Paint or Install Siding?
April 25, 2008 9:36 AM   Subscribe

Repaint or put siding on my house?

I live in an-almost 100 year-old house. It needs a paint job, which is messy and time-consuming, and it will require repainting every 4 years or so in my neck of the woods.

I hear that (after installation) of siding is lower maintenance, and though it lacks some of the character of wood, I am inclined to get it.

Does anyone have personal experience? Bonus points for pro opinions.
posted by Pocahontas to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Siding is certainly lower maintenance. If you're not concerned about aesthetics or preserving the character of your house, it's the way to go.
posted by electroboy at 9:43 AM on April 25, 2008

The wood-grain hardiboard siding we had installed looks pretty good, I think. Definitely better than any vinyl or aluminum siding I've ever seen.
posted by hades at 9:52 AM on April 25, 2008

yeah, i'm going with hardiboard on the front of my house where the siding needs to be replaced. eventually, i'm planning on hardiboarding the whole house, when i have enough money and the rest of the siding dies (hopefully these will happen around the same time)
posted by rmd1023 at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2008

Some siding products may interfere with RF transmissions. This has become less of an issue for me over the last few years as tech in various devices seems to have improved--that's just a subjective judgment call. (It's also possible that I've gotten so used to "you have to point the antenna this way" moments that I don't notice anymore.)

I used to have cellphone dead areas in the house, not so much anymore. Products like small indoor/outdoor wireless thermometers might not work. TV reception may be affected.

(On the other hand, it might hinder neighbors from trying to access your wi-fi. To some people, that could be a plus.)
posted by gimonca at 10:14 AM on April 25, 2008

I'm not sure where you live but here in Chicago, if done properly, a quality paint job should last 10-15 years.

Pro's to siding:

- Doesn't peel like paint will eventually.
- Will last longer than a paint job if installed properly.
- Depending on the installation (with foam board, for example), it can offer some weather resistance.

Con's to siding:

- You will probably lose some architectural details on the house, including having to have the trim around the windows redone or (in some cases) hacked up. Siding is standard, old houses are not. They force the house to fit the siding, and this generally means cutting stuff up.
- Environmental issues with the manufacture of siding. Siding doesn't last forever. It may last longer than a paint job if installed correctly, but it will have to be repaired and replaced periodically. Then the siding goes into a landfill and you have to put more siding on because putting back the wood features of the house that were carved up from the installing the first siding is too cost-prohibitive.
-If installed incorrectly (far too easy to install it INcorrectly), it can create more problems than it solves. Trap moisture between the siding and the wood, for example, and create mold and rot. I've seen this and it can get very ugly. Of course, these are problems that you won't see until they are pretty far along because it's behind the siding.
-Siding will dent and crack. And dents and cracks are difficult, if not impossible, to repair. When this happens you live with it looking terrible or you have to replace that piece.
-If you live in a neighborhood where people value homes with character, siding will decrease (not increase) the value of the house.

Future homeowners will probably curse your name as "that d*mned previous owner that installed the crappy siding", especially if you have a super cute house with architectural elements (like a Victorian or Bungalow). If the house is pretty nondescript and you aren't concerned with aesthetics AND you have a very reputable installer with a long track record, that would put more pro's in the pro column.

A professional contractors take on installing vinyl siding correctly, from Fine Homebuilding.

Another take from very experienced professional contractor.
posted by jeanmari at 10:36 AM on April 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

If it makes you feel any better: Tom Silva has vinyl siding on his house.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:12 PM on April 25, 2008

I grew up in a family business that installed vinyl siding. I would never put it on my house. It will look good for the first several years. In 20, it will look crappy. Then it will end up in a landfill forever.

My vote is for paint or, if money flows like water, hardi.
posted by stuboo at 2:26 PM on April 25, 2008

More pros and cons of vinyl siding, including some info on vinyl siding that the salespeople don't mention:

Vinyl Siding and Your House
Old House Inspector talks about vinyl siding

p.s. I have more faith in Norm Abram, myself. There is a reason why, with Tommy on the job, many long time fans of the show want to rename it This Old McMansion Which Used to Be A Lovely Old House.
posted by jeanmari at 6:58 PM on April 25, 2008

Hardi's great, BUT, and this is a big but, that stuff is HEAVY. We just moved ~400 sticks of it, and I'd put the weight in the thousands of pounds. It's great though, just score and snap.

I'd say siding, and under that siding, throw up some blueboard and recaulk/seal your windows while you're at it. Might as well get some R value out of the project.
posted by TomMelee at 8:37 PM on April 25, 2008

« Older Remote X11 desktop on OS X   |   Where to wax? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.