Should your vinyl siding contractor remove your old siding?

While the debate continues over removing your home's old siding before installing new, some facts are worth weighing before making your decision. Here's what we know:

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Retaining Old Siding: The Pros and Cons

For the best result, it's recommended that you have a vinyl siding contractor remove your old siding before installing replacement siding, but that's not always required. Some homeowners prefer to retain the old siding to avoid the cost of old siding removal, which is roughly $1,000 to $3,000, depending upon your home's size. Consider these factors:

  1. Old siding condition. If the old siding is in serious disrepair, wet, infested with pests, rotting or structurally damaged, it must be removed. Leaving it in place will only cost you lots more down the line, as some of these problems may now or eventually affect your structure. Mitigate all damage before applying new siding.
  2. Compatibility of new and old siding. If your old siding is wood or stucco, and is in good condition, you most likely can install new siding--wood, vinyl, or other material--on top. However, it isn't recommended for a vinyl siding contractor to install new vinyl siding over old vinyl or aluminum siding as it's best to nail the new siding directly into solid wood (the Vinyl Siding Institute recommends 3/4-inch nail penetration). Old asbestos shingles also should be removed.
  3. Trapping moist air. Installing new siding over old creates the risk of moisture becoming trapped as condensed water inside the wall cavity. This can lead to mold, mildew, and rot, ultimately causing serious structural problems. While it isn't certain moisture will become trapped, it is possible.

Removing the existing siding when installing the new produces the best aesthetic result. Additionally, it's easier installing trim around doors, windows, overhangs, etc.

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