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I live in south-central Illinois, and the house is on top of a hill, so we get a lot of wind. The house is cold in the winter - partly because it is on slab and partly because it is pretty drafty. Most of the windows are in decent shape (Anderson dual pane) and don't leak much air. The house was built in 1965. Exterior is mostly board and batten wood siding (both boards and battens are a full 1" thick, boards are 12" wide). The house is quite drafty, and I'm considering 3 options. Labor cost is not a huge issue - I have two kids in their late teens.

1) Carefully remove siding boards, install housewrap, and reinstall the siding. May need to find longer nails, or add some construction adhesive to the nail holes to make the nails hold.

2) Remove the battens and use caulk or sealing foam to seal between the boards before reinstalling battens. This won't reduce air infiltration around the bottom of the siding.

3) Just use foam sealer around all the outlets and accept some draftiness.

Anyone have advice about options 1 and 2?

  • are you able to get more of the same siding? It isn't easy to just take everything off and put it on. – DMoore Apr 22 '20 at 18:52
  • I have a limited supply of replacement boards and battens in a carport which was converted to a sunroom (can replace the siding with drywall or sheet siding. Siding is all painted, so color matching should not be a huge issue. – Eric Nord Apr 23 '20 at 3:03
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If you are going to do this you might as well go all the way. The housewrap is kind of like saying you are cold so you put on some underwear. Might warm you up a little but being fully clothed is what you want.

If you are taking the siding off you should be throwing up (at least) 1" XPS rigid sheets. I prefer to put the housewrap up first and then the sheets. You tape the joints on each.

After that the only three issues are getting the old siding up, making sure you have enough siding up, and extending the trim around the windows.

  1. Remove siding.
  2. Caulk and spray foam gaps, especially near windows.
  3. Add housewrap and tape. Note this will not take away all air movement.
  4. Add 2" XPS (1" is fine). With you and two teenagers this is a 4-5 hour job - it cuts with utility knife and really only windows take any time. Get peg nails and tape. In the corners you put up 2x4 plus 1/2" plywood. Your house will be 4" longer. Cut out right to windows and doors.

  5. Add blocking plus trim around windows and doors to match new house depth (this is a different question and way easier than you think.

  6. Add siding back on. Like I said you will need an extra 4" per side. That is why I asked if you have extra siding.

The housewrap is nominal. There is no way in hell I am taking off all of my siding to just housewrap. Adding insulation is a long-term investment in the house. In heating and cooling in southern IL (I am near you) you will pay for the extra costs in probably a year.

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You'll have to decide, it's an opinion based answer. I think what you need is more information from which to better decide.

1: Would have the best results. Pulling the boards is the most work. If you are careful, and use skill, then it is likely that most of the boards can be removed intact, however it is almost always the case that at least one or two will be damaged. Replacement boards will not look the same due to changes that occur due to weathering and so on, and due to difficulties in matching the finish. If the boards are nailed on with finish nails, most likely they will pull through the boards and stay on the studs (this is preferred to damaging the boards by trying to grab the head to remove by pulling). Replacing the boards can be down with a nail with a larger head or with screws (they have larger heads)

2: This would go a long way to help and is less work than option 1 as the air is going to be going through the cracks (spaces between boards) than through the boards, there isn't going to be much air going through the main boards. There is the same issues as option 1.

3: This will help quite a bit. You are after reducing the area that air can move through. By sealing major openings and pathways, you can get a larger % with less work (rule of diminishing returns then applies)

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