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Business Advice5 min

Tips for Challenges Discovered During Vinyl Siding Removal

Remodelers know trouble can lurk during vinyl siding removal. Seasoned professionals know how to remove vinyl siding with a plan to tackle whatever pitfalls they may encounter on demo day, all while keeping clients confident.

Old vinyl siding can hide problems that may increase costs and time spent on a project. “It absolutely hides surprises,” says Kyle Miller of All Around Construction. But there are several indicators that may reveal hidden damage during initial inspection.

Tips for Discovering Pitfalls During Vinyl Siding Removal

Miller has several best practices for uncovering fungal decay or potential problems during the discovery phase of vinyl siding removal. “With old vinyl, you can unlock it or check between the seams. If you don’t see proper flashing, housewrap or there is softness in the wall sheathing or windows, it’s very likely repairs will be needed.”

In some areas of the country, code didn’t require housewrap. “In houses built between the 1920s and 1950s, fan-fold insulation was installed over wood siding. If we discover either old wood siding or fan-fold in good condition, we create a plan to keep both,” says Miller. If either one is damaged, Miller says to expect more man hours to pull off the extra layers.

Multiple layers of siding can generally be seen at the very bottom, near the ground, when looking up and underneath. During vinyl siding removal, Miller advises to look behind the window and door frames, too. “If the J-channel is flush or recessed back from the window frame, it’s a good indicator there is only one layer of siding underneath. However, if the J-channel is clearly protruding or sticking out, it could show vinyl siding has been installed over an older layer of wood siding.”

What Happens When Fungal Decay is Found During Vinyl Siding Removal?

“I always tell customers, ‘We won’t know anything for certain until we open the wall.’ It’s important to communicate to customers and set expectations early. Walk through all those indicators that could require additional repairs. Even if the house has no sign of fungal decay behind the vinyl siding, don’t make any promises you can’t keep.” 

As an expert in how to replace vinyl siding, Miller advises to take pictures of fungal decay before and after it’s replaced and file with the permit card. Documentation is important, and he reports that city or county building officials want to see new wall sheathing was installed and fungal decay removed.

What Happens When Housewrap isn't Found During Vinyl Siding Removal?

You may also discover housewrap or a moisture barrier does not exist under vinyl or original wood siding. If extensive fungal decay is discovered, give your customers added peace of mind that moisture will not be a problem again. LP WeatherLogic® Air & Water Barrier helps safeguard the home from water intrusion while allowing moisture vapor to escape. It’s easy to install and provides an extra level of protection and homeowner comfort. This article can give insight on the differences between OSB and WRB. 

If the job took longer than planned, rely on the timesaving installation of LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® products. Prefinished trim and siding, like LP SmartSide prefinished siding, eliminates the need to paint, while the 16-foot lengths may allow for faster installation.

Learn from the bad experiences of others so you can approach your next project with a strategic plan. Want more advice? Check out a recent article on the “Top 5 Time Management Tips for Building Professionals.”

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