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Question DetailsAsked on 9/13/2014

home has masonite sheet siding with no plywood sub wall or barrier, should this be removed before re-siding?

Tri-Level home built in mid-70's with 4" stud walls with bat insulation without any sheathing under Masonite sheet siding with battens on 16" centers, with NO vapor barrier of any kind, 3/8 or 7/16" siding then 3 1/2" insulation & 3/8" drywall between me and the outdoors, where siding joined between upper & lower sheets NO Z-bar installed, only lapped over approx. 1" no flashing @ windows or Z-bar either, only brick mold and an additional 1x2 fir strip @ top & bottom of each window, there is some water damage on the lower edge on 2-sides where siding is within 6" from ground, other sides are elevated approx. 24" above ground level, sides with damage have been cut off @ 24" and replaced with same material with Z-bar and a 1x3 horizontal strip covering splice with caulk approx. 15 years ago, home is very drafty & inefficient, looking for recommendations if existing siding needs removed & preferred new material of sheathing & siding - NOT a vinyl fan

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3 Answers


Wow - even for the free-wheeling 70's sounds like this homehad some significant code violations, unless built in an area where there was no code enforcement.

I think it would help contributors to know what part of the country you are in and if any particular exposure to blowing spray (likenear lake or ocean), because the lack of interior vapor barrier could make quite a difference in the response. Also, could you clarify what type of siding products you DO like - aluminum or steel or wood, vertical or horizontal boards or sheet product like T1-11, or what ? You can google this search phrase to see hundreds of images of differnet types of house siding - images for types of house siding . Also, is there other product or you do NOT like, and how do you feel about foam-in-place foam insulation, because that is a possible viable vapor barrier and insulation solution in your case. Also note if you are planning a major interior rehab that would be taking a lot of drywall off, because that obviously affects which side one might attack this situation from.

Also - I presume the battens are horizontal, right - approximately what size are they (cross-section). Are we talking 1x3 or 1x4, or something like 1/2x2 inch ?

Also, are you looking for a tight-budget minimal cost improvement, or can you afford a total wall rehab if it significantly improves your energy situation and interior comfort ?

You don't say WHY you are posting this - have you had water leakage or wall rot, is the masonite swelling and falling apart, or is this primarily an insulation and energy efficiency question ?

Respond back using the Answer This Question button right under your question.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


batten boards are vertical - 3/4 x 1-3/4" (1x4 ripped) vert. sheet siding - NOT a fan of vinyl - am consideering horizontal steel or LP Smart side sheet product with batten boards - down side is thickness, & paint (DO NOT like the 8" groove appearence) LP has a wood grain non-grooved - only 3/8" thick - live in central Missouri - no nearby body of water - have had water damage in past - repaired/replaced & beginning to reoccur at lower edges & above garage door - no interior remodel plans in near or far future related to exterior walls - Am considering a full exterior overhaul - siding, windows, soffit, gutters - windows are single pane double hung, doors have been replaced with insulated steel, soffit is same masonite material - fascia (wood) needs paint/replaced in areas & gutters need removed for that - would entertain all aspects of material / cost / maintenance -wood, steel, aluminum,fiber cement (Hardi) or vinyl - I am no longer a young man and a recent lower leg amputee with FULL time PLUS occupation - energy costs and maintenance major concern - New furnace-A/C in 2012 and reduced energy expense 30% - I know new windows / siding with barrier will improve another 30%+

Answered 5 years ago by drichie


Wow - sounds like the installer had no idea what he was doing - because as far back as I can remember, anything less than 3/4" masonite (where allowed) should have had HORIZONTAL battens at 12" spacing underlain by tar paper (roofing felt) - vertical battens just widened the studs, but did nothing to provide needed support to the masonite.

As you say, if redoing the siding then it is well worth going with a total re-side. If in cold climate I would go with board insulation under the housewrap under siding as well.

As for the siding type - everybody has their own hates - not many have loves on siding. I would stay FAR away from any exterior insulation as siding system like EIFS and from sheet/panel aluminum or vinyl products - and I have no respect for vinyl lap siding due to its propensity for bulging, cracking, denting, and leaking. Aluminum is not much better to my mind, and the concrete products I have seen too many continuing problems with to recommend them. Basically they are the same product as steel but with more production and installation issues and more susceptible to breakage, so I see not benefit in them other than cheapness - and you have certainly seen where a cheap siding gets you, as yours is about the cheapest ever other than the American Craft Board cardboard siding used on prefab houses in the 50's, which was truly amazing - though very fire safe, saas you could basically just walk right through it in a fire.

Lap or board-and-batten (vertical board) cedar and shakes are nice but high-maintenance items, which it does not sound like you need or can handle yourself. In my mind, that leaves factory-painted steel siding (either horizontal lap or vertical sheet), sheet board siding like the LP product you were mentioning or T1-11 - which a lot of people hate but is common and serves well in my area, batten-and-board redwood, and metal shingle siding as relatively low-maintenance siding (assuming proper priming and painting is done up front).

If you want simplicity and low air leakage, the 4x8 to 4x12 sheet products win hands-down in that category, but if you want near-zero maintenance then assuming it is put on right and you have a good water barrier under it, the factory-finished steel lap or panel or shingle siding is probably lowest maintenance of all the choices. oBviously, how much you are exposed to driving rain or huricanes affects your choice too, as the lap and shingle products will leak and tear off easier in that condition than the panel ones.

You can get lots more opinions on siding types and some ballpark pricing in the prior siding question responses in the Home > Siding link in Browse Projects, at lower left.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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