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Aluminum Siding Removal

The exterior of the house was covered in ugly, boring aluminum siding sometime in the 70s. It covered all the character of the house. This summer I began removing it. I started with the front of the house. The original wood is in great condition.

The biggest issue is that in order for them to get the aluminum siding to fit, they broke off the drip edges above each window, the edges of each window sill, and cut trim off, or removed it altogether. The most unfortunate part of all, and what I kick myself for every day now, is that this missing trim was probably amongst all the misc wood that was piled under the porch which I threw away shortly after moving in. Arghhh!

The paint is in really bad shape, it has deep cracks, is peeling, and blistered. It needs to be completely removed from the entire house. The only rotted wood I have found is the porch roof due to bad roofing, and the underside of the roof overhang on the back of the house, also due to bad roofing.

All the missing trim has to be fabricated (generally by driving around looking for something similar on someone's house to figure out what it originally was supposed to look like) and replaced with trim that has to be milled at a lumber yard.

While removing the rear siding, I learned that I used to have a balcony off the bathroom upstairs, on top of my back porch. The door was removed, and a small window put in its place. Next to it used to be a window, also removed.


  1. Hi, saw your post on We have a 1910 home that was sided with aluminum in the 60's. Like you, we had wood siding underneath that was in pretty good shape but they also butchered the window trim when the aluminum went up. Because we had some hesitation about painting over old lead paint, we shaved all the paint off and started from scratch. It took *forever* but we're happy with how it turned out. Also, we were able to get a little money for our aluminum siding by taking it to a metal recycling facility.

  2. Oh I love to see vynil siding being removed from old houses. Cut into small peices it makes great shims for flooring! ;) You work looks great and I cant believe what a difference the cedar shingles made in the front porch. Keep up the good work, Donnie

  3. What a difference that made! I took the siding off my house too. In my case it was cedar shingles. Don't kick yourself too much over the trim you threw away. By driving around your neighborhood you'll probably find what it used to look like, and be able to replicate it. Good work!

  4. Wow. What a positive difference after the aluminum is removed. We have a 1920 four square and know your joys and frustration in the remodel.

  5. Love seeing siding removed from an old house. Looking really good. I have 1/2 of the stuff off of my house at the moment. Keep up the good work and good luck!

  6. Hey there. I just bought a 1930s foursquare and bought it because like you I was looking for the home to have all it's original features to work with. There was no aluminum siding fortunately but it's everywhere in our area. I am interested in removing and restoring the clapboard siding using the PaintShaver Pro, did you sand down the boards after paint removal? Did you use their orbital sander? I also have deep eaves over the sub and main roofs, how did you do paint removal in those places? Same method as your porch ceiling? How is your window restoration going?

    1. I have the details of the procedure listed in the Front Restoration post and the Exterior Restoration Work Plan post.

      I do sand after stripping the paint with the paintshaver. I do not own their orbital sander, I bought a square palm sander that takes 1/4 sheet sandpaper. I use 80 grit. For eaves and the areas that you can get to with the paintshaver (edges of trim, etc), I use a heat gun and paint scraper (takes forever). With both of these methods, be SURE to use a respirator so that you won't be inhaling lead dust/fumes. And do not allow pets into the area.

      I have not started on the windows yet. I'm finishing up the paint stripping on the rear of the house this year and then I have some other projects. I'm not sure when I'll get to the windows.

      Best of luck!

    2. I'm just looking into removing the aluminum siding on my 30's cottage. I've pried underneath the siding on an inconspicuous side of the house and all looks good. I'm sure now by some of the stories I've read tonight that a surprise awaits me. Knowing this I still cannot wait to get rid of this ugly aluminum! goes!


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