Giving our house a facelift
March 18, 2014 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Our house has ugly, dirty, dented, hole-y vinyl siding. I hate it and want to replace it. Problems: We live in a cheap neighborhood and don't want to overdo it, and we are short on cash.

Immediate issue: There is a huge hole in the back of our house where there was once a door. The hole is drywalled on the inside and the outside is plywood covered in tar paper (with insulation in between inside & outside). This is both ugly, and I'm assuming, after 2 years, not all that weather proof. We have not replaced the siding over the hole yet because we hate the current siding and didn't want to spend money on any more like it.

Two questions:

1. Are there any inexpensive siding choices besides vinyl, or can you recommend a type of vinyl that is not hideous? (Ours looks like this.)

Bonus if it is DIYable for two people who have decent DIY skills (i.e. we own multiple saws and have built some furniture, tiled, and drywalled).
* There is original 60-year-old wood siding underneath the current vinyl. I don't know how that affects our options or our DIY possibilities.

2. Is there any reason why we can't replace the siding just on the back of the house right now and do the other sides when we have more money? Or is it all-or-nothing kind of deal due to corners, trim, etc?
posted by raspberrE to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I know nothing of siding, but if there is a door size portion missing, can you buy a cheap door and just cover it with that while you save for a better fix?
posted by cestmoi15 at 5:22 PM on March 18, 2014 [3 favorites]

If you go that way, I recommend surfing Craigslist for someone getting rid of a door for cheap or free.
posted by Night_owl at 5:56 PM on March 18, 2014

There shouldn't be any reason why you couldn't just re-side the one side, other than for aesthetic reasons. It's going to be difficult to find an exact match for color / texture, on both ends of this endeavor. When it comes time to do the rest of the house, you may find that the one you newly resided however long ago has faded or is no longer available.

If you don't care about having a slight but noticeable difference in color shade on one side of the house, both now and in the future, then by all means go for it. Corners shouldn't be an issue; if it's vinyl there should be a corner piece that the siding sort of fits into / behind, like this, so the meeting of those two sides shouldn't be an issue.

I haven't personally done it - at least not recently, but I remember helping side our house when I was a kid and I remember it wasn't that big of a deal. I'd personally be more concerned about the integrity of the wood siding underneath it if it's that old.

As for cost, vinyl is probably your best bet. You could possibly find some low end cedar or engineered wood siding that comes close to the cost of vinyl, but I'd be hesitant to put either of those up directly over existing wood siding without extra prep work. I could be way off base on that, though - I'm just a DIYer.
posted by SquidLips at 6:07 PM on March 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you can do it yourself, for the price of installed vinyl you can DIY hardie board. And you should. Hardie board (or some other concrete siding-it's a brand name) can be bought at ANY home improvement store and all you need to cut it is a special saw blade for you saw (you want to wear protective equipment when cutting-silicosis is no joke). To install it right you need to remove the wood siding underneath-and if possible that is the perfect time to insulate better or at least install tyvek. Hardie board never, ever rots, and if you can afford it you can get the stuff with the color in the concrete and it never needs painting. The house wrap/insulation can pay for itself pretty damn quick if you have a drafty house.

Often old siding can be removed pretty easy with crowbars and circular saws set to cut really shallow.

And it is totally ok to upgrade one side or even half a side at a time. In fact it is probably better and safer to do that so you never have too much of your house exposed at one time in case of bad weather or budget busting events.

You might get somebody interested in the old wood siding if any of it is still sound (unlikely after a few years under vinyl siding). See if there are any lumber salvagers near where you live (this last one is a long shot, but worth a phone call).
posted by bartonlong at 6:27 PM on March 18, 2014 [6 favorites]

What kind of shape is the original siding in?
If it's not too bad you might be able to go back to the original, replace any boards that got rotten, and paint.
Probably cheapest and will turn out cutest - it's what your house was designed to look like.
posted by littlewater at 7:41 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I don't know about the DIY aspect of it, but I had a house with hardiboard siding and it is what vinyl wishes it was. Looks like wood, wears great, very low-maintenance. Very nice stuff.
posted by jeoc at 7:45 PM on March 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

We replaced the siding on the back of our house with Hardi Board, it's paintable, so if you want to wait on other parts of your house, you can. We let ours go for about 5 years before painting it. In its natural state, it's dove-gray. If you want, you can match the paint color to your existing vinyl and paint it that color. You can buy it at any big-box store.

Talk to the guys at your store about special tools you might need (like a hammer drill) but if you do a house wrap and have the ladders, I think this is an advanced, but DIY project.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:22 AM on March 19, 2014

One reason you may not want to do this (one side now, rest later) is color matching the older siding. Weather fading or a difference in the coloration during manufacturing can be issues. If you want to try, and see what happens down the road I'd look for a local Habitat Re-store outlet. they often get donations of extra materials or end of run stuff that they sell super cheap.
posted by Gungho at 7:50 AM on March 19, 2014

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