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Can You Put Vinyl Siding Over Wood Siding? (Explained)

Since our homes are the places of our utmost comfort – we build, modify and organize it in such a way to make it comfortable for our living. Alongside that, it is also important to manage the energy losses and air quality of our interior. 

Wall sheathing sidings are excellent components installed on our houses’ exteriors that determine the condition of our interior. This article discusses whether you could install different types of siding over each other.

Vinyl siding over wood siding:

Vinyl siding can be put over wood siding with or without removing old wood siding underneath it. However, it requires some preparation and adjustment to install vinyl siding. Unlike wood siding, vinyl siding is inexpensive and easy to install while being resistant to insects and decay.

Vinyl lap siding was originally used as a replacement for aluminum siding, but has become a standard with technological advancements. 

They are an excellent addition to your home since they do not require paint, are available in various colors and are insect resistant while being comparatively inexpensive to wood. 

However, some of its downsides are that they require regular washing to maintain good looks and it would crack or start to fade its colors with age. If you choose high quality vinyl lap siding – you could minimize most of its drawbacks.

On the other hand, cedar wood siding is known for its great looks that increases the overall beauty of your home. A healthy and high quality wood can last for a long time and offers a wide variety when installing new or replacing old wood siding. 

Despite its good looks and aesthetics, there are some critical drawbacks that make vinyl siding a more favorable option.

Installing cedar wood siding is an expensive process due to the cost of wood, besides that – there are additional costs of painting and staining the wood siding which aren’t required in case of vinyl lap siding. 

Although wood sidings are strong and durable in harsh weather conditions, that piles up with high maintenance cost as well as time. You can reduce the maintenance cost by doing the maintenance yourself, but that is a time consuming process with high efforts.

Vinyl siding is inexpensive and easy to install and maintain whereas wood siding increases your home’s beauty and is durable while being expensive to install and maintain. 

Homeowners choose either of them depending on which is more suitable for their needs, they can also install vinyl over wood or replace them if they wish to make a change.

Removing old wood siding vs covering with vinyl siding:

When putting up new vinyl siding, you might already have old wood siding installed. But whether you should remove the old wood siding or cover them up with the new vinyl siding depends on the situation. 

Below discusses both situations and assesses which one is the better option:

Replacing old wood siding with vinyl siding: 

Wood siding tends to absorb moisture which causes them to deform and rot. If you leave the old rotting wood on and place new vinyl siding over it, there is a high chance of mold and mildew growth on the wood and raises critical hygiene issues. 

Therefore, unless the condition of the wood is good and intact, you should remove old weakened wood siding and put vinyl siding.

However, you need to carefully examine the old wood because removal of old wood siding is an expensive process due to the additional cost of removing old wood siding alongside the cost of installing vinyl siding.

Covering old wood with vinyl siding: 

Having moisture problems on wood siding and having signs of damage or decay on the wood makes it unsuitable for vinyl siding to cover the old wood siding since that opens the possibilities to several other issues if left unaddressed. 

Any house with wood siding installed 50 years ago needs to have their old wood siding checked for moisture before making the decision of covering them up with new vinyl siding. 

If the wood siding has no sign of damage, decay or insect infestation, then you can install vinyl siding over the wood siding with a layer of insulating sheet. 

In case the wood is in good condition, you have the choice of covering them with vinyl siding or removing them – but if the wood has been weakened, you cannot cover them with vinyl siding.

How to put vinyl siding over old wood siding?

The steps for putting vinyl siding over old wood siding are described below:

Check the condition of the wood:

Since vinyl siding requires a stable foundation to be durable, the old wood siding it is going to be put on must be in good condition as well. If the wood is damaged, decayed or infested with insects – there will be much greater problems later.

Therefore, make sure the wood doesn’t have molds and is fresh before proceeding to the next step.

Smoothen the surface:

Vinyl siding requires a smooth surface to be installed on and therefore you need to smoothen and flatten the wood surface before vinyl installation. 

Since wood is vulnerable to deformation from absorbing moisture, the wood has a good chance of having bumps – you can smoothen the surface to deal with the bumps and flatten it.

Putting a rigid foam board in between can also help provide a flat surface to the vinyl siding while providing a moisture resistant layer.

Use a moisture barrier:

If the old wood siding doesn’t already have a moisture barrier installed, you need to put one underneath them and pin them properly and tightly using nails. Use washers to make sure the moisture barrier remains held in place and locks out the vapor. 

Make necessary adjustments:

Putting vinyl over old wood would increase the overall thickness of the wall – which means there are some necessary adjustments that need to be done, otherwise your house will look odd. 

Structures such as windows and doors need to have a thicker frame to cope up with the thicker wall. Casement windows face an issue of opening if the wall thickness is greater. 

To fix these issues, you need to make changes to the door and window frames so that they align well with the vinyl siding.

Setup the foundational strips:

Vinyl panels are held to the wall and the edges by starter strip, J-channel and utility trim. Therefore, these need to be set up in order to put up the vinyl siding – install the starter strip by attaching the starter strip 1½ inch above the ground around your house. 

Make sure the strips are aligned and leveled.

Next, set up the J-channel and utility trim – put the J-channel vertically at the edges and corners of the walls as well as around doors and windows. The utility trim should be placed at the wall tops and bottom of each window. 

Put up the vinyl siding:

With all in place, place the vinyl panel on the starter panel with its other end into the J-channel. Make sure to keep the panels straight and put the nails in the middle of nailing slits. 

Repeat the process to install the other panels while overlapping the panels by 4 inches – you should keep a  ¼ inch gap between the panel ends and corners. 

Wood siding or vinyl siding, which one is better?

There are both pros and cons of wood siding and vinyl siding, however with the advancements of today’s technology vinyl siding has gained the edge over wood sidings

Wood sidings are traditional and elegant – increasing the overall beauty of your home while having a high durability. However, they are costly to install and have high maintenance costs and be vulnerable to decay and insect infestation if you live in a humid area.

On the other hand, vinyl sidings are inexpensive and easy to install. The material makes it resistant to insects and humidity unlike wood. However, it is not as pretty as wood siding and can start cracking if exposed to drastic temperatures.

Cost to install vinyl siding over wood siding:

The cost to install vinyl siding over wood siding depends on several variables such as the type and style of siding. However, the average cost of installing vinyl siding over wood siding is within $2.50 to $10.75 per square foot

The amount specified represents the range of low end to high end cost of installing vinyl siding but there are many other factors that determine the cost – expensive vinyl siding would put the cost well beyond the range.

Final thoughts

The existing wood siding beneath the vinyl siding can be left in place or removed before installing the new vinyl siding. Installing vinyl siding, however, requires some planning and adaptation. Vinyl siding is cheaper and simpler to install than wood siding, and it is also bug and decay resistant.