We are in a pickle. Our old Victorian had blown-in insulation that is causing major problems. The house has no sheathing, and the soggy north side of the house--in our theory anyway--is staying wet due to sodden piles of old insulation at the bottom. The siding is still in great shape, despite water issues and peeling paint. We would like to remove the old siding--as intact as possible, and sheath and wrap the house, insulating it properly, then put the old siding back on. Can this be done? Or are there better insulation solutions for an old house without sheathing.

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I have had to remove old siding for various historic projects and reinstalled.  For me to assist you I would need much more info and pictures to give you an idea what is the best approach. Doing this wrong could damage your old house.  We can use this forum or you can contact me direct thru my website www.rmdesignconst.com   Being so busy saving our history I do not have time to visit this site often.  I have help many forum members thru the years with all kinds of questions 

Yours Randall

First of all, it is not the insulation that is "causing" the problem it is liquid water that is entering the wall from somewhere. So the goal is to find that source of water and eliminate it and  block it from damaging the framing/insulation/plaster etc. You don't mention what type of siding it is so it is impossible to know if the siding can be saved. In terms of sheathing, wrap there is the Zip Wall system which is basically water resistant sheathing with the joints taped- eliminating the need for housewrap [which is mostly an air barrier rather than a water barrier- you need both.

I thought it went without saying--that with moisture problems, water is the ultimate culprit. Our particular problem is that without sheathing, the blown in got wet, drooped, and sank to a sodden lump at the bottom of the frame. It can't dry and because there is no barrier between it and the siding...the siding can't either. So, we have to get it out. Then seal up the house correctly. We addressed all moisture problems: put up new seamless gutters, got an energy audit and "leak check" from a mechanical engineer, and examined the roof and windows. I'm familiar with the zip wall system, but my concern is less about these details: we opted for SilveRboard SIP's over plywood sheathing, then 1/4 inch furring strips between siding and SilveRboard to provide a rain gap. My question isn't about these things--we have that figured out. My question is in reference to removing the siding in such a way that it can be SAVED. It is 100 year old Yellow Pine. Our hope was that someone with experience in this might have some tips on removal--we have a Dremel Oscillating tool. And if not...our thought is that if we can't remove the siding without damaging it--we will opt to lose our interior plaster on the north side.


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