This is part 1 of 2 on the topic of Cement Board Siding installation.  We give this guide to our customers to help them understand important aspects of a cement board siding project.

1. Selecting a Cement Board Contractor:

  • Select an experienced cement board siding contractor you have complete confidence in
  • Check that your contractor is properly insured and request to see documentation of Workers Compensation and liability insurance
  • Know the best way to contact your Project Manager and verify how they should contact you.
  • Confirm a couple references.  A good contractor should be able supply several without hesitation.
  • Check for appropriate contractors license, such as Mass HIC License.

Beware of:

  1. A contractor that competes based on price alone.  This is a project you only want to do once.  Make sure it’s done right the first time.  On dozens of occassions, we’ve been called to fix a problem from poor installation.
  2. Someone who doesn’t use contracts or is very vague in their scope of work. (time may pass from when your project is estimated and when it is actually performed. A written contract helps both the contractor and the customer get what they expect)

Removal of old siding2. Siding Removal:

  • Timely contracting for delivery of trash container (dumpster or trailer)
  • Removing nails and old siding down to sheathing, exposing any potential problems present on the surface of walls
  • Legal and sanitary disposal of all materials removed from the home
  • General area clean-up before new siding installation

3. Preparation and inspection

  • Preparation and inspectionReplacement of any rotting wood
  • Inspection of visible insulation
  • Inspection of plywood sheathing or barn board sheathing
  • Repairs to wooden sheathing or other carpentry not being replaced
  • Full siding areas are covered with permeable vapor barrier

Beware of:

  1. Contractors trying to save money by doing partial or improper prep work. Professionals will agree that necessary prep is the single most important aspect of any home improvement project. Conversely, poor preparation will result in deterioration of siding and any paint or stain application.
  2. Poor or ineffective flashing must be replaced. Controlling water flow will add years to the life of any siding or trim installed.

Andy Engdahl is Roofing Specialist for United Home Experts and works hard to educate his customers about a proper roof installation process, good quality products, and how to receive the best warranties in the roofing industry.


A long lasting, high performance roof in Massachusetts is much more intricate and involved than what is in plain sight.  It is very easy and common to see a roof as basically a bunch of shingles covering your house.  To have a roof that will work and stand the extreme weather conditions in Massachusetts, it is very important to hire a roofing company that uses a proven roofing system.

A proper roof system will help prevent many of the problems associated with roofs in Massachusetts, such as ice dams. A roofing system is made up of many components that essentially work in unison.  The components that are part of a roof system include;

    • shingles
    • ventilation
    • underlayment

A strong roof system should always begin with removing the existing layers of roofing and inspecting the entire deck surface.  Sheathing that is has rot needs to be replaced. Next, ice and water shield should be applied six feet from all lower edges, eaves, dormers, in valleys and around skylights.  The ice and water shield provides protection from ice dams and prevents leaks from wind driven rain.  After the ice and water, a high performance fiber glass reinforced felt paper needs to be positioned on the remaining decking.  The fiber glass reinforced felt paper provides an extra layer of protection between the shingles and the roof deck.  Following the felt paper is a layer of starter shingles around the perimeter of the roof.   After the starter shingles are applied, high quality, strong warranty shingles should be placed on the roof.  The final step to a high performing roof system in Massachusetts is proper ventilation. There are various options for ventilating ones roof depending on the design of the roof.  A typical vent for a roof is a ridge vent.  The ridge vent works very well to prevent excessive heat and moisture. It is absolutely vital that a roofing company in Massachusetts follow a very similar roofing system as outlined above. The aforementioned roofing system should provide for a worry free durable roof for many years to come.

Article Summary: This article will help when trying to understand the benefits of fiber cement siding and reasons to consider using it as an alternative to wood or vinyl siding.

fiber cement sidingIf you are remodeling your home and considering installing new siding, there are many options from which you can choose. Aluminum and vinyl siding are common choices, but the color may fade over time and the siding can be easily damaged during cold winter months. As an alternative, fiber cement siding offers the appearance of wood siding but with materials that are guaranteed for up to 50 years!

While slightly more expensive than vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is often less costly than stucco or wood siding. Another benefit of this type of siding is that it resists rot and infestation. Unlike wood siding that needs to be maintained to prevent termite damage, fiber cement siding will afford you the same look with less maintenance at a lower price.

Fiber cement siding also gives you a myriad of finishing options. If you like the look of cedar shingles, you can choose a wood grained texture, or you can opt for a smooth texture with widths ranging from as little as four inches up to one foot. You can also choose to purchase either horizontal or vertical lap siding, which is available in many finishes. In addition to the texture that you select, you can paint or stain the siding virtually any color that you desire.

Fiber Cement Siding Fast Facts

  • Non-combustible
  • Can be painted any color
  • Lasts longer than wood
  • Weather resistant
  • Guaranteed for up to 50 years
  • Strength and thickness provide impact resistance caused by hail or wind

Alternative to Fiber Cement Siding

Some homeowners don’t like that fact that Fiber Cement siding will eventually need to be be re-painted.  In some climates fiber cement has shown a propensity to sustain damage from water, snow and ice.  If you’re worried about this being a problem consider Everlast Composite Siding an excellent alternative to vinyl sidingor fiber cement.


Everlast-siding-photoA question we receive frequently from homeowners in the beginning stages of purchasing new siding for their home is, “How Much Does Siding Cost?”

Of course the quick answer is “it’s not that simple, there are many factors involved but we’d be happy to send someone out to measure your home, discuss all the options, and write up a free siding estimate,” and that really is the only accurate way to find out how much new siding will cost for your home.  However, this article should shed some light on the question and help you gain a general understanding of the factors that go into estimating the cost of new siding. If you’re in the very beginning stages of considering new siding for your home, this is a good place to start.

Cost of Siding By House Type and Project Complexity

The table below shows average and approximate siding installation costs for various size houses and various types of siding and levels of installation complexity.  These approximations can vary based on the items listed above in the section “Factors Influencing the Cost of New Siding.”

Type of Siding / Complexity of Installation

Low-Cost / Basic Install

Mid-Cost / Average Install

High-Cost / Complex Install


$9,000 – $14,000 $12,000 – $18,000 $16,000 – $22,000+*


$14,000 – $20,000 $16,000 – $24,000 $22,000 – $32,000+*


$24,000 – $33,000 $29,000 – $39,000 $32,000 -$47,000+*

Extra Large

$36,000 – $48,000 $44,000 – $56,000 $50,000 – $79-000+*

Factors Influencing the Cost of New Siding

To start, here are just some of the factors that any reputable and experienced siding contractor will work out with you while preparing an estimate for new siding.

  • Type of siding being installed
  • Square footage
  • Height of house
  • Amount of siding surfaces (complexity)
  • Condition of existing walls
  • Need for demolition of existing siding or not
  • Need for trim replacement or not
  • Type of trim desired
  • Type of accents desired (shutters, pediments, pilasters, etc.)
  • Ease of Access (It can be very difficult to replace siding on houses in densely populated areas)
  • Cost of dumpster
  • Fees for rubbish weight overages
  • Building Permitting
  • Street Permitting (if needed)
  • Dumpster Permitting (if needed)
  • Need for rot repair
  • Need or desire to add insulation
  • Type of insulation being added
  • Type of flashing needed
  • Removal and reinstallation of fixtures (storm windows, awnings, lights, etc.)
  • Type of staging required
  • Need for extra equipment such as a hydraulic lift
  • Applicable taxes
  • Regional Overhead (in some states the cost to run a business is much higher and will affect the cost of new siding)

Clearly, given the amount of influential factors listed above there’s no such thing as a “siding guesstimate” or “ballpark siding estimate”.  It’s impossible to get too specific; however, the siding pricing information listed below should help.

Also, check out’s Siding Calculator for accurate prices for siding replacement costs on your home! Click here to access it!


Cost Scale for Different Types of Siding

When people ask how much a specific type of siding costs, what they really want to know is how much does it cost compared to other available options. As a company, we’ve installed every type of siding listed here, which is virtually every type of siding available (although there are other less common products not represented).

This scale shows a general idea of the price scale for siding options factoring in the cost materials and installation.  It also assumes all other factors listed above are equal and does not factor in the cost of additional trim, accents, or fixtures.


Siding Product Comparison

Perhaps the next best step for you is to download our FREE Siding Guide “9 Essential Questions to Choosing Siding.” This informative siding guide explains the differences between our 4 most commonly installed siding products: Vinyl Siding, Fiber Cement Siding, Everlast Composite Siding, and Wood Siding. We only service Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire but our guide may be helpful with your project even if you’re looking to hire someone outside our region.

By: Doug Partridge: Doug Partridge has worked in the home improvement industry for  over thirty years in the areas of project design, estimation, project management, sales and sales management.

Part 1: Signs of a Bad Roofer: Financial

  1. The lowest price.  A  sub-standard roof job can be done for ½ to 1/3 ofRoofing Contractor the price of a thorough, properly installed and warranted roofing system.  Corner-cutting is very profitable!
  2. Large deposits.  No more than 1/3 deposit.  The contractor should be willing to be financially upside-down, never the homeowner.  Contractors often disappear completely, take too much time, or demand huge surprise add-ons, if the financial leverage is in their hands, at any point in the process.
  3. Payment by cash only.  Any reputable business will be able to take payment by credit cards and should be able to offer financing through a nationally known financial institution. “Cash only” is often an indication of intent to commit tax fraud and a dying business.
  4. Payments to an individual.  Writing checks or paying cash to an individual is dangerous and an unnecessary risk.  Payments should be made to a business, not to (example: John Smith, dba. Trustworthy Roofers).
  5. Omissions.  A.)  The costs of removing and disposing of extra layers of the existing roof.  B.)  The installed costs of replacing rotted or damaged decking and structure (example; joists). C.)  The costs of any add-on work to be agreed-upon by the customer before the work is performed.
  6. Old  and/or poorly –maintained vehicles.  Any well-run business will have pride in the professional images they portray.  (example:  vehicles, clothing, paperwork and tools).


Stay tuned for Doug’s next post Part 2 : Signs of a bad roofer: Professionalism

Many homeowners are interested in finding out how much does a new roof cost. You may also find our free roofing guide helpful.

This is part 3 in a 3 part series about 9 questions to ask yourself when considering replacing your siding.  We hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  Please feel free to comment with any questions.

#7 : Is my wall insulation sufficient?

Not So Good

If your home was built before the 1960s chances are you have little to no wall insulation. If Everlast Sidingyour home was built before 1990 chances are there isn’t an effective moisture barrier underneath your siding. With all siding types your options are to blow-in cellulose insulation during the project, or to add rigid foam insulation behind the new siding if needed.


In all cases make sure you request a moisture barrier such as EverWrap® Tyvek® or Typar®, which will also lower energy loss by decreasing draftiness.

#8 : What type of siding does my neighborhood warrant?

Especially here is New England there are traditional neighborhoods where the use of vinyl siding is frowned upon. If you live in an area like this, good quality, CVG cedar is still an option. If you desire something with less maintenance required, consider Everlast Composite Siding or fiber-cement siding and Cellular PVC trim products such as Azek® or Trex®.

#9 : Have I seen an abundance of ants, bugs, and termites in or around my home?


If your property is more prone to ant or termite infestation, I recommend steering clear of wood products. Everlast and Cement Siding® are completely impervious to insects, and Generations® insulated vinyl is treated with Borate a natural mineral that resists ants and termites.

#4 : Can I live with 1 color for the rest of my time here?


Having met with thousands of homeowners we know there are those who can make a decision and be happy with it for decades. Everlast-siding-photoThis type of person can handle the life-long color choice when it comes to vinyl products.


There are those who like to flow with the latest trends in home design. This type should consider wood, Everlast or fiber-cement if they want to reserve the option to change the color scheme of their home in the future.

#5 : Am I picky about shingles vs. clapboards?


Currently both options are available in wood, vinyl, or fiber-cement, but not in Everlast. You have more options for size and style with wood or fiber cement than you do with vinyl.  If the size and style of your shingles and clapboards are non-negotiable, make sure you find out what’s available before wasting time getting quotes on a specific product.


In our experience, the vast majority of homeowners are open to something new and actually prefer to explore new styles and sizes.  If that’s you, make your product decision on other factors and then choose a style within that product line.


#6 : What’s the condition of my current siding and sheathing?

Having been involved in several hundred siding projects over the past several years, I know that there’s usually more going on under your existing siding than expected. There is often rot, and moisture damage that is undetectable from the surface, especially with Masonite and pressed-board type products. Some companies will convince you to install new vinyl siding right over the existing. But we always recommend stripping the surface to unveil potential problems.  On countless occasions we’ve saved homeowners from expensive future maintenance and complete wall rebuilding just by revealing undetected rot.

This is part 1 in a 3 part series about 9 questions to ask yourself when considering replacing your siding.  Customers have told us this resource has proven to be extremely helpful in their decision making process.

How long do I plan to live in this house?

A long time?

If you plan to be in your home for a long time, make a decision based on what you DO want not what a future owner MIGHT want. Choose the siding you and your family will enjoy for years to come. If you’d rather not be scraping and painting every 4-7 years, or hiring someone to do so, then wood siding is probably not the best choice and you should consider something that doesn’t require paint like Everlast Composite Siding or Vinyl. If you don’t want to make a permanent decision on color then you might want to avoid vinyl products which can’t be painted. Instead choose Fiber-cement siding or Everlast Composite Siding, which can both be painted.

Less than 5 years?

Those planning on moving within 5 years should consider what will help sell the house. A low-maintenance exterior is key. Most potential buyers understand and appreciate the initial cost of the property and the residual costs to come including future exterior maintenance.

Regardless of your decision, studies by Remodeler magazine show that your return on investment usually exceeds the initial cost, so consider this a value adding investment to your property.

How much maintenance am I willing to live with?

The real question here is what is important, ease-of-maintenance or traditional appeal?

Prefer traditional appeal over low-maintenance?

For some there is no substitute for real cedar clapboard or shingles, and the recurring maintenance and expense is worth the hassle. For that we recommend pre-primed CVG clapboard or Clear R&R Cedar shingles.  However, keep in mind these are the most expensive siding options especially when you factor in initial and future painting.

Would you like a good compromise: realistic looking, but also low maintenance?

In our experience, homeowners like the look and feel of wood, but are attracted to the ease of maintenance vinyl offers. The introduction and development of newer composite siding products such as Everlast Composite Siding, Cedar Style Vinyl Shingles, and Fiber Cement give homeowners the more traditional look they desire with much less maintenance down the road. PVC trim, such as Azek® or Trex®, are also a good compromise. Without close inspection most people cannot detect that these products aren’t wood.

Is my house in an area with high moisture?

peeling house paint

Moisture-laden properties and those where snow is in direct contact with siding for extended periods are more prone to have issues with wood rot and peeling paint. Consider the use of vinyl or Everlast Composite Siding over wood or fiber cement products which are both prone to damage in moist areas. Also, mildew can grow on all siding products, but vinyl and Everlast are easier to clean or power wash without damaging.

Another informative article written by Steve from Ontario Home Inspection Services. He also provided some great photos of sloppy siding work.

Siding – How To Sell Your Home For Top Dollar

Siding is one of those aspects of a home that can add to the look and efficiency of the home as well as provide the homeowner a degree of maintenance peace of mind. More importantly, well-maintained siding can add substantial value to your home.  If you are selling your home, ensuring that the siding is well maintained and in good repair is will help you to maintain your asking price and give the buyer little to negotiate with.

Your Siding is Falling Down

What if something happens to the siding?  What do you do when gusts of wind cause the siding to come apart?  What do you do if you have vegetation too close to the siding and it’s growth is causing the siding to come away from your home?

Bad-siding-1Gettin’ Around To It

Too often homeowners wait until it’s too late to fix.  Often the initial damage has caused even further damage because it was left too long before fixing.  For example, the siding trim has been removed exposing the siding.  This now allows for water to penetrate between the siding and the home’s envelope.  Or the siding has come away from the siding it’s attached to, again allowing for water or vermin to penetrate the home.

It’s important to review your entire home’s exterior a minimum of 2 times per year and address any issues you find at that time.  If an issue is found before or after your planned review, it should be fixed immediately.  Waiting until the weather gets better or until you have time, could be disastrous to your home.  In many cases, it’s water penetrating the home that will cause the most damage.

I inspected one home where the siding trim was removed away from the home.  This allowed for water to seep down the between Bad-siding-2the siding and the building’s envelope.  It was so bad that water actually penetrated into the home causing puddles on the interior floor!  The windows sills were completely saturated and needed replacing.

Unfortunately, the homeowner left this issue too long and it was in need of major repairs.

If you don’t know how to fix the issue, it’s important that you hire someone who does.  Had the repairs been done when the damage occurred, the homeowner would have saved thousands of dollars in further repairs to the overall structure.  Although it wasn’t detected at the time, there was also the possibility of mold growth behind the walls!  This would not have been detected during a routine home inspection as a home inspection is a non-invasive, visual snapshot of the home’s systems and functionality, at the time of the inspection.

Maintaining the exterior of your home doesn’t take a great deal of time if it’s planned properly and any issues found are addressed at that time.  Waiting to fix issues may only increase the cost of fixing the issue or cause further damage or get you less than your asking price.

Negotiating Tool

Home inspections help homeowners selling their home as well as home buyers recognize these issues and the potential outcomes in the event that the siding has not been well maintained or issues fixed in a timely manner.  Defects in the siding of a home may affect the overall selling price and give the home buyer a strong negotiating tool to get a better deal.

If you don’t have the proper knowledge or tools, have your siding professionally repaired.  It will save you thousands of dollars and help to maintain your asking price.

Stephen Faudemer
Ontario Home Inspection Services


Glad to have this awesome information from our friends at Bornstein Sons Inc.  Enjoy!

Energy Efficiency….as energy prices continue to rise, this terminology has become more relevant and much more important

Get ready for cold weather - winterize your homeAs we enter heating season, let’s talk about how to make your home more energy efficient and some easy steps you can take before winter.

It seems Mother Nature doesn’t give us a ‘heads-up’ when the season changes…we often go from daily temperature in the high 60s to a plummet into the low 30s. That’s our warning that it’s time to shift gears and focus on ‘winter-mode’. Here are some tips:

  • Have your furnace, boiler or ductless system serviced by a heating professional. Studies show that properly maintained equipment operates more efficiently.
  • Be sure your windows and doors are properly caulked eliminating drafts.
  • Take advantage of your ceiling fan to circulate the warmth.
  • Be sure to change your disposable filter monthly to keep your air flow robust.
  • Consider upgrading your furnace or boiler to today’s high efficiency heating systems. You’ll save a minimum of 15% on energy costs depending on the age of your system. (NOTE: There are no high efficiency steam boilers unfortunately, but they are fantastic systems!)
  • Let the sun warm your home by opening drapers, blinds and shades to allow the sun in. (It makes sense when you think about your pet and the warm, sunny spot it retreats to.)
  • Winterize your outdoor plumbing. A professional should be consulted for this annual task. This way, you’re sure to avoid frozen pipes that will split in the spring.

Read this article for some more energy tips! And, here’s another on the True Cost of Inefficiency.  Stay warm!

Bonnie Bornstein Fertel is co-owner of Bornstein Sons, Inc., along with her husband, Richard Fertel. Bornstein Sons is a 3rd Generation Family owned and operated business providing Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing, Solar and Electrical repair, maintenance and installation services in Northern New Jersey.