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Reusing clapboard siding

crosscountry's picture

I was thinking about  removing siding off an 1800's cottage that I'm 'de-constructing'  and using some of it to re-side a shed on the property and selling the rest. However I'm not sure its wise to do, as the paint undoubtably contains lead.

For the boards I re-use, I would hand scrape (most of the paint falls off with little effort) using lead-containment practices. Then I'd 'pre-finish' with a spray coat of new paint to 'seal' any old paint. After I cut and nail them onto the shed, I'd give the boards  a final coat of paint. (I'd accomplish these steps just wearing a respirator).

So questions are:

I like the idea of salvaging old material for new use....but is it worth it in this case? Will the siding on the shed still be considered a potential lead hazard unless I remove all the old paint?  Is it practical to 'sell' old siding if I don't clean it up first?I can't imagine a selling price that would every cover my labor 'costs'...and don't even know if I could find someone to buy it anyway. 



Northern Illinois

Jeff (post #207330, reply #1 of 5)

Thus far, if you are the homowner you only have to worry about your own conscience and health. 

Not sure on the reselling issue-re. homowner v. contractor.


My first inclination would be to suggest you  try removing b/4 making any big plans on whether any of it will be reusable.  Alot will depend on the nails used originally and any used since.  Further, if nailed into oak or other local framing used that will not let those nails come out.


A few yrs ago-maybe 4, I remove the siding from one side of a barn beam type framed house that was c. 1870 or so.   Cut nails originally, all sorts of add ons later.  The beams purlins and knee braces it was nailed to was predominately oak, the siding poplar-not beveled-pretty much 5/8" thick, edge to edge.

The cut nails would usually stay fastened, the siding pulled off over the 'head'.  Leaves a rather large hole-these were face nailed.   Some of the other nails, not so easy to remove w/o damaging the siding.  Some ring shanks were used, those damn ardox that would NOT come up period.........the heads would only break off when using a prybar, catspaw, claw hammer.........anything.  If you got under it, there was no prying against anything other than siding.........end result-splits breaks and toothpicks.

But, if you can, I'd use the good stuff on the shed, you won't have enough extra to sell I don't think. 

The siding I took off had several non lead coats over it-there wasn't much "falling off" that RRP practices wouldn't catch. 


A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


Took some boards down.... (post #207330, reply #4 of 5)

Calvin, DanH, and 'Florida'...

Thanks for the replies. I went out (in 20 deg weather) and took off a some boards. Looks like I can salvage 60-70%, which is plenty for the shed. It is time consuming, but theraputic.  It is also going to facilitate harvesting the double-hung windows (with the old diamond shaped glass) as it exposes the the framing for easy circular saw/recip rescue of the entire window box & trim. Now if I can just figure out what to do with those.....

Thanks again.


What's your 'spare" time (post #207330, reply #2 of 5)

What's your 'spare" time worth to you? It would have to be some mighty fine siding to be worth the time and effort you're talking about, 

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 50 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

I've seen 50-year-old siding (post #207330, reply #3 of 5)

I've seen 50-year-old siding that looked near perfect after being removed.  And I've seen siding half that age that would split and fall apart when you looked at it.

First thing to find out is whether the stuff can be removed without serious damage.

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

yes and no (post #207330, reply #5 of 5)

I say yes to reusing it yourself, but no to trying to clean it up and resell it at retail. To resell, I'd just take it to a salvage place and see if they'll cut a deal. They usually will. You'll get a few bucks compared to maybe getting a few more bucks trying to seel it on your own, but you'll be done with it.

The last time I reused siding was doing a bumpout on my own house. Cedar claps. Cut through with a circ saw and a shooting board just deep enough to not nick the Tyvek. Removed the claps, the stainless rink shanks remained in the sheathing.

After I rehung the siding I puttied the old nail holes. Restained (solid-body) and it looks as good as the original. Which makes sense, since it is "original."

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