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Siding Q & A and FAQs

Siding Process & Installation

  • Siding is removed and and torn off down to the sheathing, in certain cases it may be acceptable to apply siding over top of the existing siding, this would be for some retail , possibly over a smooth coat of stucco, or when a home uses a sheathing such as T1-11 as the exterior wall cladding. Window frame depths must be taken into consideration. However, our standard method is to remove all existing siding.
  • Old homes maye have multiple layers of siding. Oftentimes vinyl or steel siding will conceal a layer of original wood lap siding. If the home was built prior to the 1970’s there is a high likelihood the siding was painted using lead paint. We will conduct a lead test, and if lead is present a lead abatement will be required to meet EPA guidelines. Ideally, presence of lead paint is detected prior to the build starting. If more than 20 square ft of lead paint is being disrupted, an abatement is required. Abatement is likely not needed if the siding containing lead paint is not being removed.
  • Vapor Barrier is installed first prior to siding being installed. It is overlapped around corners and vertical seams by 6”, and overlapped at horizontal seams by at least 2”. All seams are then taped.
  • Rotten sheathing is replaced, done at the homeowner’s expense. Usually, $125 per sheet, and then time and material for any light framing that may need to be replaced. This can be done by the siders unless the rot repair becomes extensive.
  • It’s common to find wood rot behind old window wraps. When replacing window wraps clients should know that sometimes the 1×4 (or whatever size lumber was used to build out the window trim) may need to be replaced, this is done by siders at expense of time and material.
  • Metal Z flashing (aka “drip cap”) is installed on the tops of all windows, doors, or hardboard horizontal trim pieces, this is to prevent moisture intrusion and leaking.
  • Flashing Tape is applied around all window and door openings prior to siding installation.
  • A dumpster will be delivered prior to the build and removed within a few days after the build. Dumpsters are not typically delivered or removed on weekends.
  • Siding will be nailed into studs, however, studs can be hard to find or sometimes not always be 16” on center, because of this some nails may miss studs. Nails will not be driven directly below water faucets so as not to penetrate the pipe. On most homes, water pipes for interior plumbing fixtures should be running only through interior walls, rather than exterior walls. This is to prevent lines from freezing and to protect from potential puncture by exterior siding fasteners.
  • Lights will be mounted to blocks, either vinyl j blocks or hardboard trim, rather than directly to the siding. If you choose to purchase new lights to install after siding is complete be sure the base fits on the mounting block, if the base does not fit the block we will have to charge to swap out new blocks for the larger base.
  • After siding is installed, an electrician will be sent out within approximately 1-2 weeks to re-install exterior lights, outlets, masts, AC Boxes, or any other electrical components that had to be dismounted to remove and re-install siding.
  • Deck flashing is an L-shaped flashing that sits on top of decks and runs up behind the siding. This prevents water from getting behind the siding just below the deck. When not present it is very common to find rotted sheathing under decks, especially around lower level patio doors and windows.
  • J-Channel around windows and doors is caulked to the edges of the window and door frame.
  • Undersill trim, which is very similar to J-Channel but slightly different, is used on the bottoms of windows and where siding meets the underside of the soffit. Undersill trim helps keep the top of the siding secure in areas where the siding height is cut down and the siding itself cannot be nailed in because the nailing flange has been cut off.
  • Moldable J Channel or “Flex J” is used around arched windows or areas with curves. Please note – moldable J channel only comes in white.
  • PVC trim is a great option for areas that are prone to moisture wicking. PVC trim screws should ideally be used for install which have more holding power than nail in case of thermal expansion. The PVC trim screws also bore away the excess PVC and the flat washer-like head prevents pull throughs.

Vinyl Siding

  • When vinyl siding was first introduced it came only in light colors and was very prone to fade and warping. Current vinyl siding is manufactured using the latest technology in colorfast and dye. This allows manufacturers to produce bright, bold and dark colors that are fade resistant and still look great 10-20 years later.
  • Basic vinyl siding can come in a .040 or .042” thickness, many contractors will use a thinner siding. At Summit the thinnest vinyl siding we use is a thicker .044” thickness, higher grade options are available at increased cost.
  • Dark colors are typically additional cost depending on the brand/model of vinyl siding. The manufacturers charge more to produce the extra dark colors, check with your sales rep for more info on upcharges for specifics brands, models and colors.
  • We use vinyl siding that has a thicker hemmed nailing flange which helps prevent panels from tearing in strong winds.
  • Vinyl siding shall be nailed loosely in the center of the groove on the nailing fin. This allows for expansion and contraction to occur without the siding buckling. Vinyl siding is hand nailed with 1.5” – 2” nails.
  • Exterior lights are always mounted to vinyl j blocks.
  • Split blocks are used around water spickets or smaller pipes penetrating the siding.
  • J Channel is used around bottom edges, windows, and doors, while undersill or finish trim is used on the bottoms of doors and up near soffit.

LP Siding & Hardie

  • LP is an engineered wood product, James Hardie is a high end fiber cement product.
  • Pre-finished LP and Hardie products hold up very well and the finish is warrantied for 15 years.
  • LP Diamond Kote has an extra rugged finish which is warrantied for 30 years. Diamond Kote is more expensive than standard LP Smartside Expertfinish.
  • Primed LP or Hardie is painted in place after install. Paint sticks very well to these products allowing you to choose any color under the sun. The low thermal expansion and moisture repellent properties allow the paint to hold up very well over long periods of time when compared to standard wood products, creating less maintenance and big savings on exterior painting over the long run.
  • Cut ends or edges should be either touch up painted or caulked.
  • Hardie or LP shall not be installed in areas where there is direct contact with water/moisture. LP & Hardie should also not be installed on top of brick.
  • Flashing be design is installed in areas where the roof meets a sidewall. The flashing by design will cover the exposed step flashing for a better finished look and helps to elevate the Hardie or LP to prevent moisture wicking.
  • Touch up should only be the exact paint and color provided by the manufacturer. We advise against trying to color match the siding and use touch up paint from Sherwin Williams or Hirschfields as those colors can have a slightly different sheen or tone than the paint provided by the siding manufacturer.
  • 3/16” gap minimum required at all butt joints and seams. Siding butt joints should not be caulked per LP or Hardie spec, butt joint flashing will be installed behind the butt joint seam
  • Butt joint flashing is a flat thin piece of aluminum cut to size, installed at all butt joints, which sits on top of the bottom row and behind the row above. Prevents water intrusion at butt joints. Required on all hardboard siding jobs. (not vinyl or steel)
  • If the bottom edges of the siding are sticking out this can be due to a bowed or uneven exterior wall. The siding can be pin nailed to sit flat, the nail hole will be caulked/touch up painted.
  • Face nailing and pin nailing may be needed in certain areas. Caulk and touch-up paint will be used to finish and cover the nailing hole.
  • Nail guns shall be set at proper pressure so that nails aren’t over or underdriven, however some variance is expected.
  • Ring shank coil nails shot from nails guns are used when installing LP & Hardie Board. Ring shank nails are ribbed and less likely to rise out and come loose over time.
  • The crew will always try to nail into studs, sometimes the nails can miss or curl out the edge of the stud, as studs can sometimes be off center or installed at different distances than 16” on center.
  • Shake Installation requires OSB or ½” Plywood or OSB sheathing is required behind shakes, this is something to check prior to ordering. If we need to remove existing bilt rite sheathing and install OSB or Plywood this will be an additional expense to the homeowner.
  • LP & Hardie shakes are 4’ long strips, due to the nailing requirement they may not always be nailed into studs, this is why ½” Plywood or OSB sheathing is required.
  • LP trim comes in longer 16’ lengths, Hardie trim comes in 12’ lengths. LP is easier to rip down to narrower widths when needed versus Hardie because 5/4 Hardie trim does not have a solid backside (it has grooves).
  • Hardie needs to be handled with care, it is a less flexible material than LP, and if carried wrong it can crack due to the weight.

Steel Siding

  • Steel siding should be loosely nailed, nails will be driven into the center of the groove of the nailing flange to allow for expansion and contraction. The fastener should penetrate ¾” into the stud. Can be hand nailed or pneumatically nailed.
  • 1.5” nails required if not installed over fan fold (foam backer) and 2” if installed over foam backer.
  • Ends of siding should overlap ¾” to 1”
  • Touch up paint is sold by the manufacturer (Edco) and typically sent out on most jobs to cover scratches or scuffs from shipping and installation.
  • Steel siding is very durable, usually finished in a PVC coating it will not rust and can hold up well to light and mid sized hail and is also very resistant to wind damage.
  • Steel siding is more rigid and creates cleaner lines than vinyl when installed, and has a great finished look.
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