aluminium siding, exterior remodel, passive house, powder-coated siding

Converting an old 70’s house to Passive House Standards from the Outside in (inc. New Aluminium Siding System Review)

Foreword by Ian Thompson, Editor

With the asking price of many new houses challenging some budgets, we’re seeing an increase in major renovation projects where more affordable older houses are being upgraded to feel like new. I can’t say that this is a completely affordable way to get a modern high-performance house, but it’s happening more and more.

Matt is on site looking at a ’70s house renovation project where the builder has stripped the external walls back to the frame and is installing exterior insulation and a new thermally broken aluminium siding (cladding) system. In my opinion, this is a great option for owners who value minimal maintenance. I like the look, but aesthetics are subjective, and would I choose aluminium for my next house project? I’m not sure.

What we can’t argue with is the durability and robust weather resistance this aluminium siding system offers, again, a great selling point. And because the aluminium siding system is powder coated, there are many different colour options to cater to your taste.

There are many advantages of aluminium over traditional wood or vinyl options. Now, over to Matt Risinger as he takes an in-depth look at how the thick gauge prefinished siding withstands hail, high winds, and temperature swings through innovative installation techniques.

The Ultimate Guide to Aluminium Siding Transformation: Revolutionizing Home Exteriors

Video Transcript

I’m Matt Risinger and I’m Daniel Glauser. Daniel, what are you doing up there brother? Well Matt, we’re at my house doing a little renovation, a little renovation. This does not look like a little renovation Daniel.

So we are actually uh doing a whole house Rena and we are going to get this house hopefully to passive standards woo and we’re working from the outside in. You want to see outside in what’s behind the black plastic? Oh my God Daniel, you literally ripped all the tiding in the installation off. You weren’t kidding about outside in were you? Yeah that’s right.

So we are keeping the sheet rock intact for the most part and we pulled off all the cladding. There was no sheathing, just a layer of um tar paper, yep, pulled off the old insulation so we’re going to replace all the windows and put in new insulation, rock wool, and uh then sheath the whole house with Zip system sheathing.

Holy cow! And then on top of the zip I’m assuming is how you’re going to get some additional insulation value is that right? That’s right and then we’re going to put some Rockwall Comfort uh board on the outside of that and then what’s…and then how do you finish that off on this job?

Yeah so we’ve got this really cool system by longboard that has these metal standoffs that are thermally broken and they hold on um our vertical aluminum siding that’s going to be outside of that. Holy cow, a passive house remodel on Daniel’s personal 1970s house. Today’s build show is sponsored by longboard. Let’s get going!

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Alright Daniel, so you’re in the final stages here. We’ve actually filmed the entire process so hang on here guys, not a short video but a lot of building science going on. That’s right. Daniel, let’s first talk about what the outside skin is. What is this beautiful kind of charcoal gray material we’re seeing here?

Yeah so it is a powder coated aluminum product made by longboard. Okay, um and it’s behind that there’s a system that’s also developed by them called their hitch system which stands the whole assembly off of our exterior insulation and gives us a nice giant air screen behind it.

Oh baby, I like that! So if you watched any of our videos guys you know we’re all about exterior insulation instead of stuffing that insulation in between our ribs. We like to put that big jacket on and then on top of this jacket, on top of that exterior installation, we’ve got an absolutely bomber exterior shell.

Uh we’re going to get into the longboard rep a little later in the video to kind of talk about all the parts and pieces but generally speaking this is a really really long lasting skin on the house that will really need almost zero maintenance right?

Yeah that’s right. Once it’s up, um, it’s finished and it’s going to look like that for a very very long time. We love it! Now we filmed this entire process. This is a’ 70s house that Daniel is actually living in while the remodel is going on and I mentioned it was an outside out renovation.

What I mean is you know a lot of our houses we go in and pull the sheetrock off, pull the insulation out and kind of work on the inside and then maybe later go to the outside. But Dan and his family have been living here the entire time and so you’ve pulled off the entire outside of the house while You’ lived there even through some of the hot times of the year right?

Yeah that’s right but you know the benefit was we were able to stay in the house. We kept the sheetrock for the most part on the inside and so it wasn’t as disruptive as you might think. Makes sense. With that being said guys, let’s rewind time, let’s go back and see how this started.

Alright Daniel what do we got going on at your house? All right, so we’re doing a full renovation on my house um, and we’re kind of the main part of it is doing the outside. Um, so we’ve put rock wool in our walls, we’ve put the Zip system sheathing all around to air seal our house and button it up tight.

Okay, um we’ve done as you can see the perfect wall framing so we’ve cut off our after tail so that we can get our rock wall insulation all the way up the side and across the roof as a continuous layer, yep. Um, we’re using um zip products for our um air seiling, we’re doing the tape on the seams, some liquid flash as well as you can see here across the bottom where it’s difficult. Yuh, and then we’re using the vapor permeable tape around the windows.

So the house had uh some wood siding and really no sheathing, nothing right? Tar paper in some places so super leaky prior. That’s right and he ripped out his original 70s single pane windows and these new windows that are here are triple glazed, uh European windows from European Architectural Supply.

Yeah and what’s really um, what the goal is we are taking this like you said leaky, uh inefficient house and we’re going to get it passive certified. Um, so we’re really you know taking a lot of time to do all the details just right so that it is uh efficient and uh comfortable and using that perfect wall style which I, I like to call it Monopoly framing just because it makes sense to me. The house especially with the green zip sheathing looks like a monopoly piece right?

You notice that there’s no rafter tail sticking through anywhere on that roof. Daniels clipped all of them, they all got cut off and so now his zip sheathing lands onto his roof zip sheathing and he’s got a roof under layment that’s kind of poking over there as well.

So nothing to stand in the way of putting a full exterior blanket of insulation on just like you and I have our jackets on today right? Yeah that’s a good way to explain it yeah. Okay then the blanket of installation is what? Yeah so that’s a Rockwall Comfort board 80. It’s 2 in thick r45 per inch. Okay so we’ve got R9, R9 on the rock wool on the outside and remember this is a product that’s made from rocks so it has natural fire resistant Tendencies.

Exactly uh, so if you’re building in a a wooy area or you have some other restrictions about wildfire this is a great exterior blanket to put in your house. Yeah that’s right and then this longboard system, this is uh there’s a lot to it. Start with the uh actually let’s let’s work our way back.

So the exterior skin in your house is going to be what? Yeah so it’s in a vertical uh 6in VG Grove aluminum siding. Okay that is prefinished uh with a coating that can either be a solid color or a wood grain. Oh very cool and this is thick gauge too right?

This is like 14 gauge works out about 14 es so that’s that’s some seriously thick material and I think they have some testing. I’ll link below that this is uh you know going to withstand some massive hail, some massive wind, Miami Dade County type approval stuff. I’m not sure the exact specific so I’ll link that below.

Yeah and then how does the system install Daniel? So um you know we don’t install that directly to the installation obviously right. So we start off by attaching what’s called the hitch system.

Okay and these are metal standoffs um that are pretty heavy duty and because of that we don’t need as many of them. Um, so we can space them out. Part of that system uh they’ve got a thermal cap and a thermal shim behind it so even though it’s metal that thermal transfer doesn’t happen. It’s fairly efficient um.

That of course um brings us out beyond the plane of the um rock wall insulation and then there are some girts you can either run them in a single layer or in a double layer layer like La system criss cross um and that provides it creates a rain screen so there’s an air gap and then your siding gets attached to that. Very cool!

Now you mentioned the spacing. What is it on this house do you remember? Uh so yeah it’s 32 in by 48. Okay so you got pretty wide spacing yeah! So those girts go on first and you actually got plans from longboard that showed the spacing and the locations of those too right?

Yeah so they developed um full shop drawings that laid everything out um where every piece and part goes and then that’s great cuz um when my um installers are putting it in they can just use use that basically as a as a map of how to put it together. Got it! So they put those for instance on this side behind us and then they’re cutting that rock wool and fastening with this.

Check that out that’s right! So this is from True fast and this is part of their thermal grip line. So that thermal grip is that fastener that is intended uh for giving a big wide grip on installation that’s really going to hold that rock wle but something that’s really cool about this fastener in particular is it’s got this grip deck tube uh already on there.

You’re buying this specifically for 2in rock wool yeah and it comes out of the box like that. You don’t have to put anything together it’s all right there and then when this actually gets screwed onto the wall when the guys are screwing this on, this tube actually compresses a little bit and forms a gasket at the Zip system which is going to do a nice air and water seal.

A backup yeah a backup! We haven’t found typically that screws are leaking through Zip system. Uh but this is belt and suspenders which we always like and it’s you know intended for a wide variety of wrbs. Some are not quite as robust as the Zip system is so you can really use it on anything.

Yeah that’s a really good point. This is more than just that. I really like these, these are cool uh. So I guess the process at this point is going to be attach the hitch system, get the installation fastened and then we’ll come back and we’re going to show you that Girt system and get into the actual longb product.

Uh we got a lot to work over here don’t we? Yeah then you all notice you had one of your Rockwell bread knives around here. These are pretty handy to use aren’t they? Oh my gosh yeah it’s definitely the best way to cut the rock wool, so easy, slices right through it.

Yeah so that rock wool though, if you’re used to exterior insulation that’s a foam based product uh, um you know guys could easily handle a big 4 by 8 sheet. What’s interesting about Rockwall is it actually has some density, it is, it’s heavy!

So these were 2ot X 4ft sections right? That’s right yeah. Any any special tips or tricks from the guys on installing those or working with it that that you picked up? Um I mean it’s definitely you want to lay out obviously you want to secure that um to your stud so you want to know where those things are and kind of lay out accordingly, make sure you get that first line nice and level and then everything kind of stacks on top of that.

Otherwise you can get some gaps in your uh in your boards. It looked to me like they did a real nice job job. Those are very tight up there it’s not a tongue and groove product at least not this one. I don’t know if they make that but these are real tight. It looks really good up there!

Yeah and there’s enough give in there in that 2in heft that you can really kind of Squish them together without any gaps in between. Yeah looked really good. Okay so back to your mockup then?

Yeah this is showing your Monopoly framing where your wall plane goes right to your roof plane taped off, beautiful job, absolutely love that. Looks to me like you’re also going to put a pein stick on the roof as well for extra protection?

Yeah it is um because this is a renovation um there is a lot of existing decking that’s up there and so uh we needed that um for our waterproofing underneath or as an underlayment underneath our roofing. Makes sense! And then how about that transition here between rock wool wall, rock wool roof, and then what is going on with this big piece of metal?

Yeah so as you mentioned the Monopoly framing like we like that it’s beautiful but that by itself doesn’t give you any overhangs um and we love overhangs so we going to have them. Um, so what we’ve done is we kind of custom custom fabricated these rafter tails cool um.

So they are uh attached back here to what is the roof framing underneath that so it’s nice and secure. So just some spaxs power lags. That’s right exactly um and they’re beefy. It’s not super heavy gauge but beefy enough that they’re not going to flex and then we’re going to take our aluminum longboard sofit material and um that’ll get attached here because we want to be able to see all that beauty underneath and our exposed rafter tails.

That’s the look I’m going for um, and so this will be attached here and then we’ll um put our roofing up on top of that with a 2×4 air gap uh under underneath it. Super cool man, I can’t wait to see the siding go on!

So you’ve got black for your vertical siding right? It’s like a really dark gray. Okay like a dark gray and they have different colors. How did…my gosh so many different colors!

So there is you know um a wide variety not only you know traditional what you think uh house colors but bold reds and whites and um yeah metallic colors in addition to that. There’s a whole series of wood tones as well which is like this here with this beautiful grain on it.

I mean it looks like wood, you would not know that’s powder coated aluminum yeah! But that’s not going to need any finishing for decades to come no and it’s not going to it’s not going to uh bleach in the sun and um it’s not going to warp. Yep you know it’s it’s amazing, it’s a really great product!

I put an aluminum powder coated fence at my house that’s now 2 years old and it literally looks like the day I installed it. It’s going to be there for decades. Yeah and you get you know dust and things on it like that you just hose it off and it’s good to go. It’s pretty awesome! Let’s let the guys get back to work here on the longboard system. We’ll come check back on Daniel’s progress here in a week or so. Sounds good!

Alright y’all we are back man. The job is looking really good and we have a visitor all the way from Canada. We’ve got Jason the Tech Guy. I think technically he’s the product manager for longboard.

Jason what do you think Dave? It’s looking good man. It’s an extensive job but you guys are doing great! Yeah it’s looking amazing! So you may not know but Daniel and his family have been living here while while he’s remodeling this and so as a result we’ve got a little bit of a anthropology exhibit here with all phases of construction.

Yeah uh Daniel since it’s Jason’s first time on the job, will you kind of walking through how we got to where we are today? Absolutely! So um you can see here we have our original sighting.

There’s still some sections left, um this is cedar very leaky. Uh we had a little bit of tar paper back there. It was just over tar paper and stuff just over tar paper. You can see some leadin bracing here so what we’ve done is we’ve pulled that off and replace that with our Zip system sheathing um, and then of course hitch system um which we’ve got here and this kind of cool cuz now you can see we talked about this in the last video but you’ve got that thermal brake Jason right?

That’s that’s keeping that metal from touching that sheathing which is going to help transfer less heat into the building. That’s right, break that thermal bridge! Yeah cuz these actually poke through the rock wall and these could bring some amount of heat or cold to the bill!

Yeah that’s right! So moving down the row we added two inches of insulation, rock wool insulation there. Looks awesome! And then the hitch GT system, how does it look? Looks really good!

Yeah you guys are doing a a dual Girt layer. So you got your vertical uh first layer attached to those clips with that thermal brake and then your horizontal layer cuz of course you’ve got uh vertical cladding on the building.

Yeah yeah and we’ve got our first section speaking of vertical cladding up and Jason while we got you on site, give us a little walk through. What is it about this material that’s different um and then help us to understand kind of the general install process right?

Yeah so you guys are using our 6in VG Grove plank. Um one of our more popular profiles. Um you’ve got our solid color it’s actually our textured solid color on this this project. Um looks great!

We offer the product in a wood grain as well which he used on your front porch right? That’s right and the sofits will be that as well, really good! Um so with our tongue and groove product we anchored to the substrate in your case with our uh galvalum girt from the hitch system.

Um that anchors to the girts using our stainless steel uh quick screen clip we call it. That’s a 316 stainless steel. Uh that’s actually in direct contact so that question of galvanic reaction between the similar metals that comes up quite a bit. Uh that’s actually our direct contact with that galvalum g um galvalum rather than galvanized.

So it’s actually an aluminum galvan galvanized um material and then that stainless steel there’s very little reaction between those. Though nobility is very very similar. Uh so the plank actually is not in contact with that when we get down to our trims.

So our trims are the same extruded aluminum that trim is in direct contact with that galvalum girt but we’ve got powder coats separating those dissimilar metals so that’s kind of how we get through that.

Gotcha! Yeah it’s great system and then talk to uh talk to us or maybe even show us how’s that tongue and groove work? Yeah so tongue and groove you’ve got your uh call it a male portion of that tongue and then you’ve got the female portion of groove that just simply engages in.

So I’ll come in here, line up my tongue and groove, place it in. I want to apply nice uh even pressure to make sure I’m well engaged into that previous plank and then we’ve got. I mentioned stainless steel clip so quicking clip that just okay so that clip actually has a notch on that that also separates the uh aluminum here from that aluminum with the piece of stainless core. 

yep uh that clip is also doing something that this unique within the system that allows for for the thermal movement of that aluminum plank. Aluminum is always going to expand and contract with temperature difference.

Today being a bit of a chilly day um what are we about 40 some  odd degrees in that range. So through the summer months as we warm up, this is going to want to expand. That clip is allowing for that thermal movement. How much expansion are we talking about? I wouldn’t think that aluminum would move very much.

Yeah, so coefficient of aluminum, so it’s not even just unique to lawn board, but aluminum in general is a quin of movement over 24 ft of material length. Wow. Over a 54° temperature swing, so if you’re going to be say double that, then you’re looking about a half an inch over 24t right. So that’s going to manage that movement that’ll get anchored to that Girt in this case or or whatever substrate you’re on.

So in other words, you can do this on a non-t substrat right? We could, we could screw this into plywood. This could be on a standard furring system, a one by furring system. That’s right. You don’t necessarily have to use your hitch system. This, this is just your way of making it really easy to go over a rock W substrate. That’s right, yep y um.

With that being said, if we were direct to a an envelope say like a zip system like you’ve got here, um we are rain screen systems. That clip contributes toward that rain screen, especially in a vertical orientation here without the GT system. You’re still rain screen y certainly with your Girt system with hitch you’ve got a lot of air movement.

Look at that. I mean I can stuff my whole hand back there what we like to see we like like see that, but it is because it’s a hollow backed system um like he if you didn’t have that it does act as a rain screen in a vertical application. Okay, so Jason you talked about the galvanic action, which I know is going to be a question. But talk to us about maintenance warranty. How long is this paint job going to be looking good on this house?

Yeah great question man um so with our warranties long board we actually offer two different warranty levels a 15-year level and a 20-year level um that’ll access a different quality of powder uh us as a manufacturer we do manufacture all of our own products uh we are certified if to the highest level uh within the industry so that uh that affords us the ability to purchase that highest level of powder.

Whether it’s our solid colors or a wood grain uh 15 20 e warranty period it’s certainly going to last double that triple that easily so it’s really similar to my metal roof right?

The metal roof has a 20e warranty but I’m not changing that roof after 20 years no not at all. It’s going to fade probably pretty uniformly to some amount but honestly 20 years from now you’re not going to realize that because the whole house will have faded a little and it’s still going in my book this is not the manufacturer.

This is the Builder talking uh it’s going to look fantastic a few decades from now and probably it’s going to be your grandchildren Daniel that need to maybe repaint this in 75 years y that’s right that’s right and if they wanted to change it it’s a recyclable material which is a benefit as well. Yeah in fact all of your offcuts from the job you can put right into the recycle can here in Austin.

Yeah that’s right that’s right yeah yeah yeah I think you nailed it. Now what about uh people who are like I don’t like this real modern vertical Daniel’s got this pretty sick modern cool uh exterior that’s dark uh do you guys offer any other options besides this?

Yeah we got a lot of different solid colors especially we’ll uh we’ll even offer custom color matching on the solids oh wow um woodgrains we uh we have numerous wood grain finishes that are available. Yeah so lot lots to choose them you can pick your pallet and even a lot of projects will mix in different colors different woodgrain lots of options and they’ve got different width on the Groove.

Some other profiles and they could be run horizontally as well any any lap options or anything like that uh so we’ve actually we’ve got something new coming later this year uh a residential lap and Bor and Baton cling yeah that’s coming soon.

So Co I like it. Okay so there are other options beside this I know people are going to be asking in the comments. Talk to us about cost can you give us any cost range knowing this is all over you know people watching this all over North America right? Sure yeah so let’s start with the hitch system.

Hitch system um I’m sure you’ll appreciate whether it’s hitch or a cladding it is a commodity type product we got a lot of different Metals involved here so prices will fluctuate over the years um but starting say at today’s dollars we’re looking three to five bucks a square foot on the hitch system.

Okay that’ll be anywhere from a single gir layer uh and a dual gir layer so there’s a little bit of mixture there um spacing within the hitch system really strong system so we’re able to keep those clip space quite apart that’ll impact that price point quite a bit on the cost cuz we’re 32 on Center here.

Yeah but if you I suspect in a higher wind Zone you might go to a a shorter correct? Uh maybe 16i non Center or yeah probably more 24 rare ly would you get to 16 one of the services that we offer at la board is shop drawings materials list.

So you guys had great send us your drawings and we’ll kind of spec it out in detail according to your Project’s wind load requirements. Okay um that’ll also be dependent on the clading that’s being used whether it’s long board or hitch is designed for other systems as well right uh so we can calculate what that space would be but getting back to that price point dual gir single Girt you’re kind of in that 3 to Five Buck a square foot range.

Okay so getting prep for it three to five bucks how about the cladding itself? Yeah so the cladding um will be in kind of the 15 17 to 20 Buck range okay depending on if you’re solid color or wood grain.

Solid colors TW typically are about 20% less than the wood grain um little bit less labor on our end on the operation side to do the um solid color over the wood grain so you’re looking 15 to 20 bucks square foot. One we should note sorry I interrupted you there but there’s no painting costs that’s right involved as well when your crew is done it’s done it’s done.

That’s right pretty awesome and that’s something I think you guys would appreciate on the job site end that uh whether it’s that hitch we talk about the tributary spacing spreads of those clips out spreads those dollars of Labor out right and then to that point with the cladding single trade install that even today on a cold day maybe your painting crew wouldn’t typically want to be out here cocking and painting.

We’re not doing any of that right goes on the wall single trade and you’re done done yeah that’s what I love about not and not only done but done for a long time probably you and I won’t be around anymore when this needs to main when this needs to be redone.

I also like there’s not a cocking gun on the job right there’s not a single uh drop of cocking on this project. Let the water get past if some does it’s going to harmlessly get out with this rain screen system yeah very very cool uh you mentioned siding uh horizontal lap siding you mentioned uh borden baton and some other options are those more expensive than what we’re seeing here?

Yeah so the great question Matt uh the residential side of things that it’s pretty early on here but uh we’re looking to keep that down that’ll be about 30% less than those numbers we fantastic yeah so we’re we’re working hard to keep that down there and really hit that residential Market love it excellent.

So Jason someone watching who’s interested in longboard how can they get a hold to you guys um can you give people some ballpark pricing on what a plan set might cost them that sort of thing?

Yeah we got a whole team of CAD technicians in house so send us that set of drawings reach out to us you can find our phone number on our website it be description below all that that’s right yeah.

So Daniel how about we let the crew continue for a couple days get around this side and then we’ll wrap up the video when we can see a big long wall of this longboard uh and by the way for someone watching this in 2024 these guys are going to be at the international Builder show uh in Las Vegas and they’re going to be showing off their Wares and I’m going to try and get them to come to build show live in November of 2024

So be sure to click the links below for build show live info uh to be kept up to date on that. We’ll come back in a couple days nice work Daniel thanks man we’ll see you Daniel the house looks absolutely fabulous uh I mean it looks like you’re just in the cust of finishing here you just have a little bit left.

You also have a metal roof going on this house right that’s correct? Yeah galvalum standing seam roof that’ll be nice that’ll be nice and reflective of the sun. I also really like how your rafter taals turned out with that longboard uh what is that what is that color that you got on anything light cherry light sh okay so it’s it really from the ground you have no idea that’s not wood no and it’s going to look like that and it’s not going to warp it’s really fantastic.

Yeah it’s going to be beautiful but one thing I’m curious about is it looks like uh you don’t have any jam extensions or or maybe you haven’t wrapped the longboard back to your windows. What are you doing on the outside of your windows?

Yeah so one option could have been to return um the siding basically back to the window frame um but what I’m doing is a bit of an architectural detail that I like um we’re essentially putting e inch uh platea 5- in plate that kind of has a jam extension that sticks out um and then that’ll be sloped slightly beveled at the bottom and the top um but it sort of just defines that space.

So that would be cool so maybe a beat lexl where that hits your window frame uh but honestly it doesn’t matter if water gets back there cuz you’re fully ventilated rainscreen it’s going to run right out that’s right. All my flashing is taken care of behind that so um this is mostly just to close it off and make it look nice

I love it man this is beautiful that it’s a really cool architectural detail too I like that look you know daniiel was super fun having the longboard guys come out and see the project and he here and uh think about it from their eyes

I mean this is a really amazing product uh all the scrap and pieces can easily be recycled just in your Standard Recycle Bin that’s right uh and on the other hand I think it’s going to be our kids or maybe our grandchildren that might remodel this someday

It’s going to last a long time without really hardly anything to do so this is uh really an impressive productyeah I am so impressed with what what they’ve done here with this product and the transformation it’s made to my house in particular but just knowing that it’s going to look like this for a very long time without any maintenance is is huge guys big thanks to longboard for sponsoring today’s video.

I’ll have a link to all of their products and all their websites in the description below you’re not currently a subscriber hit that subscribe button below we’ve got new content here every Tuesday and every Friday follow us on Facebook or Instagram otherwise we’ll see you next time on the buildshow

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