Vinyl siding over limestone brick/mortar?

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Old 02-08-09, 04:01 PM
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Vinyl siding over limestone brick/mortar?

Hi everyone,

I own an old home (ca 1920) with limestone brick and mortar that is crumbling, and even missing some brick in some places. Moisture and cold air literally seep through the brick and into the plaster walls, making the house extremely cold during the winter. So far no mold that I can see, but I don't want to let this go on very much longer.

The cost of repointing the house will be somewhere around 50k, and since I don't have the money for that I contacted some siding companies and got some quotes. Installing vinyl siding with 1 in foam insulation will be significantly cheaper than having the house repointed. So siding seems the way to go, but I have some concerns:

Will the vinyl siding protect the limestone brick/mortar from further deterioration?

Since the mortar can be scraped off by hand and the brick is not much better, what would be the best way to attach the siding to the walls?

Is siding a good option?

Thank you,

K
 
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Old 02-08-09, 08:02 PM
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I see a couple problems, the first is your brick walls sound like there in bad shape. In order to side it you have to attach lumber(1x2 furring) to the wall. If your scraping mortar out with your finger you might have some problems attaching anything to it. Another inherent problem with siding over brick veneer is the details around the windows and doors. You will need some talent to make it look decent. If restoring the masonry is out of the question, consider tearing it off, then start the siding. I'm not a siding guy I'm a brick mason but I've seen siding over brick before and around the doors and windows looked.. not good. Another thing I am not quite clear on is I am assuming it's a brick veneer. You may want to throw a post in the siding thread here for some more ideas. Hope you get it worked out.

Smitty
 
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Old 02-09-09, 05:13 AM
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Smitty is exactly right on all counts.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 04:51 AM
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Hi Smitty,

It's a limestone brick and mortar structure, so tearing it down would be tearing down the house.

As a mason, what has been your experience with limestone mortar and brick? Would siding protect the walls from further deterioration? In your opinion, what would be the best course of action if repointing is not an option (and neither is tearing down the whole house).

The home is an old, freestanding rowhome (once a duplex but the attachment burned down in the 80's) and the windows were updated with vinyl frames, so I'm not too concerned about blending the siding into the windows. I've been told that the furring and insulation foam could be attached using a combination of glue and masonry screws.

Thanks,

K
 
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Old 02-13-09, 05:45 PM
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As a mason I have worked with many different limestones (restoration and new construction). With any masonry, it needs periodic maintenance to maintain its integrity and function. Builders have been using it for centuries around the world, for good reason, ití relatively easy to work with.. The dust created when cutting or shaping is not toxic like the silicates in most masonry materials. It weathers well, and is not hard to maintain. However, it is a bit expensive and, being a carbonate rock, acid is a limestone killer. A couple other key characteristics of limestone is the softness and porosity, which vary in limestone depending on the mineral composition where quarried. In my neck of the woods, there are several distinct limestones that are quarried for building. Often we have it shipped in from different parts of the country depending on what is needed. I make sure it gets snapped together correctly and the engineers and architects determine the materials needed in a given project; this is an important step. The company I work for specializes in restoration. I witnessed cases in which certain limestone did represent a problem. For example, in cold weather climates, where there are freeze-thaw cycling a limestone that is to porous, can suffer rapid deterioration where a harder less porous limestone would have been more successful.

Getting back to your situation, the first step in the rehabilitation of stone a structure involves the accurate assessment of that structure. Determine any root problems such as a leaky gutter, corroding steel, etc. and address them. In other words, before you can know how to fix something properly, you have to know how it was intended to work in the first place. Water is the biggest culprit of deterioration in stone coupled with thermal contraction and expansion. You have a structural limestone wall system which, by nature, is highly absorbent. A Limestone structure must be allowed to breathe just as a cavity wall must drain to get rid of water. Vinyl siding is a barrier system if installed correctly. Unless you use some kind of house wrap and make sure everything is sealed vinyl siding is not even waterproof. Water will find its way in especially in driving rain. Furthermore using a barrier system on a wall that needs to breathe will create a situation where you walls will not be able to completely dry trapping moisture.

Sorry if Iím getting a little long winded here, but it sounds like your walls are pretty far gone. Siding is a Band-Aid fix to a potential structural problem down the road. Siding will not stop the deterioration. Proper repair of stone masonry can seem costly however, this cost can easily be eclipsed by the cost of correcting deferred repairs or ignoring defects down the road. Repairs that only address problems on the surface can mask deeper issues and often allow deterioration to continue unnoticed, especially in certain circumstances.

I understand your in a pinch but IMO The best course of action is restoring the masonry for long term structural integrity.

Hope this helps,
Smitty
 
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