Dear James: I have old aluminum siding trim on the sides of my house, but it looks bad. I would like to replace it with wood siding. Can I just nail wood over the old siding? What is the best method to do it? — Andre B.
Dear Andre: New aluminum or vinyl siding looks good and is practically maintenance-free, but neither has the sharp crisp look of real wood siding. Since you are installing the wood siding only as trim on the sides of the house, the regular maintenance should be an overwhelming task.
You should definitely remove the old aluminum siding first before installing the new wood siding. Removing it will provide a smooth and solid nailing base for the wood siding. It will also give you a chance to inspect the wall sheathing beneath the old siding to make sure it has not deteriorated over the years.
Once you have removed the nails and the old aluminum siding, the keys to a professional-looking job are properly preparing the siding, using the proper type of nails and nailing it to the wall properly. It will probably be a two-person job just to hold the long pieces of siding in position while you nail them up.
Paint all the pieces of wood siding with primer and then the finish paint. Wood is porous, so it is very important to make sure all the surfaces are painted and sealed. This is virtually impossible to do once the siding is installed on the wall. No matter how carefully you install the siding, some water will get behind it in heavy storms, so the back side most also be sealed.
Once you have each of the pieces painted with primer and a top coat, place each piece across two saw horses. Using a wide brush, put one final coat of paint on the exterior side. Drag a wet brush in very long strokes to create slight brush lines in the paint. This will create an authentic wood siding appearance.
Nothing looks worse on wood siding than rust streak coming down from the nail heads. You must use special rust-resistant nails to stop the streaking. Hot-dipped galvanized nails are the low-cost option. They will hold up for many years, but you may find a few of them eventually begin to rust.
Stainless steel nails are the best to use and they should hold up as long as the siding does. Type 304 stainless steel is adequate for most applications. If you live near the salt-rich sea air, use type 316 stainless steel nails which are somewhat more expensive. Also, always use special siding nails which have small heads and knurled shanks.
You can find all types of galvanized nails at most building supply outlets. For stainless steel nails and fasteners, try these companies: Anchor Staple & Nail, Manasquan Premium Fasteners, Maze Nails and Strong Tie.
It is not difficult to attach the prepared siding to the wall. Check with the siding manufacturer (mill) about the proper amount of overlap and your local codes will dictate how many nails to use.
Make sure no nails penetrates two pieces trapping them together. They should be able to shrink and grow independently. Wherever you cut a piece to fit, thoroughly coat the cut end with paint to seal the open pores.
Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.
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