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What siding is the best for houses in the PNW?

While the summer weather is beginning to wane, the list of home improvement projects just seems to grow.

As everyone knows, for a variety of reasons – many COVID-19 related – building materials are costly now and contractors are hard to find.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be considering your options for your projects now so that when prices go down and more builders are available, you will know which direction to go.

Today we have some questions to help you determine your options for siding.

Q. How do I know how to tell if I need to replace my siding?

A. Some visible clues that you need to replace your siding are that the siding:

  • won’t hold paint anymore

  • is cracked

  • has numerous missing knots

  • has curled ends

  • has lots of missing pieces

  • is rotted

  • has lots of loose nails

  • leaks when it rains

So, take a good look and see if your house’s siding is showing signs that it needs to be replaced. And, here’s a little warning: When it comes to purchasing siding, be careful of any telephone solicitation contractors.

Instead, do your own research, try to work with locals and check with friends, neighbors and relatives who are happy with their new siding and siding contractor.

Q. What are the options to replacing old cedar siding?

A. Once you’ve decided you need new siding, or if you’re building a house and are beginning to research siding, it’s smart to consider all the options. If you are going to re-side no matter what the type of siding if you don’t have insulated walls, now is the time to get the blow-in insulating done so that all the weatherization installation hole plugs are covered by the new siding. Be sure to talk to PUD about their great weatherization program rebate. And, make sure to call them before you start the project.

Wood: There are shingles, cedar bevel siding, Dutch lap, board and bat and sheet materials such as T-111. Many of the homes in the Pacific Northwest have some sort of wood siding but many are changing to other man-made sidings that require less maintenance. Maintenance-wise, wood usually requires sealing of some sort – such as paint or stain.

Aluminum: There are several companies selling and installing this type of siding and they are generally found in the phone directory. Maintenance-wise, an annual scrubbing is recommended. One downside of this option is that it dents when hit.

Cementuous siding: Available at your local lumber store, this type of siding looks similar to wood and is easy to install. It also keeps painted for longer is fire-proof and is easily cleaned. Various types are used more and more on new construction and it has a very long life – generally not needing to be replaced if kept painted and cleaned.

Stone or brick: These materials can give a home a distinctive look. You’ll want to call a masonry contractor for information, options and installation of these types of material.

Vinyl siding: Seems like we are seeing this more and more, especially as an overlay over the old siding. You’ve seen numerous ads in the newspaper and maybe have received your share of telephone solicitations, but most local contractors can handle your needs.

Maintenance-wise, an annual scrubbing should keep it looking good. Generally it is not painted and can oxidize over time. It can also be brittle and break when hit.

Q. Can you use the old wood to re-side a house?

A. Reusing old siding makes sense if it is in good shape. Another deciding factor could be availability of like materials. “Can you replace a few bad spots and not have to replace all the siding?” is a good question to ask.

Historic preservation may play a role in deciding what to use or re-use, too. Finding the appropriate material is the key.

Costing out new materials versus using old may also be a big factor in this decision. Especially nowadays! Therefore, keeping what you have in the best possible condition makes the most dollar and sense!


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