Upgrading to Eco-Friendly Siding

Carpenter replaces outdated aluminum siding with a greener, more aesthetically pleasing alternative.

Jeff Wilson's Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) of his 70-year-old Cape Cod home included replacing 50-year-old aluminum siding with an eco-friendlier option. But first he air-sealed the home. Siding was the final step to creating an energy efficient "curtain wall."

Here are the steps Jeff took to get the siding job done.

Jeff chose LP SmartSide, a sustainably harvested wood product made with bonding products that are free of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. "It should be low-maintenance since the factory-primed surface is made to bond with the paint," Jeff says, noting that traditional wood siding requires quite a bit of upkeep, and vinyl siding, while cheap, involves a chemically intensive manufacturing process. The SmartSide's rough edges resemble cedar, giving the home a cottage feel.

Jeff considered using fiber cement board siding such as Hardie board, but cutting the product is messy because of silica particles that get airborne. SmartSide comes in 16-foot strips, which was convenient for Jeff's project since his new garage/addition is exactly that long. When cutting siding was required, the process was clean. "It cuts like wood and puts out sawdust," he says. "And it's not prone to breaking like fiber cement." 

Jeff sided the home himself, raising the 16-foot siding pieces up a 12- to 18-foot ladder at times. The product he chose was lightweight enough to manage without a crew. He used special clamps called Gecko Gauges to secure each lap board in place.

After each 8-inch lath piece of SmartSide was secured with a Gecko Gauge clamp, Jeff used a pneumatic nail gun to secure the siding to the home.

The home was painted using Sherwin-Williams' Duration, at $57 per gallon, a formula designed to go on in one coat and last for years. The Wilsons chose a robin's-egg blue color rather than typical "Midwest white" to give the home more Cape Cod character.

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