SW - Art PRO VictoryOverViny
Removing vinyl siding – while requiring careful and often extensive prep work – is a viable business opportunity for all painting contractors.

This time, it was personal.

Jim LeClair took one look at the 100-year-old Holland Home and grinned. His firm, Professional Painting, had just been awarded the contract to restore and paint the historic Boston house. Even better, the owner had agreed with his recommendation to remove the vinyl siding that had been installed 30 years ago.

"We were all really psyched about this job," says LeClair, whose company has been doing residential work in the Boston area for 23 years. His current staff consists of four painters and one carpenter. "The vinyl siding craze hurt painters and paint suppliers alike. To remove the vinyl siding and restore the natural beauty of the wood and paint was a dream come true."

He also wanted to show that removing vinyl siding – while requiring careful and often extensive prep work – is a viable business opportunity for all painting contractors.

"We were on this job for two months, and we landed seven other houses in the neighborhood as a direct result of the work we did there," LeClair says.

Reason for painting

LeClair has now completed seven homes in which vinyl or aluminum siding was removed. Homeowners, he says, have a variety of reasons to return to the original painted look. Part of it can be pure aesthetics. Part of it can be resale value. Part of it can be homeowner concerns about PCBs, vinyl chloride and mildew. Part of it can be structural problems.

At the Holland Home, it was a combination of all four. When a previous owner decided on vinyl siding, the siding contractor had taken a few shortcuts to make installation easier.

"The vinyl guys had removed all crown moldings from the fascia and soffits," LeClair says. "They removed the window trim and hacked off the sills to make it easier for them to wrap it. They also knocked off the eaves and soffit ends, closed in a porch and added three large picture windows without casings."

Termite and carpenter ant damage was also discovered after the siding was removed. Bob DeCosta, Professional Painting's staff carpenter, spent eight weeks rebuilding and repairing the wood and replacing shingles.

Three rounds of pressure washing (two with a bleach-water mixture, one with Sherwin-Williams ProClean Professional Prep Wash Cleaner) removed the mildew and mold that had grown beneath the vinyl siding. After priming with Sherwin-Williams A-100 Latex Primer, the paint crew topcoated the home with two coats of Sherwin-Williams Duration® Exterior Satin Coating on the white areas and WoodScapes Stain on the blue areas. SuperPaint Exterior Satin Latex was used on the blue trim. Because of the home's moisture and mildew problems, they waited three days between coats and conducted multiple daily tests with a moisture meter and conducted random mil tests of both the wet and dry film.

"We use high-quality Sherwin-Williams coatings like Duration and WoodScapes for their superior coverage as well as for their ability to outlast the paint our competition was using," LeClair says. "Our jobs typically last for eight to 10 years while painters using inferior products and methods are lucky to see their jobs last three years in the harsh New England climate."

That kind of durability, of course, is a major selling point for homes in which the removal of vinyl or aluminum is a possibility.

"We took this big classic home and breathed new life into it," LeClair says. "That is a very satisfying feeling."