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My house is about 95 years old, and currently has wood clapboard siding that is in pretty rough shape and needs to be replaced. My local lumber yard has 1/2" x 6" for $0.53/linear foot. Since vinyl starts around $2.50/linear foot, I am considering trying the pine out. I would install it myself. I am already close to underwater in my mortgage, and don't want to invest in vinyl right now.

I did a lot of research on the best way to cover the knots in pine, and people seem to have the best luck with this BIN Primer with a shellac base. http://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalog/consumer-brands/zinsser/primer-sealers/b-i-n-shellac-base-primer. People say that it is VERY important to do 2 coats. One that dries at least 30 minutes, and one that dries overnight. Then primer, then paint.

Is it a bad idea to replace the siding with pine? I am in the Northeastern US.

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One coat of shellac primer over the knots and then an oil based exterior primer would be good. The oil-based primer will block the tannins in knots too. –  Edwin Jun 18 at 16:50

2 Answers 2

Pine has been the traditional siding in the Northeastern US for several hundred years (along with cedar shingles). Painting is the standard protection.

While numerous products are lower maintenance, if you have the skill (not too much required) and time to keep it up (a good bit required), it should be fine.

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My house is all pine (midwest) sheets with custom trim. It is all original with only a bit of the trim having issues (rotted in one part due to design flaw). We have 100 degree summers and our winters are 20 degrees for 3 months. Never had an issue. Neighbors have vinyl that has had wind damage, dented from tree limbs, and it looks bad. I would go pine for sure before putting vinyl on my house. –  DMoore Jun 20 at 14:12

Pine is a poor choose for siding in the northeast, and it is far more expensive than spec grade vinyl siding. Even though pine is used often for trim, when it is used to side an entire building expect the following problems. Wider boards, 1/2 X 6 and larger have a habit of checking and cupping when exposed to prolonged heat and moisture. Exterior pine needs to be primed on BOTH sides and on the cut ends. Cedar or fir is a much better material. The grain of pine tends to raise, and gaps around knots may start to appear over time. Unless you use a shiplap, T&G, or board and batten, shrinkage will occur creating gaps between boards.

A spec grade vinyl runs around $60 to $80 per square, that is 100 square feet or apx $0.40 to $0.50 per linear foot for 4 inch exposure. There is no cost involved for priming and painting which can add substantial costs. It installs faster and will definitely outlast pine siding.

I personally would never recommend or install pine siding for a customer because I don't want a call in two years from an unhappy customer.

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I understand your reluctance about pine. I agree that cedar is better in many ways, but price is a consideration. Vinyl has its points and I use it for some trim that is especially water sensitive. But vinyl always seems to look artificial. Especially with an old house, wood still has its appeal. –  bib Jun 26 at 13:52

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