Considerations for Using Vinyl Siding in a Historic District


Vinyl siding has grown in popularity over the last several decades, and it has become the exterior finishing material of choice for most new construction projects. It is easy to maintain, protects the home against water damage, and creates a beautiful exterior design.

Though vinyl siding is popular among new construction, its use on historic homes has been hotly debated. In fact, earlier this month, a high-profile historic community in New Orleans banned the use of vinyl siding in any new construction, while grandfathering in those that already had vinyl siding.

Of course, if you live in a historic district, you will be at the whim of the association overseeing the community. However, if you have purchased a historic or vintage home and are considering renovating it, you may consider using vinyl siding in your updates. Here are a few things to consider to know if vinyl siding is the right choice for your historic home:

Vinyl can Look Like Other Materials

Vinyl is a very flexible material. It can be designed to mimic the look of a wide variety of materials. Some vinyl siding can appear indistinguishable from wood siding or cement fiber board — common materials used in the construction of historic homes.

If you want to use vinyl siding on your historic home, just make sure you use a design that best matches the style and the period of the house. Work with a designer to understand the appropriate choices and colors. Then work with your vinyl siding professional to find the appropriate siding design. Your siding professional may also recommend different accessories to complete the look, such as trim or gutter systems.

Vinyl Siding May be Tricky to Install

Historic homes were built to different standards. They have also suffered a lot of damage with the passage of time. Their boards may have warped out of shape, and the surfaces may have become rough and uneven. All of this can make it harder to install your vinyl siding.

It is essential that you work with a professional to install your vinyl siding. Your service provider will be able to assess your home to let you know what challenges are present and how to overcome them. Your provider will also be able to come up with creative solutions for a clean and sturdy installation, including repairing the surfaces or using other materials to make them more level.

Working with a professional to tackle these issues will ensure that your vinyl siding installation does not harm your home. It will also ensure that the siding is installed properly so there are no weaknesses that could threaten the health of your home. Gaps in the siding can let in water, which can be devastating to your historic home, spreading mold and encouraging rot.

Vinyl Siding Protects Your Home

Historic homes are more vulnerable than modern homes. The aging materials are weakened, making them more prone to damage from pests and water exposure.

Installing vinyl siding can actually protect your historic home in a way that most other materials cannot. When installed correctly, vinyl siding creates a waterproof seal around your home. Even in the heaviest storms, water will not flow behind the panels and make contact with the bare wood underneath. Instead, it will flow off each panel and onto the ground.

When vinyl siding is not installed properly, it may not be able to offer these benefits. That’s why it’s especially important to always hire an experienced professional to install the vinyl siding on your home. You can ensure that your home is protected and avoid potentially expensive repairs down the line.

Hiring a professional also ensures that you maintain your homeowner’s insurance coverage. Performing the work yourself could void your coverage. If your home becomes damaged, you could be on the line for the full cost.

Ultimately, whether you think vinyl siding is an appropriate choice for your historic home comes down to your own personal beliefs. If you are a purist, you may refuse to even consider vinyl siding. However, if you are more concerned with maintaining the overall look and spirit of the home, you may find that vinyl siding can achieve those goals while also offering important protection for your home.

Always hire a professional to install the vinyl siding and to offer advice about the appropriate styles for your particular home. North Shore Home Services is ready to help you select the right vinyl siding for your historic home and then install it to the highest standards.

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