Moist Rotted Wood Shingles behind New Siding - What to Do?

The house I bought has moist 40 year old rotted wood shingles behind new vinyl siding and needs to be either dried out or worse - removed. The previous owner was an idiot for doing this because all the neighbors told me how decrepit the shingles were before he covered them up. I believe this has contributed to our carpenter ant problem that we discovered shortly after we moved in because I hear that love moist wood. I believe that he took the easy way out to "ready" it for the sale, hoping it would go unnoticed....and it did. I need suggestions on the least expensive way to correct this problem. Is there a way to dry them out without removing the siding, or another option that can resolve?
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Billy,
If you believe that the previous owner engaged in shoddy home repair practices then you should hire a home inspector to let you know what else has been done. If it's a long list then you should get in touch with a real estate lawyer. I think that you will have to remove the rotten siding and fix any problems with framing and sheathing. I think that you can put this off until Spring.
Good luck, Dave M
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You most likely have a condensation problem. This problem would not occur with the wood shingle siding as the moisture could easily escape. The overlay of plastic siding is trapping the moisture that travels through the walls. The walls on a 40 year old house will not have any vapour barrier, or at least very little. This is what the house needs. There will be problems with any impervious siding if the problem of vapour porous walls is not solved. Probably a couple of coats of vapour proof paint would help but not completely cure.
Depending on how cold your climate is, you may have a lot more moisture condense on the inside of the vinyl siding, which will soak your shingles, studs and insulation, possibly with water dripping from the bottom of the walls or siding. Something needs to be done fast to eliminate permanent damage and/or mould problems, plus insect infestation.

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unnoticed....and
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