Answers to Your Siding Questions #2 Answers to Your Siding Questions #2

Q. I've had a roof leak, which ran down the studs of my closet. I've removed the drywall and insulation to let the area dry out. The sheathing is the Mylar-reinforced cardboard stuff and not OSB. It appears that I've got moisture trapped between the stucco and the sheathing, that I'm having a hard time getting out. I think there's tarpaper that's probably soaked. How can I dry this area out before I re-drywall the area?

A. Companies that specialize in drying out homes that have had water damage use commercial sized dehumidifiers that often work in conjunction with heaters and fans to circulate and remove moisture from your home. If you have the drywall off, and the sheathing exposed, perhaps this would be you best bet (and fastest). If you are dealing with any sort of insurance agent, I'm sure they can direct you to someone who does that in your area. If not, there are always the yellow pages.

Q. The gable ends on my house are made of overlapping vertical boards. They are in good shape, but are unsightly. Can I apply vinyl siding directly over, and nail into the vertical boards?
A. Yes, you can, if the wood is not to wavy.

Q. I am considering new siding, which would probably be vinyl. I have been told that I can install the vinyl right over the old lap siding. Is this good or bad advice?

A. Ninety percent of existing homes are sided; just get some 1/4" fan-fold polystyrene to install over the existing wood siding to give yourself a flat surface in witch to side over. Tape the joints also on the fanfold, this helps with a tiny bit of r-value.

Q. I am installing a range hood in my kitchen, and need to install a 3-1/4" x 10" vent on the outside. My old house had wood siding, then was covered with some sort of tan/brown fake brick siding, and then was covered by vinyl siding. What is the best and neatest way to install this vent on the outside wall? Should I simply screw the vent directly into the vinyl siding, or should I cut away the vinyl, and secure it to the fake brick siding? Is there some sort of vinyl edging I can buy to cover the cut edges of the siding?

A. It depends what your vent comes with. What I mean is, does it come with enough duct to extend through your wall? And does it come with a "hood" that installs on the outside of the house that perhaps has a flapper on it? If so, I would take down a couple of pieces of vinyl siding where the vent is going to be, and mark where the vent will go on the inside of the house. You will need to cut two holes, (one through the drywall, and one through all your layers of siding) and it would be nice if you make the hole just slightly bigger than the vent.
The trick is getting the hole on the inside and the hole on the outside to line up. I like to mark the exact center of the hole and using a long drill bit, drill right through the wall (being careful to hold the drill level and square with the wall). This will mark the center of your hole, which you can then draw a rectangle around, so that the cut you make on the inside will match the cut you make on the outside.

Before you install the vent, I like to make a mounting block ¾" to 1 ½" thick for the vent to attach to. If your vent is 3 ½" x 11 ½" for example, I might make the block 6 ½" x 14 ½". You would also need to cut a hole in this mounting block for the vent to pass through. Making this block out of one or two pieces of ¾" plywood seems to work well, since it won't split on you.

This mounting block will then get covered with a piece of white aluminum trim coil, again, with a hole cut out for the vent to pass through. (It would also be a good idea to make a drip cap flashing over the mounting block, and flash it behind the other layers of old siding.)

Around the mounting block, you can then install vinyl j-channel, and your vinyl siding will get cut out to go around the whole thing. Provided you have a hood, you can then mount it to the mounting block. If you prefer, you could spray-paint the hood to match your house a little better. So, that's the hard way of doing it. The easy way is to buy a mounting block that is the right color for your vinyl siding. It should have a snap ring that goes on after you have installed your vinyl siding to fit around it.

Q. I have a 1.5 car detached garage that has what I believe to be cement/asbestos shingles. They look hideous and paint won't cover the mess. What are my options?

A. Vinyl siding is one of the cheapest ways to go. Home improvement centers sell some for about $50 sq., plus accessories like cornering posts and j-channels. Sure, shingles are cheaper - maybe $30 per sq. on sale for cheap 3 tabs - but I think you said you wanted to make it more active. Shingles also will not seal properly on a vertical surface, and will probably not lie down well.

Q. Over the winter, I've noticed a very large amount of mildew covering the west side of my house. The other sides are fine. What do I need to do about it? I assume I have to repaint. What about cleaning the mildew? Do I need to put a sealer on after I paint?

A. To remove the mildew, mix household bleach 25 percent in water with a dash of laundry detergent. Use a garden sprayer or pressure washer to first wet the area, then spray the mixture onto the walls. Let it sit for about five minutes, and then rinse it off. Repeat if needed. For thick infestations, a brush may help. This will kill the mildew. If stains remain, painting will be needed to cover the stains. A sealer will not be needed for painting. This mixture is caustic. Be sure to wet surrounding plants beforehand and rinse afterwards to remove any from the surface. Proper personal protective equipment is required.

Q. I'm probably going to paint my asbestos siding as opposed to siding over (the asbestos is in fairly decent condition). What type of primer and paint would be better to use?

A. Some of the best performance with exterior house paint can be found with acrylic latex primers and paints.

Q. I am trying to decide between two vinyl siding choices. One is a 6" clapboard shaped with contoured foam back foam gives insulation and rigidity, and the other is the more traditional 4". I have some interest in the insulation value but my greater interest is in how these two options will compare regarding the appearance of seems?

A. The size of the siding is a matter of taste, but the style of the house can also be taken into consideration. I'm not sure if you are referring to a specific brand, but we've done a few jobs using double 6" Alcoa "Structures" which has blue foam glued to the back, and I think it's great! It lays flat and goes up straight. The 6" lap goes up fast, and personally, I think it's got more of a look to it than 4" siding. You'll also have 33 percent less laps if you go with 6" siding instead of 4".

Q. I have Masonite siding of lawsuit fame. Mine is actually in good shape, but I would like to repair a small spongy spot I found. I am not super big on esthetics - a functional repair that is not perfectly hidden is fine.

A. You could cut out the bad section and use some Masonite or hardboard as it is often called to make a repair piece. You may have to double what you buy to make it thick enough. Masonite comes in 1/8 or 1/4 inch thickness. I would prime and paint both sides of the repair piece, then install it. Caulk around the repair, and let it dry for a couple of hours. You should then be able to rub down the dried, excess caulk with a coarse cloth to get a fair match. Paint should help hide the repair. The Masonite siding seems to have failed due to being inadequately primed and painted when installed. Keeping it painted should help lengthen the life of the remaining siding.

Q. I have a home with rough-hewn cedar siding. I think it's called board and batten - where the boards are laid vertically with an on-top-of-each-other pattern. Anyhow, they are gray - very gray - and I want to stain them back to a warmer light cinnamon color. Is that possible?

A. It sounds as if the siding is unfinished. Cleaning the gray off requires a lot of work and chemical cleaning. You could simply stain over the gray and make a change in the color. Perhaps it would produce the result you want. A trial in an inconspicuous place will give you some ideas.
Here is more information on your project: Exterior Semi Transparent Stains - Latex or Oil.

Q. I recently purchased a home with aluminum siding. By one door, there are a couple of small holes, maybe big enough to fit a pencil into. Probably someone screwed something in there at one point. Anyone know the best method for repairing these? How about auto body filler?

A. Fill small holes and punctures using caulk or a two-part auto-body filler. Matching color may be a challenge.

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