Vinyl or wood paneling?

My 119 year old house was painted several times before we moved in almost 6 years ago. Both the siding and the cedar shakes are in rough shape and could use a nice freshening up. Stacie Smith – DN Photo

Based on contractor averages rated through, the cost of painting the exterior of a two-story home is between $ 3,000 and $ 6,200 in between 1,500 and 2,500 square feet.

I have discussed my house in home stories more than once. It enables simple topic and story ideas. My house is around 119 years old and still has single pane windows, wood paneling, and cedar shakes in the peaks. Honestly, it looks pretty rough.

My husband and I discussed how we would like to update and freshen up the look of our home when we have the means. I worry that on some projects I might lose the character and historical integrity of the house. I suspect the wood paneling is too old to be scraped off and repainted.

Great strides have been made in the variety of vinyl siding, including these “cedar” shakes. Submitted photos

I spoke to Richard Ostrander from Ostrander Windows, Siding & Roofing in Belding. His family has run the company for more than 50 years and he has worked there for more than 30 years. During that time, he’s seen big changes with the siding.

“It’s exciting how many changes I’ve seen in 53 years,” said Ostrander. “When I started installing siding as a little kid at the age of 14 or 15, everything was made of aluminum.”

He said when the siding switched from aluminum to vinyl, consumers and contractors didn’t like the change. It couldn’t be tampered with in the way aluminum would allow, and it also faded. He added that there were color restrictions at the time. In the last ten years in particular, quality and variety have improved significantly.

Whether you’re changing the look of the foundation of a house or even adding an entire wall, these vinyl stone siding panels can change the whole look of a house. – Photos submitted

Ostrander addressed the concerns some homeowners of older and historic homes may have with the transition from wood to vinyl. The company is currently located in a historic house in Belding and the homeowners have chosen to keep wood paneling on the windows and doors. In this case, the wood siding is left in place and vapor barrier wrap is installed before the vinyl siding is placed. With so many older homes with no insulation between the walls, this step can improve energy efficiency.

In addition to vinyl siding, which is offered in more colors with fade-resistant guarantees, other surface options are also offered in vinyl. Ostrander said dark hues are popular right now, including shades of gray that are so deep they are practically black. Some homeowners also opt for black trimmings. Homeowners can also update more intricate details with improved vinyl options like shakes and stone cladding.

“Stone siding has come a long way,” Ostrander said. “You put it on chimneys, it looks like brick – it’s sharp.”

These options allow homeowners to retain a historic character in their homes while being offered in a lower maintenance package. Scalloped-edged vinyl panels and shakes add definition and texture to homes. Ostrander added that the stone siding is made from three foot panels, so instead of screwing those panels in, he can screw in and lock them.

When discussing the difference between repainting wood siding and switching to vinyl siding, Ostrander noted that the upfront cost of upgrading to vinyl siding is roughly two to three times the cost of repainting. The difference lies in the long-term care and maintenance costs.

“Some houses have a lot of preparatory work,” said Ostrander. “The national average for colors is 4 to 7 years, depending on the climate, in terms of appearance.”

My home is two story so professionals would need a paint job. We also have cedar shakes in the peaks and they have been painted and are in disrepair. What I’m most impressed with is the addition of the vapor barrier which can help reduce heating bills.

Ostrander wanted to add that while vinyl siding is very low maintenance, it is not as maintenance free as it was once advertised. He lives in an old farmhouse and has opted for vinyl siding. Because his wife likes the look of a clean, curb-sided house, he washes the exterior with electricity about every five years.

“Compared to scraping and painting, I don’t know anyone who likes to paint.”


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