In addition to the chicken coop project, postings here at Northern New England Villages have been sporadic this year because of another major project launched this summer–removing the vinyl-siding from our home (technically it was aluminum-siding).
It is no secret that we despise vinyl-siding and the irony of owning a vinyl-sided home is not lost on us. Alas, just about every home we had looked at in our price range was clad in vinyl–which just goes to show that we are losing the war against vinyl. Since we could not stand to look at it for one more day, we decided this was the year to tackle the rest of the house by removing the vinyl and restoring the wood siding underneath.
Let’s start with the positive as we have already removed and restored the vinyl-siding on a few parts of the house, as shown below, along the porch area and the bay window. Fortunately, we found several of the old wood storm windows in the garage which we put back onto the house. The remaining windows have either been replaced with vinyl windows or have aluminum storm windows.
We knew that once the vinyl was off that there were going to be some heart-breaking surprises. First, vinyl installers care about only one thing–getting the project done and as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is no surprise that any detailing that gets in their way is simply hammered, buzzed, or hacked off. The pictures below show you the damage left behind by the installation of the vinyl.
Second, vinyl overlaid on wood is a recipe for moisture retention–the number one threat to an historic home. So, as shown in the pictures below, we found several areas of water damage, especially along the roof line. Also, bugs are a major problem and not just the uncovering of active wasp nests which we did a few times. Rather, dead bugs retain moisture and they helped to compound the rot.
The first picture shows the worst moisture penetration. Where exposed to water, vinyl-siding should overlap . . . but for some reason the vinyl-siding joint at the roof-line simply butted against one another and sealed with caulking. Needless to say, the caulk failed over time allowing water to get under the vinyl. Fortunately, the rot is mostly cosmetic (though still a serious pain to fix), but a few more years and it could have reached structural timber and caused major damage.
If anyone is reading this and you are contemplating putting vinyl on your historic home–please do not! Not just because it is unattractive, but also because it harms the integrity of your home. If you have vinyl already, you may want to consider removing it as soon as possible. We hope our experience motivates you to become anti-vinyl.