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Discussion Starter #1
Hi- Could someone give us their opinion on how to restore this small cottage? The current siding is warped because it gets heavy sun. There is no sheathing or building paper behind the siding. There is only insulation and framing. The interior is sheetrocked and finished. We had a stucco guy out who said "since the wood is ok" he suggests we paper and over the siding as is and stucco over it. Another person suggested installing siding over two of the outside walls where there is no warping-- and then replace the siding which is warped.--(pictured). Not sure if they intended to put plywood sheathing behind the new stuff. Whatever the reason, everyone seems reluctant to tear off the wood. We are concerned because we don't know if there is termite damage in the walls or any rotting studs. The current siding planks are long and thick- so removing them is kind of a big deal. For example, each siding plank length runs the entire length in the back of the not cottage-- (not pictured). Any ideas?
 

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If the wood is warped and you put something over it without fixing the reason for the warp, you are sure to have problems with whatever you use to cover it. I would at least remove a couple siding planks close to the ground in order to check the studs and the sill. If there are issues there, any money spent without correcting them is money wasted. I'd feel more comfortable with removing the siding, installing house wrap, then siding of your choice. The studs and sill need to be protected from any water or condensation that gets past the siding, and it will get past the siding.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you oldtruckbbq! So if we install house wrap, then we would not need plywood sheathing under the siding? Do you know about any brands of house wrap- and/ or if they vary a great deal?
 

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Is there a lap on that siding? It looks to be just stacked up. If just stacked then that was a poor installation in my opinion and water is very likely getting behind it when it rains.

House wrap would have little to zero effect on stopping siding from warping. House wrap protects the interior not the siding.

That siding most likely warps because water gets on the wall side of the boards and the boards get soaked. Then the sun dries the exposed side of the boards faster than the inside. The warping occurs because the inside is still swollen when the outside or exposed side is dried. Wood expands when its wet. Then if one side drys faster than the other the dry side contracts while the wet side remains swollen. That's when you get warping. From my understanding the sun is not your problem but rather water getting into the wood and then the wood drying unevenly from sun exposure. Even without the sun, dry air would make a board warp if one side gets more dry air than the other after the board has become soaked with water for whatever reason.

Every house gets sun. Not every house has warped siding because of it. Maybe the rain hits those warped sides of the house more than the others?

I would run from who ever said put stucco on it.

One option would be to put vinyl over the warped siding if you are OK with vinyl. The only reason I would leave that siding and cover it with vinyl is because the wood siding is so much stronger than vinyl. If you could check under the warped siding and see if there is a vapor barrier it would be a good idea. Then if there is no vapor barrier you could put a vapor barrier over the wood siding to keep the siding dry from any future moisture that may get under the vinyl. You could also cover the wood with a hadri plank (basically cement board) or other lap siding of your choice. I chose vinyl because it looks like you want a inexpensive option.

What ever you do there is a chance those warped boards will continue to warp and cause problems under any siding you choose.

Your best option in my limited experience is to remove the wood siding. Check the plywood or what ever is under the siding and then either replace it or put new vapor barrier and new siding of your choice on it. It may cost more than you want to spend now but if you do something that does not work out then you still have a problem and it will cost twice as much when you have to do it again.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your help ForestToFarm. The current siding does not lap. The joints have been caulked which isn't great. There is no plywood and no vapor barrier underneath-- we can see under the siding in certain areas. Good observation that it isn't just the sun warping the wood-- it must get wet first-- in fact -- yes the two sides with extensive warping get the most rain on them.

I agree something seems wrong about stucco over that stuff. Not sure about vinyl-- I suppose we could go look at some. And yeah- don't want to be removing fixes and starting all over- huge waste of money.

Thanks again for the suggestions.
 

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I have to agree about no stucco. Without knowing what climate you are in year 'round I would say you have warping because the paint isnt protecting the wood. Its peeling and has been for a while. That is why your warping on some sides and not others. I would venture a guess that your south side and west sides are the worst. I would also venture a guess you are below the Mason Dixon line.

You can use your good sides to put house wrap on but replace your warped sides. I cant believe they put siding on to the studs only. Take your windows out and seal them with the wrap and tape. Then re-side it.
 

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Regarding above posts--- So if we take all the siding off and put up new siding-- should we sheath it-- there is no sheathing/ and no paper barrier under the siding right now; there is insulation -- that's it.

Can we just paper over the framing and insulation and put the new siding up?
 

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Regarding above posts--- So if we take all the siding off and put up new siding-- should we sheath it-- there is no sheathing/ and no paper barrier under the siding right now; there is insulation -- that's it.

Can we just paper over the framing and insulation and put the new siding up?
Use sheathing yes. Then house wrap.

ETA: the good thing about going to the studs you can insulate better then too and maybe upgrade electrical and/or plumbing if needed from the outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks mreynolds. I know right? We can't believe they put up the siding directly to the framing either! Wow- so you think the windows should come out too? Makes sense. Do you think they could be sealed without removing?
 

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If you take the siding off, which is wise, I would be sure to spray foam any holes through the top and bottom plates where wires, pipes and other things penetrate. It helps stop drafts which greatly improves efficiency and slows fires as well.
 

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I can pretty much guarantee you'll have water damage on sill plate...that siding has to come off to see. I'd take off bottom board, all the way around to see how bad. Looks like lap siding, so you might be able to wiggle the bottom course out...pull down. Is shed sitting on concrete pad?
If your lucky, and no structural damage, insulate where needed as suggested, sheath it, house-wrap (tied into windows), then new siding (fan of hardi-board). After sheathing, get some drip cap on bottom, so it protects sill plate (even consider blueskin to protect sill). First course of siding 'should' be 6" off grade, but I don't think you can do that given grade looks to be at floor height (or close to).
Once you have old siding off, you can see if the siding or studs were the problem with warped walls.
 

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I would never apply stucco over damaged wood. You'll have tons of cracks and more water intrusion.

Honestly it looks so small why don't you remove the siding and replace it with sheathing, Tyvek and the siding of your choice. I think natural wood would look great on a small structure like that.
 

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I can pretty much guarantee you'll have water damage on sill plate...that siding has to come off to see. I'd take off bottom board, all the way around to see how bad. Looks like lap siding, so you might be able to wiggle the bottom course out...pull down. Is shed sitting on concrete pad?
If your lucky, and no structural damage, insulate where needed as suggested, sheath it, house-wrap (tied into windows), then new siding (fan of hardi-board). After sheathing, get some drip cap on bottom, so it protects sill plate (even consider blueskin to protect sill). First course of siding 'should' be 6" off grade, but I don't think you can do that given grade looks to be at floor height (or close to).
Once you have old siding off, you can see if the siding or studs were the problem with warped walls.
There's a right way to do things, and a million wrong ways to do things. Follow Melli's advice and you will have a solution that may well outlive you. You will do it once, then basically clean and fresh paint is all you will have to do from then on. It will be a place you can enjoy instead of a constant source of irritation.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks all for all the good suggestions here and taking the time to reply. The shed is sitting on the concrete pad with a wood sill supporting the framing; the flooring inside tile. So far there has been no water coming inside the unit roof or floor. When we take off some of that wood, I'll report back. I appreciate the advice and considerations-- it is a cute little place and very comfortable on the inside-- just needs the exterior upgraded. Hearing so many options, we wanted to get some objective feedback-- without anyone trying to sell us something.
 

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The wood sheathing is structural. It keeps the wall square. Your wood siding is fulfilling that function. This is not a good way to do it.

If there is water getting behind the siding, the insulation is getting wet and doesn't work well. Take the siding off and check for wet insulation, mold, a plastic vapor barrier on the inside of the studs, and rot and termites. When you have solved any problems then cover with Tyvec, plywood sheathing, and the siding of your choice.
 

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If you have to change the sill that will be a lot of work. If rotten it rotted for a reason. Perhaps replace sill with plastic wood. I like hardy plank for siding. You might consider rain gutters to direct the water away from building. The car port or what ever it is (patio)looks like it dumps a lot of water toward cottage. Rain gutters there might help.
 

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If the boards are not lapped and there is no sheathing then you have no effective protection for the insulation or interior finish. The only correct way to do this is to remove that old "siding", inspect the studs and plates carefully and make repairs, install plywood or OSB sheathing (much prefer plywood). then house wrap, then the exterior cover of your choice. Every building center sells house wrap.

Watch out for the stucco people. Around Wichita KS I have seen two metal-clad mobile homes that have stucco put on over the metal, and at least one log cabin that has been covered as well. Stucco guys will stucco your dog if it will hold still.
 
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