Homeownership comes with a bevy of questions, repairs, renovations, and decisions to make. One of the questions you may have when you have stucco walls is whether or not you can put vinyl siding over it. The answer is not simple, though.
It is possible to install vinyl siding over stucco. However, the vinyl siding cannot be installed directly onto the stucco. There are steps to be followed to prepare stucco for the installation of vinyl siding.
This article explains how to install vinyl siding on stucco and why certain aspects are necessary. If you haven’t ultimately decided to cover your stucco with vinyl siding, there are also a few reasons you might want to cover the stucco.
Installing Vinyl Siding Over Stucco
If you choose to cover your stucco with vinyl siding, these are the steps you should take:
- Repair any damage to the stucco.
- Install furring strips into the stucco every 16 inches.
- Glue insulation board to the stucco in between the furring strips.
- Install the vinyl siding onto the furring strips and insulation board.
Repair Any Damage
What’s the point of repairing the stucco if you’re going to cover it?
- First, you don’t want bits of stucco crumbling and falling between the old stucco finish and the new vinyl siding.
- Second, if there is any water damage to the stucco, it needs to be repaired. Moisture needs to be sealed out, not sealed in. Sealing it in allows the moisture to seep even further into the structure, wreaking all kinds of havoc.
Alternatively, you could remove the stucco and start fresh. This is a lot of work and can cost over $2000 for an average-sized home if you hire a professional. However, if you don’t know what is going on behind the stucco, this is the safer option. There could, after all, be wood damage. If you suspect this, best to deal with it at this point before installing the siding.
Install Furring Strips
Your furring strips will be 2×4 inch strips of treated wood. Vinyl siding attaches every 16 inches, so the furring strips should be placed every 16 inches on the wall where vinyl siding will be attached. Furring strips also need to be placed next to any window or door frame and along the wall’s outer edges.
You cannot attach the vinyl directly to the stucco because of the nature of stucco and vinyl siding’s specific needs:
- At least 1/16 inch should be left between the nail head and the vinyl siding when hammering it in. This allows room for the material to expand and contract with the changing temperatures.
- Stucco is too hard and fragile to hammer into without the risk of it cracking.
- The furring strips provide a stable surface for the siding and allows the finesse needed with a hammer that will leave space between the nail and siding.
Some sources claim that you may use a nail gun to attach the furring strip to the stucco. A more secure option would be to use concrete screws.
To secure concrete screws in the wall, follow these steps:
- Predrill holes 8 inches apart in the furring strips.
- Hold the furring strips in place against the stucco.
- Use a hammer drill to put concrete screws through the holes and into the stucco.
(Sources: Modernize, The Stucco Guy; Popular Mechanics)
Glue Insulation Board
Generally, more insulation equals more energy efficiency. Adding insulation boards between the furring strips will make your home energy use more efficient.
An insulation board that is the same thickness or just slightly thinner than the furring strips will provide a nice flat surface under the siding.
My wife and installed foam insulation boards prior to putting vinyl siding over old lap siding on a home years ago. I can attest to how well it helps to level out the sides and reduce waving of the vinyl.
This insulation should be cut to fit securely between the furring strips and glued in place with adhesive made specifically for stucco use.
- A 2” x 4” piece of lumber’s actual dimensions are 1 ½ ” x 3 ½ .” So, you will be looking for an insulation board that is 1 ½ inch thick or just slightly less.
On top of your insulation boards, you can also install a home wrap water barrier. A home wrap is a permeable, waterproof membrane that provides:
- Water protection (external moisture is kept out of your house)
- Moisture transmission (internal moisture is allowed to escape)
- Air protection (the conditioned air in your home is protected, meaning less expensive cooling or heating bills)
Corner, Window, and Door Trim
Also called treatments, the corner, window, and door trim need to be secured to the furring strips using ½ inch or ¾ inch wood screws before the siding is installed.
Install the Vinyl Siding
The siding begins flush with the sill plate or the bottom of the stucco wall; the siding ends are placed directly next to the edge of the wall, door frames, or window frames. The trim should hide the siding panels’ edges and ends, but you want a little space to account for material expansion and contraction.
Each panel should be installed parallel above the previous one. Snapping a chalk line both along the walls and around corners can help ensure that your siding panels are installed straight and level.
Here are some tips for nailing:
- Nail the panels to the furring strips every 16 inches.
- Do not nail too tight.
- Do not nail through any part of the panel that will be visible; it’s ugly and will cause your vinyl to buckle when the temperature changes.
- Center the nail in the slots to permit expansion and contraction.
- Drive nails into the wall straight and level.
Once the first panel is complete, place the next, parallel panel against it and push up. The bottom edge of one panel will lock into the top of the preceding panel. Do not pull the locked panels tight when nailing. Check that each row is level before moving on to the next one.
Why Might You Want to Cover Stucco?
Maybe you haven’t decided to cover your stucco yet, and you’re just checking your options. That’s fine. If it’s your house you’re working on, don’t feel rushed into this decision.
To help you decide, here are a few reasons covering your stucco with vinyl siding might be a good idea:
Lack of Insurance Coverage
Water damage to stucco is very noticeable. Some signs of stucco water damage include:
- Water streaks around doors, windows, and roofs
- Stains, bubbles, blisters, and cracks
- Mold or mildew growth
- Pest and insect infestations
Insurance companies are businesses; they’re more interested in making money than spending money. If they can deny your claim, they will. Whether your insurance company will compensate for your damage depends on the cause of your damage.
If the insurance company finds any evidence that the stucco was installed incorrectly or not installed by a licensed professional trained in stucco application, they are more than likely going to deny your insurance claim.
Assuming there is no current water damage to your stucco wall, covering it with insulation and vinyl siding will add a layer of protection to your home.
(Source: Whisler Law Firm)
Tired of Stucco Maintenance
Stucco is very durable, and if proper care is taken, it can last 50 to 80 years. Stucco should be inspected annually for holes, cracks, and separations. Repairs need to be made promptly to prevent more costly damage down the line.
Vinyl siding, on the other hand, requires next to no maintenance. Mostly you have to wash it to keep it clean.
(Source: Castle Building & Remodeling)
It is entirely possible to put vinyl siding over stucco, but there are some essential steps you must take to prepare your stucco for the siding. Luckily, the preparation for and installation of the vinyl siding is relatively simple.
As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.
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