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Aluminum and Vinyl Siding in Historic Homes

Friday, March 9th 2012. | Home Improvement

Home preservation doesn’t have to be a financial and emotional drag. Many home designers who work on renovating and repairing historic residential homes or buildings are opting for frugal maintenance in using aluminum or vinyl siding instead of refurbishing wood frame supports. This hypothetically eliminates the need for costly, repetitive paint jobs and maintenance. Aluminum and vinyl siding are therefore sometimes considered optimal choices when dealing with heavily damaged siding and when the substitute can match the look and structural requirements of the home. But there are other factors as well. Here are some of the ancillary issues you should consider before you opt for aluminum and vinyl siding:

Aluminum and Vinyl Siding

First) During the renovation process—no matter what material you use—consider setting aside a room in the house that will be used as an office. For example, if the house is frequently showcased, repaired, or otherwise utilized, you will cause less damage if meetings and stays can be centralized with a ‘modernized’ room that doesn’t require costly rehabilitation. This room can be furnished any way you want, using RoomPlace living room furniture if you like. Your office room can be used without worrying about household accidents and new damages.

Second) Consider durability and cost. Substitute siding will not protect the home from water leakage. And because paint jobs on aluminum and vinyl sidings cost more, you’ll want to make sure that the siding lasts through several paint jobs before maintenance is required. Aluminum or vinyl paint jobs should last 15-21 years. Additionally, matching color is more difficult, as are repairs.

Third) Think about energy efficiency. Aluminum and vinyl are notorious for not being very efficient, or at least not adding much in the way of savings, whereas historic wood can provide thermal shielding for the building as a whole. For energy preservation, it is better to focus more on storm windows, weatherstripping, and attic insulation.

In conclusion: when embarking upon a preservation project on a historic residential home or building, don’t think about the materials themselves but their repairability and the costs therein. Both historic wood and substitutes like aluminum and vinyl will need to be repaired in time. The question is how expensive the repairs will be, how often they will be needed, and how well the materials used will continue to support the architecture and aesthetic of the home. And don’t get distracted by issues like energy efficiency, which will not be heavily impacted by an aluminum or vinyl substitution.

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