During the course of owning a home, some homeowners may decide they want to remove and replace old or deteriorated siding for one reason or another. The type of siding may be outdated and in need of a new, refreshing look that boosts your home’s value. Other homes might have damaged or rotting siding that no longer does its job of protecting it from the elements. Many homeowners today are looking to remove siding types found on older houses, such as asbestos and vinyl.
If you are looking to add new siding to your home, keep in mind that both removing and replacing siding are necessary steps in the project. Homeowners may attempt to remove siding on their own. However, Modernize recommends using a contractor for this project to avoid safety concerns (especially with asbestos siding) and to ensure proper removal. Explore this siding removal guide to learn the ins and outs of how to remove siding from your home.
When is it Time to Remove Siding?
Signs that it is time to remove and replace siding can be self-evident, but sometimes they are not. For instance, if your siding has visible damage – such as rot, cracking, or mold and mildew – in several areas, you may know it’s time to replace it.
But other reasons to remove siding are not so obvious. For instance, asbestos, a material used to side many older homes, has been proven to pose health risks. Many homeowners are opting to replace asbestos with a newer and safer material.
Lastly, those looking to sell their home in the near future may not realize the effect siding has on resale value. Removing and replacing siding ahead of a home resale can result in a high return on investment.
Siding Removal and Replacement Process: Overview
Before diving into the specifics of a siding removal, it’s helpful to understand an overview of the siding removal and replacement process. Essentially, when deciding you want new siding on your home, you will need to undergo a process that involves both the demolition and replacing of your existing siding. Here’s how to prepare and what to expect.
Preparing for Siding Removal
Siding removal is a big part of the job, more so than the actual installation itself. The material must be removed safely and carefully to reduce the risk of injury and to minimize damage to the substrate or existing structure. To best prepare your home and family for the siding removal, follow these steps for outdoor and indoor preparation.
- Outlets. To prepare for your contractors to remove the siding from your home, make sure there is an accessible outlet for the crew’s power tools. It is ideal to have an outdoor outlet that is on a 20-amp circuit.
- Furniture and other outdoor items. Remove anything nearby your home’s siding, such as furniture and other outdoor items, as the crew will need ample space to remove and discard the old siding.
- Landscaping. Keep in mind that the process of removing the old siding means discarded pieces will fall around the home. Cover any plants and shrubs to avoid damage and cut your grass short so the contractors can easily dispose of any debris that falls during the process. Most siding projects require using ladders and scaffolding to reach elevated areas of your home. Overgrown landscaping could impede their placement and result in a higher estimate from the contractor.
- Gutters. Clean your gutters before the new siding goes up as well. Leaves, dirt, and other debris could cause your gutters to overflow, spewing dirty rainwater on your new siding.
Remove any items leaning directly against the walls inside, such as picture frames and knick knacks sitting on shelves. This is because the walls may shake during the siding removal. Keep in mind that the siding removal process may be noisy, so you may want to plan to be out of the house while the contractors are at work.
What to Expect During the Siding Removal
Sometime before the process begins, a dumpster will likely be delivered to your property for disposed siding. A permit may be required for a dumpster depending on your location, but your contractor should review this information with you beforehand.
Once beginning the removal, the contractors will likely work on one side of your house at a time depending on the size of the crew. At the end of each day, the crew should thoroughly clean the area and discard any waste and hazardous debris. However, be sure to take caution as you walk around your property during the siding removal process. Do not walk around barefoot – in fact, wear sturdy shoes with thick soles in case any nails were left astray on the ground.
The siding removal should take around a week to complete, and the entire removal and replacement process can take up to two weeks. Always be aware of your surroundings when at home during the process to ensure safety.
Unexpected Repairs During Siding Removal
Many times after removing old siding, additional or underlying damage to the substrate is discovered. Your old siding may have failed to prevent moisture from entering the wall cavities beneath it which could cause rot, mold, and mildew growth. Common repairs during a siding removal project might include damaged substrate sheathing, wall studs, wall insulation, and drywall in some cases. The good news is that this siding removal process gives you the opportunity to detect these otherwise unknown issues and fix them promptly. If any of these circumstances occur, be prepared for additional charges from your contractor.
Installing new siding
Once the contractors have successfully removed the old siding, they will get started replacing it with your new siding. First, the contractor will likely add a “house wrap” to your home, which is a weather-resistant layer that helps to better shield your home from the elements. Then, the contractors will start adding the new siding and trim. Although the contractors have already removed and discarded old siding at this point, remain vigilant during the siding replacement as debris may still be left over from the removal. From start to finish, the entire siding removal and replacement project should take between one to two weeks.
After the contractor finishes your project, use a magnetic pick-up tool to remove errant nails from your yard, especially around the perimeter of your home. The tools cost about $10 dollars and are available at most home improvement centers and hardware stores.
Asbestos Siding Removal
Asbestos was a commonly used material for siding in the 1950s and 1960s. Homes built after 1980 typically do not have asbestos siding, as it has been discovered that asbestos presents health risks. As a result, those who own older homes with asbestos siding are now probably looking to replace this outdated siding. Due to the health risks of asbestos, do not try to remove this type of siding on your own. Leave this process to the professionals, who can safely remove it for you.
If your home is covered in asbestos siding, you should be prepared to pay more for its removal and disposal. Removing asbestos siding can cost up to $8 per square foot of siding removed, versus approximately $1 or less per square foot for non-asbestos siding. Asbestos removal grants are available to help you incur the costs. Check with your local building department to see if you could benefit from this grant.
Vinyl Siding Removal
Many homeowners choose to remove vinyl siding that is outdated, damaged, or not in line with their curb appeal vision. Keep in mind that vinyl siding is still a commonly used type of siding today, and cleaning it can refresh its appearance. However, you may be looking to upgrade to a new type of siding, such as stone veneer or fiber cement, that will boost your home’s value. Replacing old vinyl siding can improve your home’s energy efficiency as well, which can in turn lower your utility bills.
It is possible to remove your own vinyl siding if you are handy, familiar with the process, and well-equipped to safely remove the siding. However, due to the messy and hazardous nature of the siding removal process, this project is not recommended for DIY beginners. Modernize recommends hiring a professional to safely and effectively remove vinyl siding for you. Incorrectly removing vinyl siding can result in damage to your home, which can end up costing you more to repair than it would to have the siding professionally removed.
Luckily, the cost to remove vinyl siding is cheaper than removing asbestos siding. Expect to pay between $0.25 and $1 per square foot for removal. Contractors may also charge a labor and disposal fee of $50 to $250. All in all, removing vinyl siding is quite affordable, at just $800 to $3,000 for removal and labor. This investment should pay off in time, especially if you plan to resell your home at some point.
Beginning Your Siding Project
As mentioned, siding removal is a major home improvement project that often requires the services of a professional contractor, unless the homeowner carries a major skill set in construction techniques. The project is labor intensive and requires a multitude of tools, equipment, and knowledge to achieve a professional result. In addition, improper or poorly installed siding can have an adverse effect on your property value.
Setting a Budget
Before getting in touch with contractors, the best plan of action is to set a budget. This way, you’ll know exactly what to look for when receiving contractor quotes.
First, explore up to date costs for different types of siding. Use our cost calculator to get a sense for prices in your area, for both materials and labor.
Then, think through practical financial matters of paying for the siding project. For instance, what type of new siding can you afford? Will you use a financing or payment plan or pay for everything upfront? Use Modernize’s siding budgeting resource to assist you as you build your budget for the project.
Comparing Prices for Siding Removal
Once you set a realistic budget for the siding removal and replacement project, start to look for contractors in your area. Beginning this project requires that you interview at least three siding contractors, obtain written estimates from each, and designate time to evaluate them.
While the main goal is to get a quote for the cost of your project, you should also use this time to gauge the experience of each contractor. Determine your level of confidence in them and if you would feel comfortable allowing them to work on your home. In addition, the estimates you receive will vary in costs with one being the cheapest, one the most expensive, and one falling somewhere in between. You should consider all of the aforementioned information including your operating budget when choosing between the estimates. Also keep in mind that negotiating costs with contractors is often possible.
The Cost of Materials
Most siding contractors include materials and delivery in their estimate. However, it is not unheard of for the homeowner to supply the materials themselves and pay the contractor for removal and installation. If you have purchased your own siding materials, you must stack, stock, and handle them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the specific material. Failure to do so could damage the new material. In addition, you should discuss with your contractor where to place the new siding and how to protect it until its installation.
Hiring a Siding Contractor
Hiring a contractor requires you to do some due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Many state and local municipalities require contractors to:
- Pass a state exam to obtain a license in their field
- Carry Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance
- Secure or be bonded
It is to your benefit to verify that they have met the above requirements of your state before entering into a contract. Not only will this increase the chances you receive a quality job, but also protect you from any job related mishaps such as property damage or personal injury. In addition, check the contractor’s references and contact the BBB “Better Business Bureau” to inquire about any complaints or pending lawsuits.
Maintaining New Siding
Discuss with your contractor how to clean and maintain your new siding. Since siding materials vary, they will require specific methods to clean and maintain their appearance. Your contractor should be able to provide you with the proper procedures regarding the applicable material. In addition, ask your contractor for any unused siding material. It could come in handy down the road if repairs become necessary.