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Removing Mold and Mildew From Siding

There's growth on my painted wood siding.  I'm pretty sure it's either mold or mildew.  What is the best way to remove this? I heard there is a product i can spray on the siding and thats all I have to do, but I have a hard time believing it could be that easy!

Our Answer

Rest easy: Mold and mildew on siding are common, and nothing to be terribly concerned about.  But it does need to be managed.  What you want to use is a mildewcide.  There are a great numbers of commercial  and DIY options available, from mixing bleach and water to using professional products but we like Spray and Forget the best simply apply and let them sit, and they prevent further mold.  The other treatments can have a detrimental effect or grass, plants, and other growth.  Now, you mentioned your siding is painted.  If you're ever getting ready to repaint it, it's really important you thoroughly remove that mold and mildew first. 

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How Do I Install Exterior Door and Window Surrounds?

My 1984 Colonial home has no exterior door or window surrounds -  just the white vinyl window frame.  I would like to add surrounds to both.  Must some of the clapboards be removed to install surrounds, or are there products available to avoid this step?

Our Answer

A company called Fypon offers exactly what you're after -  a wide variety of polyurethane and PVC exterior surrounds.  The advantage of polyurethane is that you never risk the rot or warp that's almost inevitable with wood.  
To answer your question, you shouldn't have to remove your home's clapboard to install the surrounds.  These products attach to existing siding, preventing any water intrusion that could occur from dismantling.
We'd love to see before and after photos of your door and windows!  Feel free to post them to Money Pit's Facebook page.  

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Re-siding Older Farm House

I have an older two story farm house that has aluminum siding on it that has been painted several times. We want to take off the aluminum siding, put on aluminum soffit and fascia and vinyl siding. The house needs to have some blow in insulation done in the walls. My question is, there is wood siding under the aluminum siding, do we strip the house down to the boxing, blow in insulation, put on foil faced insulation panels, tape the joints and put on new siding. OR leave the wood siding alone, blow in insulation, wrap the house in house wrap and put on new siding. I know the insulation panels will give me more R value but taking off the wood siding is a big mess and more labor costs.
Thanks for your help.
West central IL.

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Name Brands of Windows, Siding and Roofing

We're overhauling our house.  I want name brand stuff.  My wife thinks lesser-known brands are worth the savings.  What do you think? Who makes best replacement windows, vinyl siding, and architectural shingles?

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Install Chimney Liner to Prevent Crumbling Brick

I live in an old farmhouse in Virginia built in 1900. I am having spalling with my bricks (coming from a chimney used for a 10-year-old boiler) and have been told by a company that the water damage on my ceiling and continued spalling on the chimney is due to the gaps/damage on the bricks. The company has recommended that I put a wire mesh around the chimney because they said it is in decent condition (liner and cap still okay) and to stucco it. I don't want stucco. Could I put brick veneers on instead, and would the roof be able to hold this weight since the chimney is only exposed above the first floor? Is there another solution that you recommend? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sincerely, Page Hyler

Our Answer

The reason the chimney is falling apart is because it's very old, and very likely not lined if it was put in in the 1900s. What has made your problem worse is your 10-year-old, probably standard efficiency gas boiler.

Exhaust gas is 80% water vapor and very acidic. It condenses as it goes up through the chimney and deteriorates the brick because the bricks get wet, and then the water freezes and causes cracks.

I would recommend a stainless steel chimney liner. It can be dropped from the chimney down through to the boiler. The liner is like a flex duct: It expands like a slinky and stretches out. It's connected to the boiler on one end and the top of the chimney on the other, and all the exhaust gas is passed up through the liner.

Once the liner is in place, then the bricks can be repaired from the outside and the mortar can be replaced. But don't repair the chimney until a proper liner for gas appliances is installed.

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How to Repair Leaking Window in Vinyl Siding

What's the best way to repair a leaking window on a home that's surrounded by vinyl siding? Water only comes in during heavy rains. My dining room double-window appears to have a broken J-channel. The subfloor under the middle of the window is rotting/has a hole in it. I assume I have to fill in the hole by the window and possibly fix the J-channel, then pull up the carpet and cut out/replace that section of the subfloor, right?

Our Answer

First of all, water only comes in during heavy rains because it's being driven by wind - that's a very common symptom of this type of leak.

The broken J-channel is clearly the most likely source of a leak in vinyl siding. I would recommend removing the siding around the window and replacing the J-channel. Any attempt to caulk or seal this area using another method is not likely to have a long-term result.

After the window is repaired, the rotted area of the floor seems small enough that you don't have to cut it out. If the floor is weak, you can add support beneath the damaged area and replace any damaged carpet above.

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How to Remove Artillery Fungus From Vinyl Siding

How do I remove artillery fungus on white vinyl siding?

Our Answer

Artillery fungus lives in mulch. It will get up into the air and attach to siding. It's called artillery fungus because it looks like bullets hit your house - it looks like a bunch of black dots all over.

To remove artillery fungus from siding, you have to physically scrape it off. You can do it with steel wool, very gently so you don't take the paint off. Or, you can treat artilery fungus with a mildicide like Jomax, and a pressure washer used very lightly so you don't harm the siding. Apply the mildicide to the fungus, let it sit for a good ten minutes or so, and then rinse it off.

Sometimes when you get the fungus off, you'll be left with a brown stain underneath.  You can touch up the stained areas with an oil-based primer and then a top-coat paint that is as close to the siding color as you can find.

Of course, to address the root of the problem and keep the mulch from coming back, you'll have to change your mulch. If you want mulch that tends not to contain artillery fungus, don't use shredded wood. Use whole chips of bark. That tends to be much more successful than the shredded mulches.

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“Green” Options for Exterior Siding?

Hello!  I have a 32-year-old two-story (story-and-a-half) house with crumbling composition siding that needs to be replaced. I'm in Texas, where temperature and humidity can be concerns. I'd appreciate input on sustainable, responsible siding options. I'm not a huge cement fiber board fan, although I will get at least one bid, because it needs to be painted. Addtionally I'm concerned about both manufacturing and end-of-useful-life disposal issues. Other options might include thin-stone veneer, full-stone veneer, manufactured stone (clone-stone, faux-stone) veneer, EIFS, stucco, or Eco Prem wood siding - or possibly a combination of two or more of these. While we have 3KW of solar PV on the roof and are exploring solar hot water, it is more difficult to find substantive discussions of siding that take sustainability and environmental responsibility into account. We are interested in economically-favorable, sustainable, responsible solutions. What should we not overlook?

Our Answer

This is a great question that's worthy of an entire article. 
I would not discount fiber cement siding.  If you purchase it pre-finished, it can last an incredibly long time.  I've seen it last on homes for 20+ years with zero sign of wear.  And while it's not organic, this means it doesn't have problems related to moisture - so you get a lot more out of your investment. 
Paint on fiber cement siding comes prefinished in a factory, so you can expect a long life out of it.  Even if you do have to repaint it at some point, that effort is going to last a lot longer than it would on wood siding.  Stone veneers are another good choice.  A recent cost versus value survey found that stone veneers provide 92% return on investment - great when it comes time to sell your house.  Whatever you do, stay away from EIFS - exterior insulated foam siding.  EIFS has a long history of failure and litigation. 

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Hardie Plank: How to Attach to Siding

I have Hardie Plank on my home, and I would like to hang a decorative wall hanging to one of the walls of my screened porch.  What can I use to attach a hanger to the hardiplank that will allow me to hang the wall hanging.

I have tried the 3-M wall hangers that "stick" to the siding but they are not strong enough. I would like to use a decorative hanger  maybe something made out of wrought iron, but I don't know what I can use to attach it.

Can I nail into Hardie Plank or use a cement screw?



Our Answer

The best way to attach to Hardie Plank siding is by using nails or screws.  To avoid cracking the siding, pilot drill the siding first, using drill bit a little smaller than the nail or screw.  And to make the sure the hole you are forming doesn't leak, caulk the hole before driving in the fastener.

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Can I Add Vinyl Siding Over Wood Shingles?

I'm thinking about adding vinyl siding to my summer home in New England.  The house has wood shingles on it right now. I have been getting estimates from several contractors. Some say that the wood shingles have to come off, but others say that the shingles must stay on. Who is right?

Our Answer

The best approach is to remove the old shingles.  Here's why: If you layer vinyl siding on top of shingles, the added depth result in windows and doors being set unusually far back.  It just doesn't look right.  There's absolutely no benefit to leaving the shingles on.  Shingles add no insulation whatsoever.  Plus, the vinyl siding will appear much smoother without the old shingles underneath. 

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Vinyl or Aluminium Siding or

i have aluminum siding on my house which is over 40 years old. i want to get new siding for my home. i am hearing a lot of difference about vinyl and aluminum. what do i do?

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Home Updating/Repair

Hi -

My dad recently passed away and now we are trying to figure out what needs to e done to his house to get it updated.  The house was built in the late 90s.  Specifically, I'm looking for things like the water heater, filters, roofs, etc.  Also, I think his house has aluminum pipes and you can hear when the water runs throughout the entire house.  What can we do to fix this without having to tear down the walls?

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Tiny Black Spots on My Sidding.

I have tiny black spots on my sidding and can not remove them even with powerwashing.  I was told by someone that they are caused by the mulch that I use in the ground cover beds.  These spots are hard and can not be brushed off, any ideas?

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Should I Paint or Replace Siding?

I have a sixteen year old home located outside of Atlanta.  It is once again time to paint.  However, I notice some of the people in the neighborhood have re-sided with HardiPlank and some have painted existing siding.  I am told the determining factor when it comes to re-siding vs painting is the swelling of the planks.  I currently have Georgia Pacific siding and would like to know what constitutes swelling (i.e. width in inches) so I can make an informed decision.

Our Answer

The answer really depends on what kind of siding you have.  If your siding is wood or composite siding - which it sounds like it might be -  it's going to need to be repainted on a regular basis, regardless of how obvious the swelling is.  HardiePlank, on the other hand, is not organic - it's concrete siding.  It doesn't suffer the same wear and tear as wood siding because it doesn't soak water, swell, or rot.  It's very stable, and paint lasts longer on it. 
My house has cedar siding on it, but my garage - built more recently - has HardiePlank in a cedar pattern.  From the street, the two are indistinguishable.  I was able to order the HardiPlank pre-painted, so it was already primed and painted when it arrived.  Because it's factory painted, it lasts a heck of a lot longer.  If you have to replace your siding, this is a great choice - getting it prepainted from the factory. It's a bigger upfront investment than repainting your siding, but it'll save you big in time and money if you plan to stay in your house awhile.  

If your existing siding is swelling at all, I recommend replacing it.  It's not getting better.  

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Old Siding: How to Insulate Behind

I have a typical raised ranch built in 1963. I recently built an addition which is well insulated and sided with natural shingles. I need to do something about the exterior of the original house as it is painted green. I also need to insulate it. I could sand the shingles and blow in insulation but I am concerned that that insulation will settle. The other option I have considered is to remove the old shingles (too bad 'cause they are in good shape)put foam sheet insulation under new natural shingles. Which option do you think would be most efficient?

Our Answer

First things first, insulating behind the siding is important, but not as important as insulating the ceiling of the upper most floor.  If you do not have 19-22 inches of insulation there, you need to add that first as that will deliver far, far more energy savings than insulating the walls.

Same goes for floors, if they are over unheated spaces.

Now, as for the walls, blown in insulation is a good option and can be done professionally with little risk of settlement being an issue.  Blown in insulation is put in under a skylight pressure to account for settlement and installers can use infrared camera to easily check for areas that may have been missed.