Here is a home in need of new siding.

You wouldn't know it but the frame is damaged under this siding You wouldn’t know it but the frame is damaged under this siding

This is that same home, and why you never install new siding over existing siding.

After taking the existing siding off the home above, this is what is underneath After taking the existing siding off the home above, this is what is underneath

Just recently I got some clear confirmation that our policy of tearing off old siding before installing new siding is the right policy. It was particularly gratifying on this job because, when I first met with the homeowner, they were a little surprised at my insistence that we tear off the old before installing the new. They’d already spoken to several other siding companies who had told them that siding tear off was a big expense that they didn’t need to bear.

I suppose in one way of thinking, that’s true. You don’t absolutely have to pay to have your old siding removed before your new siding is installed. After all, there are plenty of companies who will gladly install new siding over the old. Buresh Home Solutions just isn’t one of them.

Of course, the question of “to tear off or not to tear off” usually only comes up in vinyl siding installations. With other siding types – fiber cement, engineered wood, etc. – the manufacturers specifically say that to install their product over existing siding is to void the warranty. Surprisingly, many vinyl siding manufacturers state that it’s perfectly acceptable to install their product over old siding. But that doesn’t make it right, which brings me back to the job that reinforced my belief that tearing off old siding is the only way to ensure a quality installation.

While on that job, our crew had worked around most of the home with no issues, but when we got to the front of the home we found rotten sheeting and framing that was so badly deteriorated that some of it was broken. There was also a fair amount of mold growing on the decomposing wood.

These are problems we never would have found if not for tearing off the old siding. Honestly, had you seen the front of the house before we got started, you might have asked why the homeowner was bothering with new siding at all. The house actually looked pretty good from that angle. Of course, you’d have only had to walk around the sides or back of the house to see why new siding was necessary. But that’s the devil of a siding job – sometimes the areas that look the best actually hide the worst damage. And there’s just no way to know that until you tear it all off.

To look at this siding from the outside, you’d never guess at the extensive structural decay hidden underneath.

Imagine if we didn’t have a policy of tearing off before installing on every single siding job. We might have installed brand new siding over this rotting structure. The decay would have continued until it became impossible to overlook and then the scope and expense of repairing it would be many times what the homeowner incurred during our siding installation.

So from now on, when people ask me why I insist on having them go to the extra expense of having their old siding removed before the new stuff goes on, I’ll just tell them about this project and explain that we might actually be saving them money by finding hidden problems before they become too big to hide!