One type of wood siding that many people choose for their homes is red cedar shingles. Aside from their obvious aesthetic beauty, there are other advantages that make people prefer this siding over cheaper types. However, maximizing these advantages means the shingles have to be installed and maintained properly. Doing this well means significantly less expense over time, thus making it especially important to seek the assistance of experienced contractors like the professionals at United Home Experts.
What Makes Cedar Shingles Attractive?
Wood shingles are naturally attractive, their grain is not repetitive (such as those of synthetic materials), and many of them age beautifully if properly treated prior to installation. Contrary to popular belief, cedar is highly durable, especially red cedar. It contains tannic acid that acts as a natural preservative. The material is also dimensionally stable so there is very little expansion or contraction of the material with changes in the weather. This is not true of other siding types like vinyl. Furthermore, air pockets captured by the wood make it a natural insulator that keeps the home cooler in warm weather and warmer during the cold months.
What Does Proper Installation and Maintenance Entail?
Unfortunately, not all cedar shingles are manufactured equally. The higher-grade varieties have several characteristics that make them preferable over lower grade ones. First, these have fewer knot holes. Second, when installed, the space between each shingle is minute because of the straightness of each shingle’s cut. Higher-grade red cedar shingles may cost more up-front, but the expense is often worthwhile.
As red cedar ages, it changes color to dark gray in a few years, unless properly treated either by the manufacturer or the installer. Some people find this undesirable, while others factor this aging into the house’s design. Proper treatment also lessens the wood’s susceptibility to insect attack, which further extends the life of the material.
Installation of cedar shingles typically requires an experienced contractor in order for it to be done properly. Vinyl or fiber cement sidings have been prefabricated so that each segment automatically fits the next one like a glove. With cedar, the installer should exercise as much care as possible to ensure that there is little or almost no space between shingles. Sealant also has to be applied between the spaces so moisture does not undermine it. Siding contractors of United Home Experts have red cedar shingle installation down to a science. This frees homeowners from worries they might face if they installed the wood siding themselves.
Like all other siding types, cedar shingles are susceptible to weather damage and impact damage. But contrary to what many believe, it is not less durable than other siding materials. Its resilience and innate strength allow it to last several decades. It may be susceptible to insects, fungus, and other microorganisms, but this can be circumvented through proper wood treatment by experienced professionals.
Replacing damaged shingles is also easy. The challenge is in making the color of the newer shingles match the newer ones. Repainting is an option, but this will cover up part of what makes red cedar attractive. Plain washing the wall down with water is often not enough. Microorganisms like fungi need to be removed using bleach. Susceptibility to moisture means that the owner should regularly check the siding to make sure that the wood has not begun to rot.
What Makes Fiber Cement a Good Alternative?
Those who find that red cedar is not for them can opt for fiber cement. There are varieties that have been manufactured to mimic cedar very closely. It is nearly as good an insulator and has the same dimensional stability as masonry. Maintenance is as easy as hosing the wall down with water. Weather may still damage it, but it is not as susceptible as wood to moisture or fire.
Naturally beautiful red cedar requires the hand of experience to be properly installed and maintained. The beauty of the wood can be revealed and preserved through proper treatment and expert installation. United Home Experts has both the experience and the expertise, to which its many satisfied customers throughout the New England area can attest. Their siding experts can go over everything the customer needs to know in order to make the right decision. This includes discussing alternatives like fiber cement or vinyl siding, which they are also experts in. Any homeowner considering red cedar for their home will benefit from their professional assistance.