Subscribe or Renew Membership Subscribe Renew

using backside cedar siding, trim board

asinning's picture

I'm going to be pulling off the siding and window trim boards from my 110 year old house in order to insulate with icynene and wrap. I'd considered replacing the wood with Hardiboard, but I'm wondering if I couldn't use the backside.

Any thoughts?


(post #157628, reply #1 of 4)

I would reuse the real wood if its in good condition. I thought that was one of the tenets of green building.

FKA Blue (eyeddevil)

(post #157628, reply #2 of 4)

If the siding is classic clapboards, you should have good enough luck pulling it off so that it can be re-used. And, in my opinion, nothing looks as good as real wood siding, properly installed and painted.

Be aware that the back side will be filthy, and will probably need sanded -- maybe even planed. And the boards will have big globs of paint and caulk that will need scraping from the bottom edge.

But if the siding has any profile -- tongue and groove, tapered, etc -- its likely to get ripped up and broken a lot during the removal.

Politics is the antithesis of problem solving.

. . . I can't live proud enough to die when I'm gone, So I guess I'll have to do it while I'm here. (Phil Ochs)

(post #157628, reply #3 of 4)

Re:  Using the back side of siding.  I did this for about 400 SF of beveled ( 6 inch boards, 4.5 inch exposure) siding on my 100 year old house.  Generally I found that the back side was as clean as the day it was installed, but was not planed smooth.  Because it was a soft wood (maybe eastern white cedar) it sanded smooth with a belt sander and orbital sander very easily.  Because the original exposed side was painted, the finished product is well sealed and and has held up very well.

By doing this I saved a lot of $ buying new wood, and the old wood was old growth, very tight grain stuff -- not easily found today, and then only at a premium price. 

Now the downside.  No mater how good condition the existing siding is, you probaly have cracks at many of the boards near the ends.  No matter how careful you are, you will probably introduce a few new cracks as you remove the boards and some portion of the old siding will not be useable.  And, you will have all of the nail holes to repair.  I used the Abitron wood epoxy products to fill the old nail holes and repair the "repairable" cracks. ( I painted the siding, so the repairs do not show.  If you are using stain, I think the repairs would show. )  But, I did lose about 10 percent of the original wood.  I used some new siding to replace the loss.  I ran the repaired/reversed old siding as high on the wall as I could and finshed with the new stuff.  It is hard to see the transition.

The repair work is not that difficult or labor intensive, but it does take time.  You have to be careful in the removal to minimized the damage.  Repairing the nail holes and minor cracks is easy, but it usually requires two applications over two days.  Once you set up a production line, it goes pretty fast.

If you do it, make sure the original outside has a good coat of paint to seal it. If there is loose paint, scrape it off and prime the bare spots. 



Using backside of cedar siding (post #157628, reply #4 of 4)

I realize this is an ancient post, but for those who find this post when considering doing something similar on their homes, we are documenting the process of reusing cedar siding this way right now on our blog: