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Curb Appeal7 min

The Do’s and Don’ts of Re-Siding a Historic Home

Choosing what siding to install can be an enemy of old houses. Siding an old house in vinyl or aluminum can mask serious moisture problems. Siding installation may eliminate trim and other distinctive aesthetic elements that create the uniqueness that historic homes are known for. If you are considering the purchase of a historic home, or you already are the proud owner of a local historical gem, use caution when it comes to siding. 

Don’t Do These Things

  • Don’t cover a historic home with vinyl or aluminum siding. Vinyl siding is touted as a “no maintenance” product. While it’s true that vinyl itself does not require care, the problem is that vinyl siding does not allow an old house to breathe due to the unknown factor in moisture resistance in historic homes. When rain seeps in or interior water vapor can’t escape due to poor ventilation, moisture becomes trapped behind the vinyl and slowly rots the underlying wood. This is also an invitation for termite infestation – but you’ll never know about these problems because they will be completely hidden by sheets of vinyl or aluminum.

  • Don’t remove architectural details. The details of a historic home are usually unique to the home. Never allow a contractor to rip off wood window surrounds and other architectural components to make the siding process easier. These items are irreplaceable and add great value to your home.
  • Don’t try to make a historic home look new. A big part of the attraction to old homes is that they are made of natural materials that create character. Trying to make a historic home look “like new” will eliminate the authentic charm that makes it so special!

Do These Things

  • Determine if a home is subject to local protective legislation. If your local municipality has designated a home as a historic property, there are likely preservation ordinances in place that govern design guidelines and procedures for proposed alterations to it. These are meant to preserve architectural character and protect your long-term investment. Before making any home improvements, contact your local historic board or the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Choose siding that can be painted. Color is a unique feature of old houses, and homes are often repainted when they change ownership.

Define a Home with LP® SmartSide® Trim & Siding Products

When you’re looking for a viable alternative to traditional wood siding that still offers the beautiful aesthetics of wood, consider LP SmartSide engineered wood trim and siding. LP’s SmartGuard® manufacturing process gives LP SmartSide products strength and durability. Zinc borate is distributed throughout the wood substrate to resist termites, the strands or fiber are bonded together using waxes and advanced resins created specifically for exterior use. LP SmartSide products are available in both smooth and cedar texture finishes, and in a variety of profiles for greater design flexibility.

Contact an LP® BuildSmart Preferred Contractor in your area to discuss whether LP SmartSide engineered siding would be a good fit for your historic home.

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