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Update on Whole House Siding Replacement

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Joined: Mar 24 2003

So about 1 1/2 years after first posting about replacing all the siding on my 1961 Sunnyvale Claude Oakland Courtyard Eichler, the job is nearing completion. I thought I'd fill in some of the details since I received a lot of email inquiries after my post last year.

We ended up paying about $400 per "effective" sheet (total linear footage of siding divided by 4') of siding. This was for installed Nichols "Breckinridge" siding. The contractor pre-primed the front, back and edges of the siding. I thought about leaving the front unprimed so we could go the stain route, but I test-painted a few pieces of the primed siding and even painted (carefully) the siding and grooves look fabulous and I just believe that the paint will last longer than the stain. Included in the price was the repair of any rot or structural damage that was found while the walls were off, but fortunately none was found. Also included was replacement of the original insulation with bats of modern R-16 insulation, house wrap over the insulation, and running ground wires to the outlets that were exposed. All the trim and corner pieces were replaced with new redwood trim. We also took the opportunity to run a few ethernet cables between rooms and move lots of cables (phone, tv, etc.) into the walls so they don't distract from the nice clean Eichler lines.

And of course while the walls are off we had to replace the ancient 100-amp original electric panel with a 200-amp panel, and since the house now needs to be painted we're going to get the foam roof recoated since that can make a mess on the fascia boards and I want to be able to get the mess off before the painters come. I decided not to strip the exterior beams as that just seemed like more work than I have time for right now.

Which brings me to my question. I've never been able to choose colors, either exterior or interior, that I've been totally pleased with. If anyone has a good algorithm for picking the perfect Eichler exterior color scheme, or knows of an example of a particularly beautiful exterior Eichler paint job, I'd love to hear about it.


Joined: Dec 20 2004


If you’re redoing the roof it’s also a good time to put in bathroom fans or run any other electrical you need. It can be done so there is minimal work to the roof foam.

I don't think there is any magic with colors other than the ones that you like. You can read a lot of stuff about color on the internet including pick shades on the opposite end of the color wheel, etc. (google that) but I just started with my front door which I painted Temple Orange (a color I like) and then the house got Kelly Moore Antler Brown because the painter had painted Eichlers and said it looked good with the siding and then my accent wall became almost a mint color because the when lighting the olive I used a little too much white :-) I guess there is no such thing as a light olive :-) My ceiling is caulked (outside too) and beams are white (I think it’s called Swiss Mocha at Kelly Moore and I know it does not sound white but it is :-) ) Some people like painting the beams the same color at the house or black. Note: I would have left my ceiling the original color if was not all already painted badly I might add and then my white beams would look really cool but I digress.

So I started with a door (go bold here) color I liked and the other colors came from painter’s advice and looking at my neighbors houses.

I would always buy a quart and paint a big section. The little sample papers are almost useless because the material and lighting are different. For example paint on at stucco house will look different on a house with wood siding.

In the end it looks fine and no one has a clue to the agony I went through picking colors, and the bonus is friend of mine gave me this cool mod matching orange couch.


-- Ralph

Joined: Apr 10 2006

Hello Andrew,
Thanks for sharing your siding replacement experience and costs.

I would also add that if you're going to do roof work that it would be a good time to consider skylights...if that's something you wanted.

For paint I would recommend looking through Eichler books, there should be a few available. We repainted earlier this year with Benjamin Moore paints, the main color is Sweatshirt Gray. We wanted the roof trim to "ground the house" so we choose a color two shades darker, Raccoon Fur. Then went to two shades lighter for the rest of the trim and under the eaves, Gray Cloud. You can see the colors here:

For the door we did go crazy and choose Lime Green in a glossy finish...we also used this on the outside of the fireplace since it was painted before. Good luck picking colors, the little bottles of sampler are a huge time saver.


Joined: Mar 16 2005

(1) Electrical Panel - - did you change out the feeder cable to the panel ?? My contractor said PG&E requires replacement of the feeder cable (at my expense) to get 200 amp service, and once he said this may require underground trenching, I gave up the idea and had him replace the circuit breakers and add additional circuits, keeping the 100 amp capacity -- he did say I could go to 125 amp service without a new feeder cable.

(2) My cost per 4x9 sheet was also $400, but only back priming (no front) - - everything else, including additional wiring & new insulation, was extra. So your price is OK. Another contractor (this site) quoted $55O per sheet for 30 sheet replacement project.

(3) Colors -- my wife drove this. This is what she did. Our beams are a dark olive -- she wanted even darker in order to change the exterior color to an earthtone (which is darker) to maintain contrast with the beams. With advice from a painter (site sponsor), we went to a "50%" darker olive (by adding more black) and still stay relatively the same with the interior color beam color - - you know, the interior & extorior portions of the beam are considered 1 piece as you can see through the full-height glass, so if you're not painting interior, the exterior beam needs to remain the same color.

The original exterior color, considered earthtone, was a mustard-like. My wife bought a quart what she thought was the preferred color, and 2 shades darker and 2 shades lighter, and painted it side-by-side. It was still difficult to decide, both to achieve a earthtone (which by definition is dark) and have enough contrast with the beams so the beams don't get lost in the overall scheme.

Here's what she did: she drove through 2 Eichler neighborhoods, 1 in Sunnyvale near the 85 entrance off Homestead and another at the Sunnyvale/Los Altos border in Los Altos, figuring that's as many color combinations as you can discern. She brought color samples and walked to the houses to match the colors she liked, and in all cases, the colors viewed from street appear lighter than the samples. For example, a beam appear to be a dark brown was actual black on the color samples. This was true for every color -- whatever she thought it was, it matched to a darker color on the sample color paint palette.

This gave her confidence to select a darker paint, knowing it would appear lighter in the sun & from the street, and would also fade with age. With advice from the painter, we also choose a semi-gloss for the beams (flat for the exterior) to be more weather & fade resistant - - however, this slightly increased the visible break between the exterior & interior portions of beam where before it was viewed as a continuous length.

This doesn't tell you which colors to select (it's a personal choice), but hope it helps in how to choose.

Of course, you will need 2 coats to approach the color you want.

Joined: Mar 24 2003

Getting information on what exactly was required for the electrical upgrade was the most frustrating part of this project. No one mentioned anything about a new feeder cable. A few weeks ago I discovered the the bare braided "messenger" cable that acts as the neutral line on the feeders from the power pole had been munched on (evidently squirrels use it to trim their teeth) and was hanging by one tiny strand. So PG+E was more than happy to instantly come out on a weekend and replace the feeder (at no cost to me) exactly as it was. (except that the wires seem much thicker than the old ones, so I think the new feed is 200A capable)

But if we want to upgrade the panel, then PG+E (and Sunnyvale) require that the feeder be upgraded to code, which requires that it be raised 22 1/2 feet over our swimming pool. 22 1/2 feed is pretty high, which means we're going to have to put about a 9' tower on the roof for the electrical service entrance.

Trying to figure out if we could move the feeder line to avoid the 22 1/2 foot requirement was an exercise in frustration. The National Electric Code is written in language that makes Kant look like Dick and Jane. The Sunnyvale "One Stop Permit" office was not helpful at all. No one reachable on the phone at PG+E knows the answer to any real question.

So I finally decided the important thing was to get the panel upgraded while the siding was off, and after that was done, I could work through the PG+E labyrinth and see if there's any way we can move the feed and get rid of the skyscraper on the roof. The new panel is supposed to be installed tomorrow.

Joined: Dec 20 2004

You need the PGE Green Book which you can get at or you can be like me and go to your local office and get a hard copy. Mine is from 2004 so don't quote me (Service drops 12ft over a residential pool from the highest water) but PGE will follow that over the National Electrical Guide. If you have questions you have to ask the guy connecting your new meter from PGE. PGE will come out and tell you what needs to be fixed and if you have good electrician working for you he will fix it. My post was only 10ft rather than 12ft from the ground (no pool) and that is the process I went through in Sunnyvale.


-- Ralph

Joined: May 9 2009

Hi Andrew,

I'd love to check-out your siding replacement contractor. I need some help replacing multiple exterior panels in my Eichler in Sunnyvale and I am currently looking for contractor?

Send recommendations directly to: benmaklo AT


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