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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?cedarshingles2-resized-600

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?Weatherboards-resized-600

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.

In Summary

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.

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
www.ontariohomeinspectionservice.ca