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The homeowner considering residing a home is faced with more than half a dozen choices as to the material that should be used.  The decision that the homeowner ultimately makes is an important one because a home is probably the biggest investment a person makes, and the choice of a siding which will protect that home that investment is one of the most important decisions that a homeowner is faced with.

This article does not attempt to sell the homeowner any particular type of home siding.  The purpose of this article is merely to provide the homeowner with as much unbiased information as possible about one particular type of siding vinyl siding so that the homeowner can include this information when making an informed decision.  So here are vinyl siding pros and cons.

Vinyl siding has made huge strides in just the past few years.  Many old notions of vinyl must be discarded and the cedarimpressions-resized-600homeowner needs to come to this discussion with an uncluttered perspective.  From an aesthetics standpoint, today’s vinyl mimics the look of real wood much more realistically than the faux-wood vinyl panels of just a few years ago.  One of the reasons some people disliked the vinyl panels of even ten years ago was the fact that the panels had a seam in them that destroyed the illusion that they might be wood.  Today’s vinyl has no seams and the texture of the panels looks more like wood than ever.

The true key to vinyl is the thickness of the siding.  Many homeowners are unaware that vinyl comes in at least three gauges or thicknesses, or that the gauge of the siding they choose determines how long their siding will last.  Obviously, the thicker the vinyl is, the thicker the gauge and the more the siding will cost.

The vinyl sold in many home centers is 40 to 45 gauge size.  This is adequate and can last 25 years or more in many climates.  However, for the homeowner who wants true durability and a siding that can last 40 years or more with little or no maintenance, a 55-gauge (.55 inch thick) siding is recommended.

Vinyl panels generally come fully painted, with the color infused with the vinyl itself so it cannot flake or chip off.  Homeowners can choose from a wide palette of colors, matching almost any color scheme the homeowner can come up with.  If just the right shade is not available in a pre-colored vinyl panel, vinyl siding can be painted any color that the homeowner chooses.

One of the primary reasons that vinyl has become “king” in the house siding world is that once the vinyl is installed, there is virtually no maintenance to perform for the next 30 or 40 years.

That is not to say that a vinyl panel attached to a home today will look just as good 40 years from now as it does now it will not, but if a homeowner does nothing to a 55-gauge panel for forty years, it could still do its job of keeping the home dry and safe in many climates.  And that is something.

Of course, to keep a home’s vinyl siding looking good and relatively new, the siding will need to be washed at least vinyl-blogphoto01-resized-600once per year and painted every eight to 10 years.  Under the glare of the sun, the colors infused into vinyl panels do fade with time, so without a certain amount of care, such as occasionally repainting, vinyl siding does tend to look old after a few years.

Another point to keep in mind is cost.  Vinyl is one of the least expensive sidings a homeowner can buy.  Not only are the initial costs less than virtually any other siding, but the installation is also fast and inexpensive as well due to vinyl’s lightweight and interlocking design.

Vinyl does have its drawbacks, however, and homeowners need to be aware of them.  For one thing, vinyl dents rather easily, even the heavier gauges.  An errant baseball, hail, or even a power wash can dent vinyl, and very often the dents do not pop back out no matter what the homeowner does.

If a panel is dented or needs to be replaced for any other reason, it can be extremely difficult, time-consuming and expensive.  Vinyl panels overlap, and because they are attached in an interlocking pattern, they can be extremely difficult to remove and it can be almost impossible to insert a new piece of siding.

Not only that but matching the color of an existing panel with a new panel can be virtually impossible unless the damaged panel is almost new.  The reason for this is that the colors permeated into vinyl panels fade over time, making a newly inserted panel stand out.  Also, it can happen that a manufacturer will cease manufacturing a certain color of panel, making it impossible to color-match an older piece of vinyl.

Cold can also be a vinyl killer.  In extremely cold weather, vinyl can become brittle and crack under the least provocation.  Cracks in the siding allow water to seep behind the vinyl and that can cause incalculable damage to the framing of a home.

There can be another problem with cold weather: vinyl does not insulate well.  This problem can be alleviated, at vinyl-blogphoto02-resized-600least to a large degree, by either wrapping the home with an insulating house wrap or putting heavy-duty insulation into each wall cavity before the vinyl is applied.  There is a thin insulating material that can be placed under the vinyl itself, but this does little in the way of actually insulating a home against either cold or heat.  The cost of additional insulation must be calculated into the total price of vinyl siding when making siding comparisons.

In extreme heat temperatures, vinyl siding can also melt and cause severe problems in locations where irregular weather patterns are the norm.

To sum up, the main advantages of vinyl are its low cost and ease of installation combined with its low maintenance.  Some homeowners are also pleased with the way modern vinyl panels look.  Drawbacks include being easily dented, the difficulty of replacing individual panels, color fading and potential cracking in extremely cold weather.  All of these factors must be weighed carefully against the pros and cons of other types of siding when making a decision as important as installing new siding on a home.

Siding ranks right up there with roofing as one of the most important elements part of any home.  Siding not only affects the way a home presents itself to the world. Quality siding, when properly installed, also ensures that a home is structurally sound and keeps energy costs under control.  Cheap siding, or siding which is not properly installed, can cause big troubles for a homeowner.

A homeowner considering the installation of new siding should consult a professional siding installer for two KriegerDuring (2)-resized-600reasons.  First, installing siding is both a skill and an art, and must be done with the right materials.  A homeowner, even one skilled in general maintenance work, may not be qualified to apply modern siding.  The second reason has to do with the warranty on the siding.  Siding is an investment, and in order for that investment to be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, the siding must, in almost all cases, have been installed by a licensed professional. The professionals at United Home Experts have years of experience, and they are generally regarded as some of the top siding installers in Boston, MA and throughout the Northeast.

Homeowners have several different options when it comes to replacement siding.  Wood, aluminum or vinyl are three of the most popular choices.  Many installers have arrangements to carry products from only one siding manufacturer and thus will only recommend that siding, even if it is not necessarily the best choice for a particular home’s style or the homeowner’s budget.  This is not the case when dealing with United Home Experts.  They install a wide variety of siding brands, so their free siding consultation will not be compromised because they are beholden to a single siding company.  This is a distinct advantage to the homeowner, and one of the many reasons why UHE has so many happy customers.

A professional installer can see to it that a home is wrapped in low-maintenance, long-lasting siding that will give x--pictures-mike d photos-2011 website profiles-21 green afterthe homeowner a great value for their money.  A professional installer comes with up-to-date equipment, years of experience, a thorough understanding of all permits and forms required in the Boston area, and the skill necessary to side any size building, from single-family homes to large, commercial structures.

Between materials, installation, building permits, warranties and maintenance, there is a lot to consider when embarking on any siding project. No two siding installers in Boston, MA are the same, so it is important that homeowners take the time to consider all facets of home siding before making their choice. The right siding, and the right siding installer, can make sure that the finished product is something the homeowners will cherish for years to come.

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.

For many homeowners in the New England states, the shingles they choose for their home must help the property to fit into its natural setting.  Importantly, too, the shingles must also be strong and durable enough to withstand the harsh climate of this part of the country.  CertainTeed Cedar Impressions shingle panels happily fit both criteria. CertainTeed Corporation is a long-standing manufacturer of building materials, with a history stretching back to 1904. It offers an impressive lifetime limited warranty on all their siding products, which remains valid for as long as the homeowner owns the home and longer.

The Manufacturing ProcessCedarImpressions-resized-600

CertainTeed’s Cedar Impressions shingle panels are engineered using injection molding of durable polymer.  This produces a thick, rigid siding material.  The panels are designed to stand up to hurricane force winds, ensuring their suitability for even the harshest New England weather.

The panels are designed to fit tightly together with reinforced nail slots and molded perimeter locks, giving the finish a seamless look and holding the panels together with utmost security.

In the manufacturing process, Cedar Impressions shingle panels are given an authentic wood grain finish that is intrinsic to their natural look.  The process gives the shingles the appearance of real wood.  The staggered pattern creates a look of cedar shingles that have been hand sawn and applied one-by-one.  These shingle panels are equally attractive when applied to the entire home’s exterior or to add interest as a textural accent to any style of home.

CertainTeed Cedar Impressions shingles come in a vast array of colors, sizes and designs to fit any architectural style as well as the home’s surroundings.  Their authentic wood look, their colorations and the way they are applied all add up to a natural-looking structure that is very much an integral part of its surroundings.

Another major benefit of CertainTeed’s shingle panels is that they require virtually no maintenance.  The colors will not fade, and, as stated earlier, are engineered to stand up to a hurricane.CedarImpressions01

For homeowners in or near the states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island or Southern New Hampshire, a good choice for their home improvement projects is United Home Experts.  The professionals at UHE understand the weather consequences of this region of the United States and can help the homeowner choose the material that is best for their particular project.

United Home Experts are also skilled home renovation contractors, so the home will not only have the curb appeal the homeowner is looking for, but will also provide the materials and application techniques to keep that exterior attractive and maintenance-free for years to come.  For a free estimate and to see real customer testimonials, click here or give us a call at 888-724-6865.

Homeowners who care about not only the exterior FCness of their home but also about how well it fits into its natural setting will appreciate the look, durability and variety of this remarkable shingle panel, manufactured only by CertainTeed.

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

Yes

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.

No

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?

Yes

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.

No

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.

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