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Admins, this might be too much for 1 post, but they're all related so if it needs broken up, just let me know. Also anyone reading this, please feel free to speak to just one part because it's a lot.

My house is wrapped in cedar siding, built in the mid 80s. Someone painted the front in latex paint (cracked, split, cupped, name it) and needs replaced, but the rest was stained rather well -- a lovely green I might add and looks fantastic, outside of a board or two that has split for who knows why. I'll be replacing those soon.

Anyway, I'm considering replacing all the siding on the front of the house myself (I have a miter saw, circular saw, a good ladder ... plenty of tools to do this) and had a few questions about doing it in a way that means business and I REALLY don't like doing things twice, so I want to do it right. I also hate paying 3-4x more for someone else to do it.

My first set of questions is regarding the siding. My house is facing south, so it gets baked in the Georgia sun. Bad. I have some really large trees that protect the rest of the house, but the front gets sun for 8+ hours and for this reason I've considered concrete (hardy) siding. My questions -- 1, should I do it (hardy) or the cedar and 2, would it look stupid?

My next questions are around replacing the particle board panels and adding a layer of that house wrap stuff. I figure if I'm ripping off all the siding, I should replace the particle board with plywood and add house wrap. The way it's done now is with that thin, really crappy stuff and I have a feeling I'm going to find problems. I've watched a few videos on doing the wrap and it seems stupid easy. Any reason why I shouldn't do the house wrap? Other than cost, any reason not to do the plywood and how thick should the plywood be? Has to be exterior rated too right??

Final set of questions -- should I replace the windows while I do this? My current windows are 14 years old, some don't open real well, hazed up, etc so they're due but the framing of the windows I have is metal and there's no screws on the inside of it for removal. It makes me think there's no easy way to do replacement windows (vs new construction) but I'm not sure, so I ask :-)

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1 Answer 1

I REALLY don't like doing things twice ...

This might indicate it is not a DIY project for you. However, if you are willing to do a few bits and pieces twice, you might be able to master the work well enough for a permanent result.

I also hate paying 3-4x more for someone else to do it.

This is often the best motivator, and hopefully provides some perspective. If you end up spending 20% more than a perfectly executed DIY, you are still way ahead.

1, should I do it (hardy) or the cedar

Dunno without seeing it. My house is brick on one face (the north side, oddly) and cedar shingles on the other sides. As long as the finished product looks like it is supposed to be that way, it should be fine. Have you thought about planting shade trees on the south side?

As far as redoing the siding's cladding/sheathing, you probably won't know until after tearing off the siding. It could be that part was well done. I don't think it needs exterior rating because it should be well protected and never in contact with moisture. 1/2 inch plywood or chipboard is standard, but thicker won't hurt and will help a bit with sound insulation and overall durability.

As far as house wrap, brace yourself: it is surprisingly expensive (maybe $100 for one side). If airflow through the wall is a significant factor, like all the other walls are tight and this wall is the big leaker, then it is worth it. If all the other walls and windows leak significantly, then don't bother unless you plan to eventually seal them all.

You might also consider adding additional insulation while that is open, both inside the wall cavity and perhaps as another layer on the outside. This might cost thousands, but given the high price of electricity there and typical air conditioning use, it probably will pay for itself in 8–15 years, as well as being a big improvement in comfort.

If you are going to replace windows, it will be way easier with the siding off than at any other time. The flanges are screwed into the cladding from outside. 14 years isn't all that old of a window, and a straight replacement isn't likely to save much. However, an upgraded replacement could well save on energy costs. Again the pay-for-itself period is probably in the 8–15 year range. Get an energy audit from your local utility (usually free) to learn more.

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when I said I really don't like doing things twice, I meant doing it half-way/thrown together and having to redo everything a year or two later. Learning curve doesn't bother me, but I like to do them right, preferably overkill, and never have to worry about it again. Or at least for 30+ years or so :-) –  jeriley Jul 18 at 13:27
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Good call on the insulation, I had completely forgot about. I'm not sure if there's any currently, so I'll have to add for that. And I've seen the price of the house wrap, I got a 300$ line item for that -- it's something around ~170 for the wrap alone. –  jeriley Jul 18 at 13:30

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