course, for major jobs like a full build or a major remodel, it might be two-phase - an initial walkthrough for concepts and general proposals on what they can do for you - basically a sales and promotion call - followed later by a second visit after the scope of work is defined to do actual measurements and prepare the bid.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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